As I Lay Dying
Awakened


2.5
average

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
September 17th, 2012 | 667 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Well, it's consistent.

So let’s get down to it: As I Lay Dying are more melodic than they used to be.

Those pussies.

Okay, just kidding. But they are, indeed, more melodic. It’s a progression – or change in sound, rather – that xhardxcorex4evax fans of the band can’t deny and that the haters can’t help but point out, over and over and over again (forever and ever, amen). With each passing album, As I Lay Dying continue to increase the prevalence of bassist John Gilbert’s clean vocals and catchy choruses. True talk.

Casual listeners to the melodic metalcore band can often be spotted (look at forum album thread [a] here or [b] there) singling out and praising the anthems with the catchy hooks apart from the rest of the more thrash-y and rougher material on display – particularly on As I Lay Dying’s more recent offerings, which are notably when Gilbert first threw in his own with the band, circa-2007. It’s the kind of album dissection that has made these breakdown champions into a sort of metalcore singles band: When in actuality, many of us just want a consistent album from front to back, for once.

So this is where Awakened comes into play and attempts to fulfill that desire. In leading up to its release, Gilbert poetically told publication MindEqualsBlown that “[Awakened is] like we fused the brutality with the melody a lot better than we have on previous records – it [isn’t] too much of a jump between songs.” And at that base explanation, the bassist is correct: most of the songs that course and breakdown through Awakened contain an equal level of everything that is As I Lay Dying in 2012: guitars, breakdowns, uplifting lyrics, Gilbert’s clean vocals, and the muscles – err, I mean harsh lead vocals of buff-bencher Tim Lambesis.

Yet despite that truth, Gilbert is seemingly incorrect as well. The sudden Jesus-level hooks that paint lead single “A Greater Foundation” make it in total a much better offering than anything that runs from “Wasted Words” to “Washed Away", which is strikingly most of the album. Why is that, exactly? One word: songwriting. While As I Lay Dying have made a more consistent album in relation to their sound, true, they have not made a consistent batch of songs at all.

In fact, it may be their weakest batch yet. Both 2007’s An Ocean Between Us and 2010’s The Powerless Rise are stronger albums than Awakened, despite both being, technically in relation to sound elements, less consistent. The best comparison you can draw is what happened to Killswitch Engage and Darkest Hour in 2009 when they too scaled back songwriting in hopes of making stronger releases in, respectively, Killswitch Engage (II) and The Eternal Return. It's just not happening. Sorry. Is everything lost? Well, no, you can’t deny the potential that “My Only Way Home” has to stick in your head, kind of. And hey, it’s chorus even sounds like pop punk – err, well, it’s a good song, so just leave it at that.

You come to As I Lay Dying, and you know what you’re going to get: that melodic metalcore sound, hints of Gothenburg and thrash, and some true sing-a-longs to fill up your gym playlist in hopes of one day looking like Lambesis, right? Isn't that what this band is for? And that primarily hasn't changed, at least on paper. Yet even so you can probably guess what both my warning and conclusion will be. Best stick with songs “Parallels” or “Forsaken” this release cycle and just sleep on the majority of Awakened instead - zing. That consistent album we're waiting for still hasn't come just yet.



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user ratings (515)
Chart.
3.2
good
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    Robert Lowe CONTRIBUTOR (3)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
September 17th 2012


5793 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This wont end well

haha

skoopy48
September 17th 2012


1499 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, but i like this, what can i say. Band is consistent like you pointed out, but to me thats good

Digging: Let It Happen - Cause Effect

Turtlestlker
September 17th 2012


820 Comments


Was going to listen to this but then I remember how boring I thought this band was.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2012


19756 Comments


Is this streaming???

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

chesse13
September 17th 2012


3148 Comments


#truetalk

Digging: iamthemorning - Belighted

Ponton
Emeritus
September 17th 2012


5793 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i dont know. in the past theyve let emeritus post ahead, maybe

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2012


19756 Comments


It must be streaming somewhere with 43 ratings already.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2012


50375 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

lol haven't you even heard of a leak?

Digging: Viper the Rapper - You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2012


19756 Comments


I don't download music.

CaptainDooRight
September 17th 2012


29131 Comments


you guys do know observer is emeritus right

Digging: Kangding Ray - Solens Arc

Ponton
Emeritus
September 17th 2012


5793 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

and my opinion is generally off from the norm. but i like catchy metalcore

ILJ
September 17th 2012


6670 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

In the past I've usually been excited for new AILD. But now I have no interest in this.

Might listen to it sometime but don't really see it doing anything for me anymore. I think I've had my fill of AILD.

JackSparrow
September 17th 2012


1686 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ugh but The Powerless Rise is so good

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2012


19756 Comments


Ya I refuse to believe this is a 2.5 there are way more average metalcore bands than this.

ThroneOfAgony
September 17th 2012


3485 Comments


hey thanks for reminding me to play some super mario world

Ponton
Emeritus
September 17th 2012


5793 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

the bands not average, but this release is

skoopy48
September 17th 2012


1499 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yea this good, band has yet to make a bad album even if they stick to what they do best.

JackSparrow
September 17th 2012


1686 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really hope you're wrong, but I didn't like Cauterize or A Greater Foundation so you probably are correct in this being inferior. But I'm guessing 3-3.5 cuz the riffs in those songs were still cool. Do any of the songs hit hard like Beyond Our Suffering?

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2012


19756 Comments


@Throne, anytime lol one of the best games ever.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
September 17th 2012


10594 Comments


you should come the fuck back bud



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