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Awakened

As I Lay Dying

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Customer Reviews

Surprising!

Awakened is one of the most surprising and difficult to explain of the 2012 releases so far. In a few words, it’s a confusing and over stimulating album first listen through. Since I figured you’d want me to cut to the chase, I’ll list the pros and cons before my review and you can decide if I’m credible enough.

Cons:
Every song is an epic shred fest (minus the instrumental); it can get exhausting listening when the usual As I Lay Dying dynamics are something along the lines of heavy, soft, heavy, middle, ect…here it is fast with it being fairly heavy every song.
One or two choruses may be just a little too “poppy” for fans.
Even though it’s about the same length as past releases, the ending just feels too abrupt and leaves you “needing” more.

Pros:
Best production quality of any of their past releases.
Best use of gang vocals yet.
Best pronunciation in screams yet.
Most audible and well mixed clean vocals yet.
Verse lyrics are poetic and deep as always, however, Tim (lyricist) manages to simplify the chorus lyrics to something catchy and to the point unlike most past releases.
Best solos yet.
There’s a variety of styles on the album.
Josh (clean vocals) gets to show his prowess as a vocalist even if a decent chunk of fans hate clean vocals in general.
These songs will be great live.

Review:
Early 2012, As I Lay Dying started looking for a new producer for the next album. Adam D was more than busy with the new Killswitch release, so they had to look elsewhere. They found Bill Stevenson, who is a renowned producer of bands like Rise Against...ect. He was also the drummer for the punk band The Descendants. He not only helped produce the highest quality release yet, he also led the band to change the style of this album up a bit.

Awakened starts out with Cauterize, the traditional As I Lay Dying sounding song. I think this is a great starting song considering how much the other songs deviate from the usual. It’s almost like the band saying: “Here’s what our songs usually sound like, you won’t be hearing any of this for the rest of the album.” This is both the band’s greatest achievement and to some their greatest downfall; I personally find it to be the better of the two. As I Lay Dying tries a plethora of different styles, all of which I believe were done successfully. To account for the rather big changeup, they decided to switch album artists, which was sort of a kick in the nostalgia. While I prefer the original artist’s style, the new one isn’t bad, just different.
First listen through, I was unsure how I felt. Every song had a similar intensity and each delved into slightly new territory.

Second time through, I blasted this in the car with my friend on a night drive. It then came to me; this album was meant to be a nonstop headbanger.
The traditional sound of As I Lay Dying has merged with aspects of both punk and rock & roll. It's quite a bit different from anything they've ever done before. If you compare past albums to this, one after the other, you'll notice how big the gap really is. At first I was sort of bummed that I wasn't listening to “An Ocean Between Us #2”, but then I realized that the differences each album has is what makes this band so incredibly refreshing. If An Ocean Between Us was dark melodic and The Powerless Rise was dark Thrash, this is more along the lines of light melodic. They do an amazing job of creating catchy as hell songs on this release. I mean, the band is already known for each one of their songs being incredibly well crafted and all, but this takes it to a whole new level; I will never skip a song on this album.
The most notable difference with this album is how the double bass is very uncommon; this is much different from the usual sound. but I think it's done well.
The biggest gripe I have with the album is the mixing choice of some of the choruses' vocals. Josh has a great raw voice, but they softened up his voice a bit too much for some songs (softened is different from autotune). After hearing the rough demo of A Greater Foundation in which Josh has non tampered vocals, I realized how much better a rawer version of his vocals would sound on the album as a whole, considering the new rock and & roll/punk influenced songs.

Anyways, all cripes aside, I think this will be the most surprising release of 2012. Everyone expected the same, but were given something completely different. Those differences were done extremely well, unlike other bands who tried something different and basically died off because of it. The average Joe will hear the outdated and incorrect term “metalcore” for this band, but someone experienced with this genre will know that the band has left the genre's jurisdiction and have become something else...though I'm not sure what yet.
Give this a try if you're a skeptic; I loved the album.

