Awakened review by As I Lay Dying

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Sep 25, 2012
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 8.4 (116 votes)
As I Lay Dying: Awakened
5

Sound — 8
As I Lay Dying was founded in 2000 by guitarist and vocalist, Tim Lambesis, in California, and was originally just a duo with Tim and drummer, Jordan Mancino. Duties for the other instruments on their early recordings and shows were filled by a rotating group of friends. The current lineup of As I Lay Dying wasn't completed until 2007. They released their first album, "Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes", in 2001 through Pluto Records. In 2002 they released 5 songs on a split album with metal band, American Tragedy. In 2003, As I Lay Dying left Pluto Records and signed with Metal Blade Records who they remain with today. Their second studio release, "Frail Words Collapse", was released through Metal Blade Records in mid 2003. Since that time, As I Lay Dying has toured extensively in support of their music and as of "Awakened" this will be their sixth studio release, and the fifth with Metal Blade Records.

The sound of the album is definitely As I Lay Dying and by this I mean it is metalcore, but has strong melody for the genre, has elements of thrash and a really good mix of clean and screamed vocals. The music is still ultra aggressive but doesn't do aggression at the cost of finesse. The album is produced and mixed really well. There is something I see as a problem in the metalcore genre of albums being either extremely over or under produced, but with "Awakened" they seem to have found a happy medium. I've said it already, but what makes this album stand out from other metalcore releases this year is that there is a strong sense of melody, there are good guitar solos, and the mix of vocals is close to perfect. The drums are aggressive without falling into the trap of trying to kill the cymbals or doing fast triplets on the bass drum to the point of monotony. I tend to think of certain bands in certain genres as being representative of what is best in their respective genres and with "Awakened" As I Lay Dying has taken a step in that direction for metalcore.

Lyrics — 7
Tim Lambesis handles the main vocals which are the screamed vocals throughout the album. The clean vocals are handled by bassist, Josh Gilbert. Something that really stands out to me about As I Lay Dying, besides their awesome use of melody, is the way that Tim and Josh harmonize their vocals occasionally which is really unique with screamed metalcore vocals and clean vocals. Tim Lambesis definitely gets props for managing to be understandable with his metalcore vocals without losing his edge of aggression. I think that Tim Lambesis and Josh Gilbert have really found a method that works for them and gives their band an identity, from a vocal standpoint. Something else that Josh Gilbert pulls off on his clean vocals that a lot of bands don't manage with clean vocals he sings clean, but he doesn't sound like a boy band singer.

As far as a sample of lyrics, I thought I would share some of the lyrics from the song "Cauterize", which was the first single from the album. I don't think these are the best lyrics on the album, though the lyrics throughout are pretty much standard fare for metalcore the lyrics from "Awakened" are better than some and worse than others, but a pretty solid effort when all is said and done. Here are some lyrics from the song "Cauterized": "Go/ The truth of my heart/ is like a repressed tale/ A censored and silenced story/ repression or restraint/ it is a delicate balance/ between bleeding out what/ will make me drown/ and closing in what I cannot afford to spill/ either way, I must cauterize/ cauterize the open wound". That is the first verse, then the clean vocals come in with the chorus: "I'm caught between the feeling/ of being pulled apart/ or stuffed into a cell". Then we have the next verse: "And if these are the only options/ this will always be hell/ never ending/ though I still may be breathing/ there is no quality of life/ so I choose to risk it all for you/ for you to be by my side". Then it goes into the 2nd chorus, more verses, more choruses, etc. As I said, the lyrics aren't bad I've seen better and worse, but they stand up fairly well.

Overall Impression — 7
My favorite songs on the album are "Overcome", "Tear Out My Eyes", "Resilience" and "A Greater Foundation". My least favorite song on the album is the first single, "Cauterize". "Awakened" stands up well against its competition, as it definitely stays in the realm of metalcore, but has the additional elements of thrash and melody. I would recommend this album to anyone who is currently a fan of metalcore or a fan of As I Lay Dying. I would recommend this album to anyone who was just getting into metalcore, as it seems to be a good gateway band, too. I hope the band continues to make new albums and continues to tour. I would love to hear some of these songs live, and I feel like their individual voice is just starting to shine and help them stand apart. The standard version of the album has 11 tracks and a run time of just under 43 minutes. The version I was reviewing is the iTunes Limited Edition version that has two additional tracks "Unwound", which is a B-side demo, and a demo version of "A Greater Foundation" that is like 12 seconds longer than the original. The iTunes version is right under 51 minutes long.

