Review Summary: A slow progression throughout the years comes to a halt, but still leads us to another great record from AILD.
After the last release that As I Lay Dying had to offer, many fans such as myself were not satisfied. Decas offered a few new songs but mainly just covers and remixes of other songs. Now do not get me wrong, they were pretty good, but I wanted to hear some new material. About 10 months later Awakened is released, and here we are. As a fan, I try to leave my bias at the door when listening to any new album, but I must say I was not disappointed with this release.
The album opens with a nice heavy punch in the face known as "Cauterize", which is the first single released. You can hear Tim take a breath right before he lets out a nice powerful scream that is backed up by some repetitive drumming and a fast riff that is reminiscent of those on An Ocean Between Us. The rest of the song is what is expected of AILD. The drumming of Jordan switches speeds between fast and repetitive to a little less so, as Nick and Phil tear it up on their signature dual guitar assault. Tim's vocals are top notch as expected of a veteran band, and the choruses feature Josh's cleans layered with the harsh vocals of Tim's. As you can see not much has changed in their formula, as this is present in just about every song on the album. That being said, it does not bring down the quality of the album. The manner in which AILD executes this formula is to perfection, but most importantly avoids repetitiveness for the most part.
There is nothing really to complain about on this album. The only problem that can be seen is the same recycled formula that this band has always and probably always will use. As I said above, it is not a problem if they continue to execute it in a good manner. There are many catchy solos and choruses throughout. One of my favorite parts is the chanting before the chorus of "Cauterize", because it just gets me pumped up. The guitars have always been the highlight of this band for me, and once again, they are on this album. Another high point is of course Tim's songwriting. Apparently, he not only has spent more time in the weight room, but also with the pen and paper as well.
With over 10 years of experience under their belt, As I Lay Dying has showed us through the years that they are a leading force in the metal scene. They have established themselves as a band with maturity both musically and lyrically. The formula they utilize that some claim is overused still provides us with a solid record every time it hits the shelves. The one main question that will get asked is "Did it surpass The Powerless Rise?” The answer is no it did not surpass it, but Awakened equaled it. As I Lay Dying has clearly established their sound and will probably not change it on future efforts. Some may find this as a problem, but if they can consistently keep putting out records like Awakened, I see no problems with that.