Sound — 8
An Ocean Between Us is As I Lay Dying's first album after 2005 release Shadows Are Security. I should admit this metalcore band puts out LPs as on schedule -- every two years in the summer! The majority of the tracks on the new album are very intense with bombing drums and furious guitars. Though comparing to the band's previous releases, An Ocean Between Us is more melodic and diverse. Working on it the album the guys were aiming to do something but generic metalcore and they quite achieved the aim! There is a solid backbone in the music which is performed by storming rhythm section -- Jordan Mancino on drums and Josh Gilbert on bass. Such a strong foundation allows musicians to put layers of different flourishes on top. There are a lot of wonderful, amazingly fast guitar solos. Learn one of them and you can say you know how to play guitar! The harmonies the guys use are as well something worth to be studied individually. The guys' songwriting greatly matured -- songs sound solid and thought-out. The production of the record was confided to the fellow colleague Adam Dutkiewicz from Killswitch Engage. The sound of both bands is quite close to each other, so the producer obviously knew what he was doing. Delicate Departed sounds like borrowed from some symphony and serves a very nice break. The follower aggressive and loud Wrath Upon Ourselves hits with a new force even harder. The album ends very peacefully -- galloping This Is Who We Are suddenly turns into mild acoustic grand piano and even finishes with a major chord. Which is probably the sign -- things are not as scary as they seem!
Lyrics — 8
Unlike a lot of bands of their genre, singing about the end of the world and destruction, As I Lay Dying are trying to find positive subjects for their songs. This way they hope more younger people can relate to their music. Instead of destruction they sing about salvation; instead of the end -- about the dream. The vocal job is shared between the frontman Tim Lambesis and new bassist Josh Gilbert. While Lambesis is in charge of harsh screamo he used to do on the past records, Gilbert is dealing with melodic parts. I should say the new vocalist is copping with his duties quite good -- he delivers intense singing, which goes well with Lambesis powerful screaming. Even though the formula of one guy screaming and somebody whining a melody on the background usually works out to be dull and uninteresting, As I Lay Dying somehow manage it to sound good -- could be the merit of improved songwriting or wise production.
Overall Impression — 8
The tracks on the album are balanced very good and the album goes smooth from one song to another without any extremes. As I lay Dying manage to keep their music on the same level one album after another, never being too far from their original sound. The new release is no exception and should not disappoint the fans of the band.