Sound — 6
First off, I am a huge fan of AILD and have been for many years. But this might be where the album falls short most noticeably. The production quality is top notch, as we've come to expect from As I Lay, the musicianship is as impressive and concise as ever, and the clean vocals feel much more natural and less forced than previous releases. That being said, in my humble opinion this album cannot hold a candle An Ocean Between Us. While the songs are a bit more melodic and complex, they lack the pure power and grit I'd always come to AILD for. Memorable riffs are few and far between, a stark contrast to the previous album, which was a headbanger's best friend and a workout playlist in and of itself. I understand that artists like to explore new sounds as their careers lengthen. But this just doesn't sound any different from other albums in the genre to me.
Lyrics — 8
It's a metal album... I can't lie for a second I rarely listen to this type of music for lyrics. If you do, I have a lot of respect for you, as I can rarely make out more than a few words here and there. I can tell you that the overall performance is impressive. Tim Lambesis seems to have honed his skills as a screamer even more, and the clean vocals feel much more thought out and less forced than they did on previous recordings. I'll go ahead and call this the strong point of the record.
Overall Impression — 5
It seems I'm the only one, as most reviews of this album praise it, but I was sorely disappointed when I took the time to listen to The Powerless Rise. Perhaps I was listening to the wrong AILD songs previously (My personal favorites are Elegy, Confined, And Ocean Between Us, Comfort Betrays, Within Destruction, Nothing Left, and Wrath Upon Ourselves) but I was anticipating potent melodic riffs, skilled musicianship, and the usual AILD package that separates them from their fellow mainstream metal acts. Surely, they're still great musicians. I love the band, they're still one of my favorites, and this is decent music. But to me, this album sounds like any other release. Which is the exact opposite of what I expected out of AILD. Perhaps there's something I'm missing. I'll continue playing the new album and hopefully learn to appreciate it. But for now I'm very disappointed.