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As I Lay Dying The Powerless Rise

As I Lay Dying - The Powerless Rise
01. Beyond Our Suffering
02. Anodyne Sea
03. Without Conclusion
04. Parallels
05. The Plague
06. Anger and Apathy
07. Condemned
08. Upside Down Kingdom
09. Vacancy
10. The Only Constant Is Change
11. The Blinding of False Light
2010 Metal Blade Records

Reviewed by: Nick   //   Published: 5/25/2010

Roughly seven years ago, when I was a freshman in college, the tour booking gods put together a metalcore line-up over which I shit my pants: Every Time I Die, As I Lay Dying, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Scarlet. It was such a one-to-one correlation with the favored albums in my car's CD changer (12 discs, man!) that the eighteen year old me was ecstatic for a week. I still look back upon it favorably; Hot Damn! Remains one of my all-time favorite albums, BDM's "Funeral Thirst" still gets me a little misty-eyed, and with the help of a few beers and some nostalgic prodding, I just might go off on how Scarlet's Cult Classic was, indeed, the exact definition of an underrated cult classic (if the metalcore genre could ever allow such a thing).

Of course, this was also the days of Frail Words Collapse, the predictable, but oh-so-catchy metalcore darling of 2003. Even an understanding of melodic death metal and an intense disdain for drum triggers and panic chords isn't enough to get me to renounce eighteen year old me's appreciation for "gems" like "94 Hours" and "Distance Is Darkness."

But times change and tastes do too, which leads to my next confession: I had absolutely no idea, until now, what As I Lay Dying's current output sounded like. So if you're searching for a comprehensive overview of the band's discography and a track-by-track comparison to their last record, it looks like you'll need to one of the dozens of other media outlets that will surely provide that material. Instead, I'm going to frame this around my initial reaction to hearing The Powerless Rise, which in order to enforce its bluntness, deserves its own line: There are still bands that sound like this?

I am both shocked and amazed that a mixture of borrowed Swedish death metal riffs, breakdowns prefaced by chugging identifiers, and soaring choruses with clean singing and little melodic guitar hooks still exists. And the clicks of the triggered drum sound! It's all fucking identical! Is it still 2003? Here I was expecting a matured sound -- I mean, come on, The Black Dahlia Murder has progressed into being a very impressive technical death metal machine, and even bands like Job For a Cowboy moved past being an embarrassing novelty act to develop into a respectable, albeit a little identity-less, metal act -- but aside from tighter instrumentation and a few decent riffs, As I Lay Dying hasn't changed a single thing.

Kudos to the strong musicianship that comes with the professionalism of being a band for this long, but everything else, when viewed through a direct comparison to the record that launched the band's career, is almost sad. This is lowest common denominator stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with the progressive mindset and boundary breaking that is supposed to define the world of extreme music. And don't misread this as a knock against a band for "getting too big" -- that just screams childish.

Bottom Line: There are bands that are popular because their vision and end product is more adventurous and unique than any other band. And then there are bands that simply create what's safe and marketable. I'll let you decide which band As I Lay Dying is. If my eighteen year old self only managed to tolerate paint-by-the-numbers metalcore for a short period of time before moving on, I would have thought the same was going to be true for the guys in As I Lay Dying. I was wrong.

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hatahs_   posted 5/18/2011 11:45:40 AM
AILD is bad metalcore? Whats good then reviewer?
Jeff Wood_   posted 9/1/2010 3:33:19 PM
Honestly its sad that people like this are reviewing albums. If you can't even realize that AILD has changed their sound since FWC then clearly your deaf of just retarded. Its hard enough to find any good Metalcore bands today anyways, let alone a band like AILD who have managed to sustain a place above all the trend bands that are surfacing. This is def. one of the best albums of the year so far just because they have defined their own sound
smearCampaign_   posted 7/24/2010 6:00:36 PM
That review is spot on. The comparisons with ETID and TBDM are great. Both those bands progressed and moved forward and are still fantastic. AILD is a joke Hot Topic band now.
Jordan_   posted 7/1/2010 11:09:52 PM
i like how the dude from the band can't take negative criticism. i hate to break it to you but you are the worst metalcore and possibly the worst band ever. you have never been good. you are so generic and boring. you are nothing compared to Parkway Drive, August Burns Red, and I Killed The Prom Queen. all of your fans are 12 and have no idea what real hardcore is. As I Lay Dying f*cking sucks balls. f*ck as i lay dying. i have heard unsigned bands that are 10000X better than as i lay dying.

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