Sound — 9
As I Lay Dying's "Shadows Are Security" has one standout feature about the sound besides the actual music: it is very well mixed, engineered, and produced. It sounds very professional, but not to the point of not sounding emotional and true. Why the hell anyone would classify these people as emo completely baffles me. Their official classification is usually referred to as metalcore, but if As I Lay Dying are metalcore and In Flames are death metal, they may as well just merge the two genres, because honestly, I think that is who As I Lay Dying sound very similar to on this album. So, about the specifics of the music, where to start? Well, I suppose I could begin with the guitar. The better songs on this album have either one of these two things (or both, in some cases): Clint Norris's melodic vocals (the bassist), or melodic guitar riffs. The riffs may seem heavier than they are occasionally because they are accompanied by heavy double bass drumming (a technique in which the drummer has two bass drums and therefore achieves machine gun speed drumming), but they are often very harmonious, as in the second riff in "Losing Sight" or some of the riffs in "The Darkest Nights". The drumming is spectacular and, well, to be honest, I can't hardly hear the bass, but I'm sure it's there, and the bassist has a good voice so he is a valuable element to the band on this record.
Lyrics — 10
Tim Lambesis, the lead vocalist, has a way of referring to God without being overly preachy about it. He never directly refers to Jesus or God by name, and I wouldn't actually be able to tell he was referring to him if it weren't for the fact that when he does in the lyrics book "you" becomes "You", "your" becomes "Your", et cetera. His faith in these songs seems a lot more spiritual and personal than most Christian bands, and for that I immensely respect As I Lay Dying. Also, not all of the songs deal with faith and God, only five out of twelve on this album mention God. All of these songs do not have all that many lyrics, for one, and secondly do not follow any rhymeline. Often they do not follow the traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure. Of course, since the majority of the songs (9 out of 12) are entirely screamed with no melodic singing, there is very little need for rhyme or structure. Lambesis has one of the best screams in all music, and over the course of As I Lay Dying's career, it has not really changed at all. He sounds just as strong as he did on the previous recordings. Norris is moderately talented as a melodic singer, especially on "The Darkest Nights", but he's not quite at the caliber of say Alexisonfire's melodic vocalist, Dallas Green or of Aaron Gillespie of Underoath.
Overall Impression — 8
Essentially, "Shadows Are Security" is an excellent death metal record, with good performances from all band members. Sure, it falls short on a few tracks, such as "Empty Hearts", which besides the guitar solo sounds not really very unique, "Control is Dead", and "Reflection". Besides that, the album is excellent. I highly recommend you purchase it if you are a fan of In Flames, At the Gates, Avenged Sevenfold, Underoath, Alexisonfire, or a shitload of other bands that I'm not going to list.