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Album Reviews : As I Lay Dying – The Powerless Rise

By on July 1, 2010

Christianity and heavy metal has had an interesting relationship, considering that countless metal shows from the day of its birth have been picketed by religious zealots, it’s at least a sign that the younger bible bashers have a more relaxed views on such things with the formation of so called ‘christian metalcore’ acts, such as Mychildren Mybride, Impending Doom and Oh Sleeper. However, the band that most heavy music fans would think of when mentioned the words ‘Christian’ and ‘chuggy/breakdown/screaming’ is San Diego’s As I Lay Dying.

With the impressive success of their last two albums Shadows Are Security and An Ocean Between Us the band have swiftly released their 5th album, The Powerless Rise. The thing about As I Lay Dying is that their songs, and albums for that matter, rarely deviate from their well worn blue print – you know that their songs will include man-mountain vocalist Tim Lambesis screaming his lungs out, a crushingly heavy breakdown section, some tight fast riffing and potentially a clean vocals passage led by bassist/backing vocalist Josh Gilbert.

Short and not-so-sweet opener “Beyond Our Suffering” is one of the most straight up aggressive songs the band has written – the pile-driving drums pushing the tune to its breaking point, before adding in subtle rhythmic shifts. It’s also instantly noticeable how strong the album’s production is, with every kick drum hit and lead break crystal clear throughout The Powerless Rise. “Anodyne Sea” is classic AILD, with a big chorus and hook filled riffing, before descending into a jarring breakdown section and a particularly anthemic sounding outro. “Without Conclusion” swiftly follows, with a classic thrash vibe obviously apparent, with the gang vocals in the chorus harking back to Testament and Exodus.

The album’s second single “Parallels” is a pretty stock standard track, with only a tasty guitar solo and harmony section making up for the fairly unimpressive run through, but the aggression of following track “The Plague” makes up for it quite a bit. The closing track “The Blinding Of False Light” pretty much sums up the record, showing off both the vocalists as well multiple times changes – all wrapped in Adam D’s highly slick and professional production. While Lambesis shows off a wide variety of vocal attacks it’s his impressive high screams and low growls that are most evident on the record. On the other hand Gilbert’s voice becomes slightly repetitive after the first few tracks and by the end of the album his vocals are close to being annoying with his somewhat whiny style.

Yes, The Powerless Rise is hardly different to their previous albums, and it’s hard to imagine that the band’s devoted followers will be disappointed by this release – but this reviewer wishes that the band would ditch the weak clean vocals and embrace their heavier side whole heartedly. 7/10

Band: As I Lay Dying
Album: The Powerless Rise
Year: 2010
Genre: Metalcore
Origin: San Diego, USA
Label: Metal Blade/Riot!

Track listing:

1. Beyond Our Suffering <- Reviewers Choice
2. Anodyne Sea <-Reviewers Choice
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 <- Reviewers Choice


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.