Awakened review by As I Lay Dying

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  • Released: Sep 25, 2012
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 8.4 (117 votes)
As I Lay Dying: Awakened
2

Sound — 6
As I Lay Dying over time have really cemented their name into the metal-core genre, but they have always managed to add something extra into their music so they managed to stand out. Each album was an improvement as time went on as the band matured. While I can say that this is a solid album, I can't say they really went too far into maturing direction this time around. The sound is exactly what we have come to expect from the band. Each predecessor album had its very own individual sound, and looking back, no two albums sound the same. In this case, it is a blend of "The Powerless Rise" and "Frail Words Collapse", from my perspective. The guitar riffs are great, the bass lines are great, the drumming is great, the vocals are great, but something is missing. In general, the band seems to follow a certain song structure and pretty much uses it for just about every song, so there's not enough variety. I have listened to the album all the way through probably five time prior to writing this article, and I still have a hard time distinguishing which song is which. It's not to say that they're not quality in their own respects, but if the band shook things up around a little bit, it wouldn't hurt them. My biggest complaint about this entire album is that its leaning towards mainstream metal-core. The album is filled with breakdowns, something they had almost completely left behind since 2005's "Shadows Are Security" and Josh Gilbert's singing, while impressive and fitting for the band, has almost overtaken Tim Lambesis' screams at point, something that we aren't used to as fans. Bands evolve into the kinds of bands they want to, for themselves, and that is exactly what they should be doing, so I can't blame them for making this album the way they want to. They're called artists because they create the art in their minds, not just what other people want to do. Besides the complaints, instrumentally-wise, songs worth checking out are "A Greater Foundation", which is their second single off the album, and has a music video for it, "No Lungs To Breathe", and "Overcome". I give it a 6 mainly because I feel they are a better band than the work they have released this time around.

Lyrics — 9
Before I get to the lyrics, I want to briefly mention that Tim's screams and Josh's singing are better than ever. Josh's range has definitely widened out, and Tim's screams have as well. His highs are perfect this time around. The band has always been one that puts heavy and hard hitting music to very deep lyrics, and this time around it is no difference. I have always said that they're not just lyrics written out, they're well-crafted poems, cleverly worded to appeal to the listener. For example, in "Wasted Words", the lyrics mainly speak of the hardships and sadness one goes through life, through trying to follow their dreams in hopes of dying with no regrets. "The price of attachment in pursuit of dreams/ that I so often can't seem to remember/ yet there are days when beauty can not be contained/ it even crawls out from under ordinary things." Also worth noting is the lyrics of "Defender": "You can justify almost anything/ if you are willing to be loud enough/ but once you've spent everything/ to change the world around you/ even if your voice is taken away/ such actions will still inspire." Perhaps I am a little biased in giving this section a 9 because I have always been a fan of their lyrical work, but I feel the lyrics are very powerful in this case as well. If you look them up for other songs as well, you won't be disappointed.

Overall Impression — 7
As mentioned earlier, compared to the levels where they should be now, this album is a bit of a fluke. In the end, it is still a very solid album, and I would highly recommend it to any AILD fan. However, when you compare it to the raw energy of "Frail Words Collapse" or "An Oceans Between Us", it is very difficult to say that this is the band's best work so far. Perhaps if this was another band of lesser stature that released this, I would give it a higher rating, but I was personally expecting a lot more considering what they're capable of. As a hardcore fan, it is disappointing a bit, but I'm sure this album will be the gateway for many new fans to come that are just starting to get into the genre, ones who aren't quite ready to get into the heavier stuff AILD has released.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Monty12345
    To be honest An Ocean Between Us has been their biggest breakthrough which consists of all the elements of a brilliant album.. But when that album came out they switched bassists- Josh Gilbert pretty much only came in to lay down the clean vocals...he did not have such a big influence in the band at that time. But now through The Powerless Rise and Awakened he really shared his taste and it has become unique to AILD. I am a huge fan since I heard The Beginning from Frail Words Collapse for the first time. Awakened was not such a big release such as An Ocean Between Us but this is a flawless and brilliant album in my opinion. It is incredible to see these musicians grow as people, in their beliefs as well as musically. What stands out for me especially is that almost from An Ocean Between Us throughout to Awakened is the almost change in the style of clean vocals. For me it is almost different in a way in every album. But the best thing is that they are not afraid to do what they feel because that is what it is all about- the music and not trying to please everybody. The change in clean vocals have been perfected in every album they have ever made which included clean vocals. There is nothing better than a vocal melody stuck in your head. I am a drummer so the drums on this album is extremely exciting and I can't wait to try out some tracks. Jordan Mancino really stepped it up with his playing with fast double bass sprints as well as blasting beyond my techniques-but is still able to emphasize the melody of the guitars and vocals. Though when I first heard Cauterize and A Greater Foundation, I expected a lot more fast paced blasts and double bass on the other tracks...so I was a bit disappointed. Nevertheless- this album in my opinion is definitely one of their best literally to date Brutal yet melodic guitars and drums, Tim Lambesis' vocals have reached a range so far beyond their previous albums- have you heard his high screams!?!? Not even starting on the low brutal growls... We have to stop comparing albums with albums. People change-music change.
    BwareDWare94
    When I first heard Cauterize, I was afraid that this would be The Powerless Rise, Part II. Thank God it isn't. I loved The Powerless Rise, but why would I want to hear it again under a different title? Thank you AILD for not pulling a Killswitch Engage on us and releasing the same album 3 times in a row, but with a different title. Keep evolving.
    xxmvpmanxx
    In my opinion, this is their best release yet! These songs just move me, they're beautiful!
    eternaldarkness
    y is everyone giving this cd a 7 or 8 i believe it deserves at least a 9 it was way more of a step up from the powerless rise lyrically and sound wise way more stronger in the producing department quit low rating this cd its amazing!!!
    millarso
    Something that hasn't been mentioned... I actually really dig this album art. It's slightly Mastodon-esque (if the skull were a little different. I also like that the title is in like a 70's text.
    orion82698
    Really loving this album so far. As other have said, it seems that they are sticking true to their sound. MUCH better than the recent releases from All That Remains and BFMV.
    klabauterman
    One word for them is 'Consistent'. They stay strong in their line no matter what. And their talent is developing for every albums. Maybe this is not their best album, but i think this is the best album this year-so far (compared to BFMV and other).
    geetarz8279
    Solid album, but after a dozen listens, I'm bored with it. And the lead guitar tone sounds too digital. Especially the solo at the beginning of "Overcome". Seems like a missed opportunity. Dude should take a lesson from Mikael Akerfeldt on how to dial in an epic tone for soloing over an acoustic guitar piece.