As I Lay Dying has never been a metalcore band, but the latest album finally brings the sound full circle.
The appropriately named album “Awakened” opened my eyes to just how hardcore the group can be.
As I Lay Dying debuted in 2001 with its first album, “Beneath the Encasing of Ashes.” Since its beginning the group has released six albums.
The lyrics of the songs were unusually understandable for the genre of music, which was a big factor in why I love it so much. I like to sing along to a song as I’m listening. Whether my singing is successful or not is a different story.
As the first song on the album, “Cauterize,” started, I had to double check the artist. If I hadn’t known better, I would have sworn I was listening to Bullet For My Valentine. Lambesis sounded almost identical to Matthew Tuck.
Song number two was the most mosh-worthy song I’ve ever had the joy of listening to. “A Greater Foundation” was just the right mix of what I call the punch-you-in-the-face levels and calm, regain your composure moments. With such a rollercoaster of levels, it’s no wonder it was the most popular iTunes song on the album
“Resilience” had by far the best guitar of the album. Throughout the song I found myself paying more attention to the guitar than anything else. It was complex, and there were multiple small guitar solos that really featured just how great of a guitarist Nick Hipa is.
Every great metalcore album has one anthem song that’s usually slower. “Overcome” fit that bill. Even though it was heavier than the normal anthem song, the lyrics of the song brought to mind a crowd jamming along with lighters (or cellphones) raised high.
“My Only Home” is the ultimate head-banging song on the album. The music starts high energy and stays that way through the song. It probably looks strange to be head-banging in the middle of the library, but sometimes you just can’t help it.
A large portion of the songs sounded similar. Two of the songs in particular, “Wasted Words” and “No Lungs to Breathe,” were so similar I had a hard time finding a difference. The same was evident between “Unwound” and “Washed Away.” I was a little disappointed by the similarities.
When all is said and done, this album has everything a good album needs. It’s got highs and lows, complicated guitar riffs, and a similarity to the best artists in the genre. As a group, As I Lay Dying has gone from a rough garage band to a respectable metalcore band. Overall I give “Awakened” five stars for a job well done.