Review Summary: As I Lay Dying completely nails it!
I’m not one to really be floored by an album the first time I hear it. Usually it takes me a few listen to really grasp an albums brilliance, but the newest release by San Diego metalcore band As I Lay Dying was music to my ears from the first song onward.
The Powerless Rise is the newest offering from the five-piece and what an offering it is. Building upon the elements that made their last album, An Ocean Between Us, such an enjoyable listen, the band puts out something to top even that. With riff upon meaty riff, drums from heaven, and the roar of Tim Lambesis, this album is solid.
From the opening roars in Beyond Our Suffering to the last drum hit in The Blinding of False Light, As I Lay Dying puts out all their emotion and anger for the listeners enjoyment. The guitarwork of Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso is very good. From the melodic intro to Anger and Apathy, to the solo in Parallels, and throughout every song, the two guitarists keep it fresh and unique to the ears. They go from fast thrash riffs to melodic solos and slowdowns without a hitch, and it sounds great. The bass and clean vocals are handled by Josh Gilbert, who does a solid job with both, even though the clean vocals may be slightly over-produced, they still make for epic choruses like those in Anodyne Sea and Vacancy, which provide a nice contrast to the pounding music of the verses.
The drumwork has always been one of my biggest draws to As I Lay Dying. Jordan Mancino always manages to make the songs sound ridiculously good with his mix of double bass and drums skills, and this is evident on The Powerless Rise. Song after song he pushes it forward with tasteful fills and solid double bass blasts that give the songs that extra oomph they need. The other element to the concoction that is As I Lay Dying is Tim Lambesis. This album sees him pushing his vocal range like never before. His highs are higher and his growls are more pronounced. I think he is one of the stronger vocalists in metal today and his work on The Powerless Rise only helps me feel that even more so.
This is easily my personal album of 2010 so far, with every song being a solid example of what makes As I Lay Dying one of the best bands in the metal world today. Pounding verses, melodic choruses, solos and drum fills galore; this album is how a metal album should sound. The Powerless Rise is perfect and pretty much unfaultable. I highly recommend this to anyone who wishes to hear an enjoyable and great metal album.