40 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Metallidethium
    They truly found their sound on An Ocean Between Us and they've managed to build off of that without becoming stale. This album is killer!
    whywefight
    AOBU and TPR destroy. I haven't listened to this all the way through yet, but it sounds at least decent.
    Elfy310
    It's not nearly the caliber as Ocean Between us, or The Powerless Rise. I found a lot of the songs on this album to kind of drone on or do drastic changes to trash riffs which I though weren't to great. However the songs they do get right are Awesome such as "A Greater Foundation", "Cauterize", and "Overcome". It sounded as if they couldn't decide whether or not to make this a Melodic, or Thrash Album. If you get get past a few songs it can be really good though, worth a listening to.
    Logan_B
    Did A Greater Foundation's chorus not totally just make you drop your jaw in awe? Just thought that whole weird clean lead riff was way out of left field in recent As I Lay Dying memories
    Logan_B
    Introduced to this band by a friend. Ever since hearing An Ocean Between Us I've been a huge fan, in fact, discovering this band has inspired me to attempt tougher songs on guitar a couple years ago and helped me get to the point that Im at today. The Powerless Rise was my favorite album of 2010, suffice to say that this album takes the cake for this year in my opinion tied with Mark Tremonti's side project Tremonti.
    millarso
    The best metalcore release of 2012? I like As I Lay Dying, but that is insane. Ex Lives blew this out of the water. I'm still not terribly sure about this album. The cleans are boring and all sound the same, and so many of the songs have them. I think they were a little too formulaic, but I'll wait til I've listened to the whole thing to pass judgment.
    vppark2
    Ive listened through twice now and I must say it is a solid album. By no means amazing. The production was great, riffs, solos, etc. The only problem I do in fact have is the cleans, and such, as if they were wernt sure what direction they should have directed the music towards. The cleans do stand out tho, but I did notice big use of them. Its better at least...but yeah Ex Lives def stands at #1 at this place. I will say that I even thought Memphis May Fire's "Challenger" was better than this, and Shadows Fall's "Fire From The Sky".
    Abacus11
    Epi, I couldn't agree more. Even though AILD aren't terrible... this genre has been done done to death and peaked about 10 or 12 years ago.
    Sgt Killswitch
    These guys have some serious talent. No album will be as big of a breakthrough as An Ocean Between Us, but every album since then has been fantastic. While most other bands are withering in the creative category, As I Lay Dying is keeping things alive. This cd in particular is one of the greatest combinations of brutality and melody that I've heard in my life. I'm not disappointed.
    EpiExplorer
    I'm not sure if anyone's ever done this thing where you find a relatively unknown melodic death metal band on the You of tubes and then keep clicking through the related videos of yet more unknown bands, you will see that most of the relevant bands are mostly unknown purely because everything about their music is completely mediocre. AILD sound exactly like these unknown bands, just with vocals and song structures of generic American metalcore, which is still heavily trending despite the sea of unbearable averageness and laziness that is most of the metalcore scene being completely obvious. The progressions are tiresome, as are the overused scales which are the same scales for nearly every song they've ever written, the At The Gates derived lead guitars and the equally as done-to-death drumming style are both facepalm-worthy in this day and age and lets not start on the processed vocals. These guys are selling product, its what they have to do as a band, its a shame that this particular product has hundreds of the exact same competitors who all peddle the same unimaginative drivel, and have been doing it for the same amount of time, and they should've been rethinking their ideas around the time their support acts started sounding strangely familiar.
    goingnowhere21
    That's sort of wrong to say really. You can't really put AILD with other metalcore bands solely because they're not that plain. I'm not quite sure how much you listen to the genre (I would assume that it's not too much considering your statements), but AILD is quite a different band. They don't have your typical CHUG-CHUG-CHUG-DEEE-DEEEEE crap that you see most of these days. They have a certain style that has evolved over time. I certainly wouldn't say they're death metal, but I would put them among the sounds of Trivium, maybe less melodic. But to say that this band falls in the same category that Of Mice & Men, Asking Alexandria, or any other "metalcore" band of that stature is just narrow-sighted. I respect your opinion, I just disagree with it, haha.
    TheNumber6
    i agree, i dont believe they belong in the category of OM&M or metalcore acts of that nature. they took the genre in a slightly different direction instrumentally while keeping and improving upon what is expected out of metalcore (clean vocals, breakdowns, ect)and i also dont know many metalcore bands that actually CAN or DO guitar solos
