For the past decade, As I Lay Dying has labored hard and earned their reputation as major players in the music industry through remarkably successful touring while consistently churning out albums of impressive musical and lyrical intensity. At this point, AILD can fairly be considered the Old Faithful of the metal world, and upon release of their latest brew, The Powerless Rise, the time has come for another sizzling eruption of all that this talented group out of So Cal has become known for.
For any fans of AILD's style, the first listen to the new record is sure to get hearts pumping and lips curling. The Powerless Rise follows its hugely popular predecessor in much the same way as An Ocean Between Us followed the monumental Shadows Are Security, with evidence of subtle new maturity apparent in every familiar element of the band. The band professionally shows off their extraordinary musical chops in scorching guitar riffs and sensationally stimulating rhythms loaded with double bass. Screaming vocals by mastermind front man Tim Lambesis, accompanied frequently by clean singing vocals, are more than effective with their potency and inflection for the emotional communication of each song's beautifully substantial lyrics.
On the other hand however, for any elitist listener in search of a uniquely groundbreaking sound, repeated listens to this record may fail to inspire. Certainly the music is not unoriginal, but it can be fairly noted that it is more challenging in the grade of musical chops than in musical creativity. There is very little dynamic variation from the band's tried and true formula of a five piece who plays hard and fast in 4/4 time. This makes it difficult to pick any stand outs from among these 11 tracks which are also stylistically comparable to the work of countless similar bands. In contrast to their "Cool Tour" co-headliners UnderOath, the song writing in the AILD camp only proves the group to be comfortable as a defining archetype of the genre, rather than a fresh cutting edge. This however, is merely an elitist gripe.
Just like the Old Faithful geyser spouts steam from earth to sky, As I Lay Dying does what they do best with consistently spectacular results, and even if this album does not perfectly suit the cravings of one desiring something revolutionary, it is hard to imagine that any honest metal fan would be disappointed with The Powerless Rise. As an album of some of the greatest work in the history of the band, it is guaranteed to entertain anyone eager for some simply excellent metal to enjoy this summer and many months to come until the time comes around again for another eruption out of As I Lay Dying.
- Review date: 5/18/10, written by Tim Harro of Jesusfreakhideout.com