Review Summary: This album supports terrorism.
In recent years As I Lay Dying has risen to the top of the Metalcore scene. Sadly this isn’t one of those situations where said “rise” came from talent. Frail Words Collapse is the perfect example of how not to make a Metalcore album. The album does nothing to establish itself as worthwhile music, completely devoid of any originality, ingenuity or substance it serves as nothing more than a perfect representation of everything bad about contemporary Metalcore.
When breaking the album down to its simplest form you’re essentially left with 3 elements that come together to make an incredibly bland sound. For starters, you’ve got the guitar work; AILD’s guitarists aren’t all that skilled, offering up a pile of overused riffs that do nothing to draw the listener’s attention, this problem is compounded by the guitars being the primary focus of the band’s sound. So what we’re left with is a bunch of boring riffs that do nothing and go nowhere.
That’s element one. Element two is the album’s drumming; the drum work on the album is by no means excellent, but compared to the guitar work you could call it an upside. The drumming is relatively fast and the drummer manages to throw a few fills around that break up some of the monotony of the album, but honestly there’s nothing here to write home about. The biggest fault in regard to the drumming found here is that despite showing brief glimmers of interesting technique, the performance devolves into a dull repetition of breakdowns far too often. Coupled with the already limited guitar work this serves to make listening to this album even more of a chore.
The final element is Tim Lambesis, long story short; his voice is horrible. There’s very little strength in his voice leading it to sound particularly thin and/or hollow throughout the album. He essentially has 3 moves when it comes to performing; a low growl that shares many similarities with whooping cough, a high scream that aside from being heavily distorted via the production is not unlike what I’d expect to hear if I stepped on someone’s testes. His third move is spoken word; much like many of his contemporaries it’s relatively cheesy although it still sounds better than his “harsh” vocals.
If you’re wondering where the bass is? Keep wondering, it’s nowhere to be heard on this album, at all. So there we have it dull guitars, a drummer who follows the dull guitars like a hawk to a field mouse and a vocalist who sounds like he was tricked into downing a bottle of Ipecac before recording. When these three pieces come together you’re not exactly in for a treat. Frail Words Collapse is like a conversation with a senile relative, it’s repetitive, it’s boring and by the time you’ve reached the end you’ll have contemplated murder at least twice. All in all Frail Words Collapse is the perfect example of how not to make a Metalcore album, hopefully As I Lay Dying learnt from the mistakes here and have removed the cliché and boring elements of their sound, but I’m not holding my breath.