    vppark2
    Also, more importantly, OM&M does not do the typical "chugging" crap all the time like AA typically does. Open note, palm muting, whatever. Like Moths to Flames, Emmure, and Attack Attack! are other examples of this.
    goingnowhere21
    We're not doubting their stage presence, friend. I'm sure its a fun show, but there's very little skill in what they do. Look at "Second and Sebring", their most popular song. You can't tell me there's anything special about the instrumentals there. It's a fine song, sure. Lyrics have great meaning behind them, yeah. But in general, the band is really nothing special when you look at them as a whole.
    vppark2
    Ahh, I gotcha. Just hard to really look at it that way when theyre one of my favorite bands :p
    vppark2
    I like OM&M. I saw them twice at Warped Tour in the past and theyre very good. Nice stage presence. They hve a Bring Me The Horizon type of feel so thats why i dont think they should be classified into the same category as Asking Alexandria, whose lyrics consist of sex, drugs n alcohol. OM&M does not do that.
    benjixoath
    epiexplorer SLAMS no ladies, because he's too busy trolling metalcore reviews on UG
    Ibeanez
    I've heard you go through this whole thing before, and didn't have much argument with it. Then I noticed, once in a great while, some of the crap you actually like.
    EpiExplorer
    I do like some real crap, I have to say. Crap, but good crap. Like a really expensive curry.
    Ibeanez
    Ive never had curry, but it sure looks like crap, and I imagine it burns the same way going out as going in.
    EpiExplorer
    Only the cheap stuff from a local take away. It is damn delicious all the same though. Spicier is not neccessarily better, a mild korma is always a good option too.
    ryan19
    Last cd i got from them was An Ocean Between Us. I liked it quite a bit so ill have to check this album out. I'm in need of a new heavy album lol
    BwareDWare94
    Can't we just appreciate how much better this band has gotten over the years? I can't even listen to Shadows are Security anymore because it's so damn boring and Clint's vocals were really ****ing emo compared to Josh's.
    axeslinger0u812
    While they certainly fill every requirement of metalcore, I would argue that unearth and the aforementioned war of ages are better torch bearers of the genre. Not saying I dislike as I lay dying, as they're a solid group nonetheless if this is the style you're looking for. I just think they've kind of been spinning their tires recently. i would give the record a firm 7, which is about par for a good metalcore release these days. You get what you thought you would get, and nothing more or less.
    DistantUtopia
    points for liking curry epi. AILD still kicks ass imo, but I'm glad to know we agree on something.
    Thrill-house
    I listened to it all the way through a few times at work today. I didn't like their last CD all that much but this one was pretty damn good.
    justinb904
    I pretty much agree with the review. A solid album worth the listen if you're into their style of music.
    tffan92
    I think that AILD is musically moving away from metalcore and just needs to separate from the genre and fit with either thrash or melodic metal.
    TheNumber6
    ive been saying that ever since An Ocean Between Us dropped. theyre hardly metalcore now, only their older songs really fit that description
    goingnowhere21
    I'm really up in the air about this album. I can't say it was their best work, but it has some quality stuff in there. "Resilience" and "No Lungs to Breathe" are probably my favorites but it seemed like they went backwards a little bit on some of the things they do. There's a bit too many breakdowns, for my liking at least, but at least they don't sound like they were truly going for that. It's not that big of a deal but they got past that phase with Shadows, or so I thought. It's not my favorite album, but there are some pretty good gems in there. Josh's singing is fantastic on most of the songs, but others is just sort of plain. It's still a solid album, but I expected something heavier this time around, especially with "Cauterized" being their first single off the album.
    ChrisWC4
    It's a good metalcore album. Not their best, but way better than their last 2 (Powerless Rise, Decas). But ya kno, metalcore just isn't a great sub-genre IMO. That being said, AILD is the only metalcore band I listen to these days. Only MC band that does different songs on the record.
    tffan92
    I bet if As I Lay Dying wasn't metalcore the genre would have died out years ago.
    ChrisWC4
    Not completely but it wouldn't be as popular as it has been. There are good MC bands like War of Ages, I'm just not into the sub-genre. But yea, really surprised this album was as good as it was.
    payro21
    Ok. best metalcore album of 2012?!?!?!?!?! Obviously the reviewer doesnt listen to war of ages. end of story
    Bulletbeast
    Couldn't agree more with Mr. Epi on this one. Saying it's bad is wrong, and that's the case with a lot of other metalcore, but I have to agree that 'done-to-death' is the right term for it all.