Review Summary: No doubt, As I lay Dying is one of the best metalcore bands out there. This album doesn't prove they're the best. However, it sets the bar very high for melodic metalcore (hopefully not a bar they themselves can't even cross afterward).
Metalcore can be such a drag sometimes. I mean, there are a lot awesome albums out there that specify why it's become popular. But, ask yourself this. Do you remember that album that made you say "this has officially broken the scale of 1-10"? If you do, then you may look at metalcore differently, that nothing from the genre can be as good. Well, As I Lay Dying has been trying to make "that album" ever since they signed to Metal Blade, known for bands like Slayer
, Cannibal Corpse
, and King Diamond
. The previous albums were exceptional, but never truly set that bar. *frown face
However, this album has shown their true potential to make metalcore like experts. How? They know what they are, a metalcore band, and they never try to shy away from that. This album truly set the bar for melodic metalcore. Now, let's break it down. I'll make it shorter.
Track 1: Beyond Our Suffering
The album starts with crowd noise and some vocals from Tim, and then an amazing guitar riff. The song has one of the best and heaviest breakdowns I've ever heard, and it's the closest AILD can get to death metal on the album. The solo is exceptional as well.
Track 2: Anodyne Sea
I don't know how to describe this song at all. Very fast breakdown, and very melodic and very awesome chorus, and a great outro. Awesome vocalization, great harmonizations, and just an almost perfect song.
Track 3: Without Conclusion
This is a song where some people might say "it's stupid". It kinda is. Why? The chorus is "without conclusion, this song will end. Without conclusion, there is no final rest." But, I say, "they do death growls. You can barely understand them anyways. Just pay attention to the music and vocals, not lyrics, not entirely anyways." If you do that, then you will notice a very fast song, with a catchy chorus, great solos, great gang vocals, and an almost infectious riff.
Track 4: Parallels
Need I say more? They made a video for this song, so many of you should know it. If not, it has a very catchy chorus, very catchy breakdown, and great solo. Tim and Josh don't usually correspond with their vocals, but they make this work 100%. I absolutely love this song.
Track 5: The Plague
I've seen the studio updates and read the lyrics. There were supposed to clean vocals in this one, but instead, nothing but death growls. Whatever, I can't say this was one of the best songs, but the musicianship is definitely great, great solo, and great energy.
Track 6: Anger And Apathy
Great intro. It reminded me of a metalcore version of Aces High. However, the true gems in this one are the fast riffs, melodic breaks, and the melodic chorus. Listening to this thing all the way through is great. This is the song where I most noticed the drums than anything else.
Track 7: Condemned
I saw the studio updates, like I said before, and I recognized the solo right away, and the fact that it was changed a little bit. Either way, for sure, it's the angriest song on the album. It's also the shortest. I enjoyed this one very much.
Track 8: Upside Down Kingdom
For once, AILD decide to make the bass and drums stand out more, not that there was a problem before, but it's nice to see. The song starts (to me) like a Viking metal song, but listening to it more, it's far from it. The breakdown and solo are combined here, a new feature in AILD's music. The chorus is pretty catchy, considering it's mostly vocal-driven. Ditto for the riff (not the vocal-driven part).
Track 9: Vacancy
You know this is heavy when it starts that way. However, I thought it sped things up at the beginning, with starting off with a solo. However, the song gets heavier until the chorus. The chorus adds to the mood of a mix of anger and melancholy. The breakdown is my favorite part of the song, because it's so heavy and just plain awesome.
Track 10: The Only Constant Is Change
This song fades in, a new for AILD. The intro/chrous is great, as well as the sudden change to a kind of angry riff. However, the song seems forgettable after listening for two minutes, until the two breaks after the third chorus. It's melodic and awesome, then turns to melodic, and then, suddenly, the chorus kinda changes and the song fades out.
Track 11: The Blinding of False Light
Another fade in, and melodic intro/chorus. The clean vocals are angry, but in a dark way. The guitars make it angry. The song gets angrier, and then, a melodic break, and then the chorus again. The second verse is more melodic. But then, a death metal-like key change (you know, the key change that makes it sound angry), and it is fast. But, melody again. Whiplash! The clean vocal part of the chorus has no clean vocals, and changes into a slow solo/outro. And then, it fades out.
As I Lay Dying is a great band, and has been since Frail Words Collapse. However, even though I enjoyed the music they made, I had a gut feeling that they had not shown their true musical colors. This album definitely does that. It shows some of the colors that they have in them. However, there is just one flaw: is this it? By that, I mean, is this the best that they produced, that they squeezed out? If it is, I'm afraid AILD will go downhill from this point on.
Until that happens. I will enjoy this album as much as possible, and I still like it, so it won't get old anytime soon. It's not a classic, but it is awesome. If you want metalcore that's out there, then the album is definitely one to check out.