Thrash Hits

May 26th, 2010

Album: As I Lay Dying – The Powerless Rise

As I Lay Dying
The Powerless Rise
Metal Blade
10 May 2010

by Tomas Doyle

I’m not sure how I’d feel if I was in As I Lay Dying. Would I be proud to be in a band which helped ignite the metalcore scene into the omnipresent behemoth that it is today? Or would I be pissed off that there are now literally thousands of bands pursuing a similar sound from all four corners of MySpace?

Either way, few would disagree that As I Lay Dying hold a position amongst the elite of this genre and along with the likes of Killswitch Engage, Unearth, and Atreyu, they have re-moulded and re-popularised metal for a new generation over the course of the last six or seven years. Perhaps as a result of this, The Powerless Rise has a somewhat familiar feel to it – there are the machine gun drums, the standard roars interspersed with saccharine singing and of course some serious riffz. The overall sound ultimately falls somewhere between all the bands mentioned above – it is the sound of a thousand package tours which work their way across the States and Europe every month, the sound of macho moshpits and furious head banging. It’s not especially big, and it’s not especially clever and frankly we’ve all heard something at least vaguely similar several dozen times before now.

Nevertheless there is some really good songwriting on display here, ‘Condemned’ is seriously about as good as it gets in this genre. Opening up with a riff which producer (and Killswitch Engage pinch harmonic fanatic) Adam Dutkiewicz would be proud to call his own, then breaking down into a face crushing chorus before finally giving way to widdly guitar solo bliss. Elsewhere the band deliver a thoroughly enjoyable record. Everything is in the right place, it grooves hard when it needs to, there is some great lead guitar work and the vocals display an impressive range (although it is a shame that the sung lines appear to all be exactly the same!) Tracks like ‘Anodyne Sea’ and ‘Vacany’ display an admirable understanding of exactly how to put together a rollicking good tune but in truth there isn’t really a weak track on here from start to finish.

Watch As I Lay Dying’s studio blog from the recording of The Powerless Rise:

Very little on this album is anything less than ‘good’, despite feeling a little bit old hat in places. Okay, so Darkest Hour have better guitar solos, and maybe Unearth write better riffs, but I would seriously challenge you to listen to this The Powerless Rise and not enjoy some of what is on offer here. No, it’s not an especially clever record but who really cares? Just get on and enjoy it for what it is, you miserable gits.

4.5/6

Sounds like: All That Remains, Unearth, Killswitch Engage
Top Tracks: Condemned, Anodyne Sea

As I Lay Dying – The Powerless Rise tracklisting:
Beyond Our Suffering
Anodyne Sea
Without Conclusion
Parallels
The Plague
Anger and Apathy
Condemned
Upside Down Kingdom
Vacancy
The Only Constant Is Change
The Blinding of False Light

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