A Powerful Mix
As I Lay Dying came out of the swarm of metalcore bands that found success in the early 2000s, like Kill Switch Engage and Shadows Fall. Instead of lapsing into a lazy recycled version of themselves as many bands do, as the years passed their skill and sound have done nothing but improve, perfecting the genre they helped make famous. Now on their fifth studio album The Powerless Rise, As I Lay Dying have released what might be their best work yet.
Staying true to the sound that fans love while tightening up their song structure and attack, The Powerless Rise could act as the textbook for the As I Lay Dying sound. A few songs like “Without Conclusion” are heavy as hell, with blast beats worthy of a death metal band, yet catchy, bouncing guitar riffs makes the song memorable. Even at their angriest the vocals too are much more listenable than on older songs like “94 Hours” (from second album Frail Words Collapse), and the lyrics are almost discernable under the growl.
Lovers of melody and the clean vocal side of As I Lay Dying won’t be disappointed though, since a majority of the album has a brilliant blend of heaviness and melody. The appropriately titled “Anger and Apathy,” one of the standout songs on the album, mixes fast-paced pounding drums with eloquent guitar riffs and clean vocals in the chorus. “Upside Down Kingdom” similarly has “hit” written all over it, while “Vacancy” swings back toward the heavy side of things. Tying everything together is the final track, “The Blinding of False Light,” with lurching and sporadic blasts of drum rhythm over epic guitar work. Though they are certainly not breaking new ground, As I Lay Dying have definitely laid a foundation for metal for years to come.