"Decas" (Metal Blade; 2011)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

"Decas" is a compilation album. It has three new tracks, four cover songs ("War Ensemble"- Slayer; "Hellion" - Judas Priest; "Electric Eye" - Judas Priest; "Coffee Mug" - Descendents), four re-mixes and one re-recording. "Decas" means "Ten," which symbolizes their ten years as a band. (As of the writing of this review, I'm aware that As I Lay Dying has renamed themselves Wovenwar).

The first three tracks are the newest stuff, then the covers, then the rest of the disc. Hard-hitting and always with tons of aggression, As I Lay Dying pound their Metalcore music right up in your face. Their lean towards Christianity comes through in many of their lyrics. However, never considered a "Christian metal band," As I Lay Dying don't deny their songs are about life's struggles but lead growler Tim does confess to seeking help through Jesus Christ.

This was a compilation disc that had some weird stuff on it. The remixes almost sound like dub-step but overall it's got something new and old and always heavy.

As I Lay Dying: Tim Lambesis - vocals; Nick Hipa - guitar; Phil Sgrosso - guitar; Josh Gilbert - bass, clean vocals; Jordan Mancino - drums.

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"The Powerless Rise" (Metal Blade; 2010)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

As I Lay Dying come rushing in through your speakers/ear buds (and cerebral cortex) and lay waste to anything standing in their way. These guys have been pumping out Christian metalcore for five studio discs and their only let up is heard in between the time it takes for a new track to blast. Their eleven tracks of in-your-face metalcore will cause fits of rage.

Three singles, "Beyond Our Suffering," "Parallels," and "Anodyne Sea," were unleashed and videos accompanied all of them, so search and enjoy (rather than search and destroy). Being a "Christian" band doesn't mean that their lyrics are preachy, on the contrary, their lyrics are about life's struggle and all that goes along with it. They are able to reach beyond their audience with powerful music and an even more powerful message.

Each track has a meaty riff, plenty of filler guitar and a nasty solo. The growling and clean vocals add a double element and it often sounds like a struggle between good and evil. It?s the stuff that metal festivals were created for; these guys have shared the stage with many well known acts and have probably blown a few off the stage.

Since this is their fifth forte they have added a few more elements into their song structuring, strings and keys. Their aggressive style also gives them carte blanche to rip up the couch cushions will still maintaining the framework from which they derive their influence, classic metal. It's written all over the song but As I Lay Dying have updated the sound.

As I Lay Dying: Josh Gilbert ? bass guitar, clean vocals, Nick Hipa ? guitar, Tim Lambesis ? lead vocals, Jordan Mancino ? drums, Phil Sgrosso ? guitar.

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"An Ocean Between Us" (Metal Blade; 2007)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

San Diego Christian metalcore troupe As I Lay Dying have set the measuring stick by which all other metalcore acts will be judged from here on in with their fourth album, the devastating "An Ocean Between Us."

Armed with a vicious twin guitar attack, the band has seemingly all but abandoned their Iron Maiden fetish for a new level of viciousness -- just check the furious flurry brought forth by "Within Destruction," the Randy Rhodes-esque solo on "The Sound of Truth" or the thrash-happy "Comfort Betrays" as indicators of the quintet's vigorous volatility coming to a head. 

Packed with jaw-dropping percussion that jumps out the speakers at every twist and turn and the rich dual vocal harmonies that propel songs such as "I Never Wanted" and "Forsaken" into the upper echelon of modern classic metal (a la Metallica, Megadeth and their ilk), this 12-track offering cleverly demonstrates As I Lay Dying's ability to progress without compromising their hostility. Instead, it sharpens their trademark aggressiveness into dynamic bits of metallic majesty that help to all but shed the maligned "metalcore" moniker. 

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"Frail Words Collapse" (Metal Blade; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

As I Lay Dying deftly combine hardcore and Swedish melodic death metal as one of the freshest sounds emerging from the expanding and exploding metalcore scene. For an immediate comparison "Frail Words Collapse" is in the vein of Killswitch Engage's recent effort "Alive Or Just Breathing."

Overall, while the choruses of As I Lay Dying's songs have some clean vocals they're not as smooth and not as melodic as Killswitch Engage; that's not a bad thing -- it?s just different. I wonder how much of that has to do with the differences in the East Coast and West Coast hardcore scenes -- I'm getting the sense that the West Coast scene has not been as quick to adopt stylistic elements of the Swedish melodic death metal sound as their East Coast counterparts.

Every song on "Frail Words Collapse," save for the quiet instrumental, has cool change-ups on the riffs without sounding like traditional hardcore breakdowns -- that?s a pretty cool feat in my book. Hell, some of the lead guitar spurts and flourishes have a classic Iron Maiden feel to them. Additionally, as I hinted at before, there are definitely Swedish melodic death metal influences, but not to the point of obvious comparison (unlike their labelmates The Black Dhalia Murder).

While "Frail Words Collapse" isn't going to be a heavy rotation disc for me, I do know that I?ll come back to As I Lay Dying for a broader sound collage when I?m in a more metalcore mood.

"Frail Words Collapse" was produced by Evan White and Tim Lambesis.

As I Lay Dying is Tim Lambesis on vocals, Evan White and Jasun Krebs on guitars, Aaron Kennedy on bass, and Jordan Mancino on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright ? 2014 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
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