As I Lay Dying
Awakened


3.0
good

Review

by Robert Lowe CONTRIBUTOR (90 Reviews)
September 27th, 2012 | 67 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: As I Lay Dying put out their weakest album since their debut and ruin all of the progress they have been making on their last 5 records with Awakened.

When a band makes a big enough change to their sound they are expected to keep making changes in every new record. Fans got used to the fact that each new As I Lay Dying record would have a little something new to enjoy, but this is no longer the case because on Awakened, As I Lay Dying didn't change a damn thing. It's not like they were reinventing the wheel before or anything, but they made noticeable enough changes from record to record to stay relevant. Shadows Are Security introduced catchy clean choruses, An Ocean Between Us had a thrashy sound to it, The Powerless Rise combined all previous elements and refined them, the only new thing Awakened does is nothing, the band seems to have actually regressed on Awakened. As I Lay Dying is simply treading water at this point, and while the water they tread is good, it still feels very uninspired and leaves a lot to be desired.

Even the album name and art feel uninspired. But come on, where can you really go after five consecutive album covers with a skull on it. I guess the band was too busy hitting the gym to worry about things like songwriting and the art of album titles. Either they aren't trying or they ran out of ideas, this is made apparent by the two note verse riff in "Resilience," although they at least they had the common courtesy to put a lazy five second solo over the second verse. The guitar work on Awakened is as technical as ever, it's just not very catchy or interesting a lot of the time. A couple tracks like Whispering Silence and No Lungs To Breath have good solos, but the biggest problem is it all feels so formulaic and familiar. I expected to hear some breakdowns but I expected to at least get a few interesting ones. While The Powerless Rise had some clever breakdowns like on "Anodyne Sea," the ones on here do nothing for me, the only exception being the stand out track "Overcome" which not only has the first good breakdown on the record, it actually has catchy riffs and a decent chorus, gang vocals and all. Other less impressive breakdowns include the trite fade out breakdown on Whispering Silence that ruins a perfectly good track that had some clever songwriting.

As I Lay Dying were a band known for using clean sung choruses sparingly, this is not the case on Awakened as the record is littered with many out of place clean sung choruses, and while a couple of them work like on "Overcome" and "A Greater Foundation," they only serve as filler to make up for the lack of genuine songwriting. The cleans are overproduced to the point of sounding weird, like the laughable attempt at harmonized gang vocals in the last track, or the extremely out of place chorus in "Defender." The song structures are as cliche and stale as ever with the band needing so many clean choruses because they couldn't think of anything of interest to put in the songs and many of the tracks on Awakened are ruined for this reason.

Many fans thought bringing in punk legend producer Bill Stevenson would bring some nice changes for the band, this is not really the case. The production is cleaner and sharper, and the band attempts some punk gang vocals probably for Bill's sake, but it doesn't make much of a difference when the riffs are stale and flat and the clean vocals are beyond overproduced. It's rather odd that a guy that got started playing in a raw punk band could make such a commercial and clean sounding record, and this clean sound does not help the record. As I Lay Dying's album, An Ocean Between Us had a nice raw atmospheric sound to it, and the guitars sounded unique as well, here the guitars sound just like any other band and the crisp production leaves no room for personality.

As I Lay Dying took a huge step back with Awakened, with their slow and steady ascent out of metalcore mediocrity took a huge nose dive with it. The main problem is it all feels so safe and secure; As I Lay Dying had big shoes to fill after The Powerless Rise almost made the band respectable outside of the metalcore community, but Awakened blew it big time. Awakened has enough great songs to get your blood pumping, but not enough to live up to the band's current standards. If it had come out before An Ocean Between Us or even The Powerless Rise it probably would have sounded more impressive, but because it came out now, Awakened will forever live on as As I Lay Dying's most disappointing album and their biggest misstep.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2012


50362 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I know I know it doesn't read like a 3, but I said it has a few great tracks in the conclusion so there
Yeah as AILD's former biggest fan this is really disappointing


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

KILL
September 26th 2012


71750 Comments


damn

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

YankeeDudel
September 26th 2012


9313 Comments


still havent heard this. used to dig them but if its just the same shit then meh. i didnt like the single either

Digging: Walknut - Graveforests And Their Shadows

ChuckyTruant
September 26th 2012


15716 Comments


good review trebs

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

Ovrot
September 26th 2012


10494 Comments


i thought the album cover was the logo from gurren lagann for a moment

CaptainDooRight
September 26th 2012


29131 Comments


reported

Digging: Kangding Ray - Solens Arc

taxidermist
September 26th 2012


7203 Comments


Damn, you hella stepped your reviewing game up. Makes me want to do the same.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2012


19749 Comments


Damn.

Yeah I thought about lowering this to a 3.

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2012


50362 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Thanks Taxi I've been working hard
If this had came out right after Shadows instead of now people probably would have dug it more, but it just sucks ass compared to Ocean and Rise

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2012


19749 Comments


Powerless Rise > Ocean > This (haven't heard their other albums much)

DarthMann
September 26th 2012


13815 Comments


ocean between us > all

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2012


50362 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Dude right after I listened to this I listened to Rise and I was like holy fuck they this sounds like it was made after Awakened!

Ovrot
September 26th 2012


10494 Comments


Austrian Death Machine > all


isn't this the same guy

DarthMann
September 26th 2012


13815 Comments


sound of truth is the best song of all time

mindleviticus
September 26th 2012


8229 Comments


This is terrible and I'm ashamed because The Powerless Rise was so good!!!!

Digging: Cultes Des Ghoules - Henbane

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2012


19749 Comments


wait are you saying powerless rise is worse than awakened?

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2012


50362 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

No I'm saying Rise is superior in every way and sounds like it could be a progression from this album even though this one came later


DarthMann
September 26th 2012


13815 Comments


"Austrian Death Machine > all"

fuck that

DarthMann
September 26th 2012


13815 Comments


powerless rise is boring

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2012


19749 Comments


Oh gotcha.

Yeah, the plague might be my all time fav AILD song.
Powerless Rise had clean vocals but they sounded better and weren't as abundant.



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