Sound — 9
Before I dive into the review, I want to clarify something. The title of this album is very easy to misinterpret. Realize that Powerless is the subject and Rise is the verb. Powerless is not the adjective to Rise as the subject. The title means the Powerless are Rising. Not that the Rise was Powerless. Just thought I'd clarify that for all those who are confused. Anyway, the sound on this album is that of a band that has evolved. Tim Lambesis has more variety to his vocals and is his usual beastly self. Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso have made major strides on the guitar and have some very good licks and solos throughout. Check out the verse riff from Upside Down Kingdom and the solo from The Plague for good examples. Josh Gilbert is your typical metal bassist and just fades into the music. Jordan Mancino once again destroys behind the kit. Overall the evolution shown by this band has this listener convinced that As I Lay Dying are never going to disappoint when they release new albums.
Lyrics — 10
Tim Lambesis has always written extremely intelligent lyrics. This album is absolutely no exception. Upside Down Kingdom has some of the better lyrics I've ever seen Tim compose and this album is chock full of excellent lyrical lines. Tim's vocals, as I mentioned above, are exceptionally beastly and he has a wide variety of harsh vocals as well as one or two spoken sections. Josh Gilbert's voice isn't great and he actually sounds a little bit like Brandon Saller on this album, which I'm NOT a fan of since Atreyu is such an inferior band to As I Lay Dying. One thing As I Lay Dying are known for is having Tim scream underneath Josh's clean vocals and vice versa. They're on fire with this technique and they don't appear to be letting up any time soon.
Overall Impression — 9
To compare this album to other artists within the same genre, there is absolutely no way that Adam D shouldn't have shit himself after producing this album. I think we all know how sub-par Killswitch's last album was compared to this one. I hope he went home to his boys in KsE and let them know that they'll have to step their game up the next time around because metalcore fans know what Killswitch is capable of. As for a song by song review, here it goes: 01. Beyond Our Suffering: I just don't like this song. It's easily the weakest track on the album and feels like filler more than anything. 5/10 02. Anodyne Sea: perhaps the best song on the album and the only reason that Beyond Our Suffering didn't knock The Powerless Rise down a few notches. Excellent breakdown around 3 minutes as well as Tim's usual very good lyrics. 10/10 03. Without Conclusion: very solid third track to make a good transition between Anodyne Sea and Parallels. 8/10 04. Parallels: another very solid song to tack on to As I Lay Dying's already startling career. The best clean vocals on the entire album. 10/10 05. The Plague: this is perhaps the heaviest track on this album. It has an excellent solo and is an excellent example of pure brutality. 8/10 06. Anger and Apathy: probably this album's version of "I Never Wanted" though this is quite a bit heavier. Catchy chorus and impressive guitarwork. Solid song. 8/10 07. Condemned: VERY catchy track that's rather heavy. Another solid song. 7/10 08. Upside Down Kingdom: fourth best song on the album. Very catchy with excellent lyrics. Also the track that has the lyrical line that explains how one must read the album title. 10/10 09. Vacancy: another very heavy track that doesn't sacrifice any catchiness. Great hooks and Tim's usual excellent lyrics. 9/10 10: The Only Constant is Change: another of my favorites. Very catchy (and correct) lyrical themes with excellent work from Hipa, Sgrosso, Gilbert and Mancino. 10/10 11. The Blinding of False Light: I really dig the intro to this song and it's overall feeling. It may not be the best track on the album but it's a much better closer after a very disappointing album opener. 9/10 Overall, The Powerless Rise is a very solid album with only one song that lets the listener down. Though I might be the only person who feels so about Beyond Our Suffering, I believe my points are valid. Once again As I Lay Dying have stunned their loyal fans. I can't wait to see these guys perform these songs live.