San Diego metal-core band, As I lay Dying have been tearing up stages for the last twelve years. In that time they have released six full length studio albums, including their latest, Awakened. The album was released on September 25th via Brian Slagel’s Metal Blade Records, and was produced by Bill Stevenson. Running at about 43 minutes the album displays solid performances from all members, and excellent production.
Awakened starts with the track, “Cauterize.” This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It has that familiar As I Lay Dying feeling which makes me really enjoy it especially the clean vocals on the chorus which are multi tracked to give it a very thick sound. Phil Sgrosso and Nick Hipa’s rhythm chops are also displayed very prominently on the track. Next up is the track “A Greater Foundation” I enjoyed this track especially the intro which builds to a great fast paced verse. I enjoyed the gang vocals on the tracks chorus too because they added a very live feel to the song. My favorite part though was when clean vocalist and bass player, Josh Gilbert comes in to sing a very melodic bridge section. “Resilience” is up next, and on this song you see Sgrosso and Hipa’s rhythm and lead chops come to the forefront, and thus you see why they are essential to the As I Lay Dying sound.
One of my favorite tracks on the record is “Wasted Words.” This song starts off with the typical As I Lay Dying riff, but around the minute mark it throws a curve ball, and you get this almost Middle Eastern feeling chord structure. This sound is continued at about the 3:11 mark when a very melodic guitar interlude takes place.
The next track that really caught my attention was the sixth track, “Overcome.” This track starts out with a very subdued arpeggiated acoustic guitar. This leads into a great melodic solo, but then the riff kicks in and we’re back to the metal world. This is when the band really hits its stride and is firing on all cylinders. “No Lungs to Breathe” is the next track, and on this track you hear a great performance from drummer Jordan Mancino. You can really tell his drumming is key to keeping the tight rhythm of the guitars together.
Gilbert starts out the next track with a driving bass riff. The rest of the band comes in, but instead of Lambesis starting the track on vocals, Gilbert delivers a great melodic line. I have to say though, that this is the only track where the bass feels prominent in the track the rest of the album could have used an increase in bass frequencies when the final mix came around.
There is a small instrumental track called “Washed Away” that leads into the next song “My Only Home”. “My Only Home” starts off with a thunderous open chord and a very fast paced riff. I was expecting a lot more from the track, and it felt as if this track was filler. “Tear out My Eyes” closes the album, and I have to say I enjoyed this tracked especially the intro and melodic chorus. It seemed as if the band wanted to the end the album on a high note with a great track, and that they did.
This album seems to be a next step in the evolution of As I Lay Dying. It is brutally heavy, but at the same time it seems more melodic and structured than past releases. Definitely pick up this album, and if you can get the deluxe edition which has excellent liner notes and an excellent bonus DVD that shows the process of making the album.
Check Out The Music Video For “A Greater Foundation” Below: