For Fans Of
As I Lay Dying sound like As I Lay Dying, it’s as simple as that. These San Diego metallers sound is signature – both immediately and easily identifiable.
On the fickle war ground that was once metalcore, As I Lay Dying are one of the few (if not, the only ones) left standing. And their sound hasn’t been wounded or compromised as a result – only strengthened. The group haven’t jumped ship and incorporated djent or more predominant deathcore elements, they have just let natural progression and gained experience do the work. It’s this fluency and consistency that give As I Lay Dying respect and a reason to continually listen.
Studio album number six (yep six, these are no rookies), ‘Awakened’ is layered and representative of a typical As I Lay Dying release. It’s the core elements of the past, with a new coating. In some regards, you could enter with scepticism. After all, how long is the shelf life of this style? However, every time you’re ready to pen the eulogies, As I Lay Dying just push the boundaries a little further and give cause to immerse in what is presented.
Opener ‘Cauterize’ does sound like something we’ve all heard before, but it still works and the breakdowns will captivate as always. It’s a good start if nothing else. The album works its way through, with ‘Wasted Words’ simply fast, a common thread in current releases (‘Within Destruction’ anyone?). Transitioning track ‘Whispering Silence’ concludes in a crushing manner, before giving the listener some brief respite with the melodic opening of ‘Overcome’.
One element that has slowly become more pronounced and added as primary element instead of a secondary after-thought is the clean sung vocals. Bassist Josh Gilbert is striking that ideal balance between harmony, catchy tone and complimentary delivery. Sure metal is heavy and serious, but it can also be infectious.
‘Awakened’ doesn’t leave the ballpark and chase a different sound. The full-length is very closely aligned with previous albums. The two albums that served as predecessors moved away from the early ‘core’ elements of introductory studio albums and ‘Awakened’ feels like a solid undertaking. Perhaps, the harsh critic inside us wants to lament the predictability here, but what the pessimist calls expected, we call ‘welcomed and embraced’.
As I Lay Dying have made that gentle and natural transition from intermediates to established veterans. There’s still youth and vitality, but the group now embrace experience and revel in a mature approach. Perhaps, these are just neat buzzwords, but despite not offering anything entirely new, the listener presses play with anticipation and presses stop with a smile on the face and sense of contentment.
2. A Greater Foundation
4. Wasted Words
5. Whispering Silence
7. No Lungs to Breathe
9. Washed Away
10. My Only Home
11. Tear Out My Eyes