Picking up where they left off
After years of looking like the American metalcore band was over, As I Lay Dying comes back with the release of their seventh studio full-length album: Shaped by Fire. With the same lineup from their last release, Awakening (2012), and before Tim Lambesis’ incarceration, the band delivers a 12-track composition that will leave people hopeful for the future.
Before the album’s release on September 20th, four singles were released starting with “My Own Grave.” All the criticism the band faced was not towards the music produced; it was about the moral implications of what supporting the band would mean. But, fans and critics greeted it with acclaim. The four singles released early and the other songs on the album are reflective of change and have an empowering vibe to them.
The opener “Burn to Emerge,” is less than a minute long and already exudes the revival and reemergence of the band with the repeated lyrics of, “will I ever escape? Can we ever change?” The beauty in this short intro is the transition into “Blinded.” It slowly builds and the last few seconds feel like it’s coming to a pause and a new sequence will begin and then immediately shifts into the fast-paced opening of the second track.
The band utilizes different tactics that enhance the songs such as “Undertow” that has slow, speaking vocals which create shifting moods. Since the song is reflective of Lambesis’ journey, the atmosphere produced works well. “Redefined” includes the guest vocals of Jake Lurhs of August Burns Red integrate nicely with the dynamic of clean and hard.
One of the most notable songs of the album is “Gatekeeper Trimboli.” With its thrashing riffs and insane solo, this song stands out from the rest which falls under the typical sound of As I Lay Dying. Considering that the album as a whole lacks many solos, the sheer power of the one in this song can be felt.
From “Burn to Emerge” to “The Toll It Takes,” listeners can expect an album that they can easily attribute to As I Lay Dying. Clearly, each track adds to the journey and emotions that the band has gone through since the hiatus and duration of Lambesis’ sentence. At the core of it, the album is the band seeing how people will react and see if they will give them a chance to create more music.
While the project does not do anything groundbreaking, it shows fans that As I Lay Dying hasn’t lost the technique that they built in their earlier years. Shaped by Fire is full of sounds that listeners have come to associate with the metalcore band like the dynamic between harsh and clean lyrics, technical riffs and quick arrangements.