As I Lay Dying - The Powerless Rise

Album cover
Metalcore
Metal Blade Records
As I Lay Dying
The Powerless Rise
As I Lay Dying - The Powerless Rise Review rating:
4
User rating:
Average: 4.5 (4 votes)

Since their earnest beginnings in 2000, As I Lay Dying never quite got the attention they deserved. Sure they were somewhat popular, but compared to metalcore titans, such as Atreyu, Killswitch Engage or even Bullet For My Valentine, the band was always considered a second tier group, despite releasing albums of the highest quality on a consistent basis. While 2007’s An Ocean Between Us was a huge step forward for the band in terms of popularity and creativity, it will undoubtedly be this year’s release, The Powerless Rise that will help the band garner the attention they have always been entitled to receive. If previous albums displayed As I Lay Dying finding their feet, The Powerless Rise shows the work of a band matured, focused and quite ready to take on the world.

Continuing and building upon the trend set by previous work An Ocean Between Us, The Powerless Rise sees As I Lay Dying falling farther away from their metalcore roots and closer to thrash and melodic death metal pastures. Gone for the most part are the trite and uninspired hardcore breakdowns that filled previous releases, replaced instead by an abundance of disgustingly technical riffs that As I Lay Dying can proudly proclaim that they’ve reached the pinnacle of their potential and even added a few surprises to a maligned genre in the process. Take for instance fifth track “The Plague” which begins with a blood curdling scream from vocalist Tim Lambesis, and then launches into a no bars held melodic death metal onslaught. Harsh, fast, yet also eerily melodic, guitarists Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso throw some seriously beefy riffs, while one man percussive maelstrom Jordan Mancino executes some impressive double bass beats with apparent ease. While his work on earlier albums was average at best, Mancino is without a doubt one of the best drummers in metalcore today, playing with a technical flair that puts him well above his contemporaries.

It’s not only Mancio who shows major progression on The Powerless Rise; every single member has grown to play with their full potential a fact that is endlessly repeated throughout the length of the album. Hipa and Sgrosso, as well as being vicious rhythm guitarists (check out “Without Conclusion” for the best thrash riffage this side of Testament), are also more than adequate soloists. Songs like opener “Beyond Our Suffering” and “Parallels” are filled with enough tapping, alternate picking and Maiden harmonies to satisfy even the biggest shred fans. The Powerless Rise also shows Lambesis finally finding himself as a vocalist; virtually each track displays immense range, from the usual hardcore barks, to death gutturals to even higher pitched screeches. To offset any possible vocal monotony from Lambesis, Josh Gilbert provides clean vocals sparingly, savoring their impact upon the record. Metalcore may be an overcrowded, hopelessly jaded genre, but even its harshest critics will stand and admire As I Lay Dying’s chef-d'oeuvre, The Powerless Rise.

1. Beyond Our Suffering
2. Anodyne Sea
3. Without Conclusion
4. Parallels
5. The Plague
6. Anger and Apathy
7. Condemned
8. Upside Down Kingdom
9. Vacancy
10. The Only Constant Is Change
11. The Blinding Of False Light

As I Lay Dying is an American metalcore band from San Diego, California. Founded in 2000 by Tim Lambesis and having completed their first Line-up in 2001, the band consists of vocalist Tim Lambesis, drummer Jordan Mancino, lead guitarist Nick Hipa, rhythm guitarist Phil Sgrosso, and bassist Josh Gilbert, all of whom are Christians. Signed to Metal Blade Records, As I Lay Dying has released four studio albums, one split album, and one compilation album.

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