New Territory in Metal

With every album, As I Lay Dying has managed to delve into new territory in the metal universe. That is probably most especially true for this album. I was a little skeptical at first with the change in producers, but after hearing Cauterize and A Greater Foundation, all worries were gone and I realized that AILD had a firm hand on the reigns, as always, keeping the instruments, vocals, and lyrics above standard.
1. Cauterize - 8.5/10 - A great track to start the album off on a quick start. No intro, just straight energy. This is probably the most like the AILD that we're used to, so it serves as a sort of bridge between The Powerless Rise and the rest of this album. Catchy, classic, and brutal. Quintessential AILD.
2. A Greater Foundation - 9.5/10 - This song blew my mind when I first heard it. It's a prime example of how technically precise and melodically perfect AILD can be, as well as how good they are at combining the two. Following Cauterize, the placement of this song sort of says, "Okay, you've heard us before...let's show you what we can do now."
3. Resilience - 9.5/10 - Another song that blew my mind with its perfect blend of brutality and melody as well as slightly progressive mindset. AILD have been known for this for some time now, but somehow they keep managing to kick up the standard. This song picks up the energy a little from where A Greater Foundation left off, as well as delves into more emotional intensity. By this point, it's become clear that AILD carried a new mindset when writing this album while staying true to themselves and to metal. It's just really really really good metal.
4. Wasted Words - 9/10 - Probably the heaviest song on the album. With this song especially, the slightly progressive mindset is not so much exercised as emphasized, in that it takes the typically brutal AILD, such as in Condemned, and brings it up to the Awakened level. This will probably be a favorite for listeners who enjoy the "Egyptian" sound.
5. Whispering Silence - 10/10 - My personal favorite on the album. This song is the perfect example of a combination of poppy-ness and brutality. Up until the epic solo, this song also takes elements of previous AILD songs and, like Wasted Words, brings them up and together to the Awakened level. So the progressive mindset sort of takes a slight rest for this song, but it is very much still another step forward for the band. To put the icing on the cake, the song contains what is probably one of the best AILD breakdowns of all time.
6. Overcome - 9/10 - The new territory AILD has come across is especially exercised in this song. By this point, it is clear that the band has simply and greatly expanded what metal is by definition. My rating for this song is based mostly off of the sheer genius of it. It's probably the slowest song on the album (with the exception of Washed Away), which is ultimately shocking, as the song is still very fast. It provides an opportunity for another epic solo, which is seized greedily.
7. No Lungs to Breathe - 9/10 - The riff on this song is almost nostalgic even to the Shadows are Security days. But since it is (of course) brought up to the Awakened standard, I would venture to say that this song is one of the most unique on the album, as their new style has quickly become rather formed. Because of this, this song grew on me a lot more than I expected.
8. Defender - 9/10 - This song seems like it would fit very well on The Powerless rise. Nonetheless, it's placement on the album is somewhat refreshing, especially for someone like me who loves memorable breakdowns. Since AILD doesn't use these much anymore, there's that much more emphasis on them when they do. The energy by this point in the album is pretty much relentless, and with the exception of Washed Away, a listener could probably headbang all the way through.
9. Washed Away - 8/10 - Much like what Departed did on An Ocean Between Us, this song gives a very nice moment's rest to the swarm of energy that Awakened delivers.
10. My Only Home - 9/10 - Another song that seems like an extension of The Powerless Rise. The use of melody is genius and beautiful, and very much dominates over AILD's typical brutality without completely losing it. I mean, it is AILD...of course it's still heavy.
11. Tear Out My Eyes - 9.5/10 - Very much carries the same energy that My Only Home exercised, with a simple structure and catchy melodies and riffs. On a first listen through, I wasn't satisfied with the way the album ended. But this song too quickly grew on me, as the wave of melodies very much sums up the nostalgia of having listened to an album that will no doubt prove to be a cornerstone in the exploration of the metal universe.

THIS IS SO SO SO SO SO SO GOOD

As I lay dying really pulled through. This is an absolutely amazing album. Everyone should buy it

Biography

Formed: 2001 in San Diego, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

As I Lay Dying are a metal-hardcore crossover band from San Diego, California. The group formed as a trio in 2001 with vocalist Tim Lambesis, drummer Jordan Mancino, and guitarist Evan White, and shortly thereafter released Beneath the Encasing of Ashes. A split CD with the American Tragedy followed the next year. In 2003 the band signed with Metal Blade and released Frail Words Collapse. After the album's release, White left the band and the remaining core of the group, Lambesis and Mancino, drafted...
Full Bio
Awakened, As I Lay Dying
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Metal, Music, Rock
  • Released: Sep 21, 2012

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