As I Lay Dying – The Powerless Rise
Release Date: May 11, 2010
Record Label: Metal Blade
It’s hard to stand out in an oversaturated genre like metalcore. Releases get churned out every week featuring breakdown after breakdown and generic sing-scream patterns. The genre fits within a rigid structure, so what makes a band or album stand out is good songwriting. Knowing when to execute a breakdown or where to place clean vocals within a track is crucial to its impact and lasting power. Enter The Powerless Rise, As I Lay Dying’s fifth studio album and finest one at that. What separates the San Diego quintet from the rest of the pack is the group’s attention to detail in their songwriting.
From the initial onslaught of “Beyond Our Suffering” to the punishing payoff in closer “The Blinding of False Light,” The Powerless Rise is a whirlwind ride through 44 minutes of pristine instrumentation and production. Instead of bombarding your ears with breakdowns galore, the band carefully chooses their spots on the record to unleash their auditory assault. There is a lot more riffing from guitarists Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso as well, prominently showcased on vicious tracks like “Without Conclusion” and “Condemned.” Drummer Jordan Mancino is no slouch either, absolutely destroying the kit throughout The Powerless Rise.
Not only is The Powerless Rise As I Lay Dying’s heaviest album to date, it also features a splendor not heard on past releases. Slow leads build up into dynamic payoffs, such as “Anger and Apathy,” “Upside Down Kingdom,” and the magnificent “Parallels.”
Now three years deep with the band, bassist Josh Gilbert’s clean vocals sound more genuine this time around, especially on the scorching “Anodyne Sea.” But this is still Tim Lambesis’ rodeo, and he has complete control on The Powerless Rise. His vocal power reverberates throughout “Vacancy,” while “The Only Constant Is Change” is an example of sheer brute force. It’s the best vocal performance of his career.
It’s time for the metalcore genre to get on As I Lay Dying’s level, cause right now they are killing it. The Powerless Rise showcases the band cashing in the potential and promise shown on its first four releases. There is nothing Powerless about this behemoth of an album. It’ll sit atop the metal pinnacle all year long, all while kicking ass and taking names.
Awesome review Drew. I love how AILD has integrated the melody into their sound, while still finding a way to make it sound fresh. It's refreshing because this record is legitimately heavy, and it isn't just a breakdown counter.
'Not only is The Powerless Rise As I Lay Dying’s heaviest album to date...'
Shouldn't that read 'least heaviest album to date'? Not that there's any problems with that, Tim's vocals are a lot clearer than on previous records and there's a lot more clean vocals from Josh...the albums definitely get more technical each time, wouldn't necessarily say heavier though...
I don't think it's quite up there with An Ocean Between Us but will for sure be one of the best metal releases of the year IMO
i love this record....i was a little iffy in a few tracks in the beginning but then this record took off for me in the latter half. so awesome i do wish on a technical standpoint their was some more compression on the drum tracks. needs to be a little punchier and tighter for my taste.
Great review. I don't know if I like this album better than An Ocean Between Us, but I agree that it is very good. I'm not all that big of a fan of the clean vocals...they're more high-pitched than those on the previous album and, since high-pitched clean vocals are the thing to do in metalcore, they sound somewhat generic to me. However, maybe they'll grow on me. But yeah, it's a very good album.