Album Review :
As I Lay Dying - Decas

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Band: As I Lay Dying (Facebook)

Album: Decas

Label: Metal Blade

Release Date: November 8, 2011

Reviewer: Brody

Tracklisting:

  1. Paralyzed
  2. From Shapeless to Breakable
  3. Moving Forward
  4. War Ensemble (Slayer Cover)
  5. Hellion (Judas Priest Cover)
  6. Electric Eye (Judas Priest Cover)
  7. Coffee Mug (Descendants Cover)
  8. Beneath the Encasing
  9. The Blinding of False Light (Innerpartysystem Remix)
  10. Wrath Upon Ourselves (Benjamin Weinman Remix)
  11. Confined (Kelly Cairns Remix)
  12. Elegy (Big Chocolate Remix)

Ten years is a long time for a band to stick around. In order for a band to have that sort of staying power, they must offer something that separates them from every other band in their genre. While As I Lay Dying has a sound comparable to quite a few of their counterparts, it is arguable that AILD actually pioneered the modern metal/hardcore wave and blazed a trail that would lead to many other bands we all love.

However, no matter how revolutionary a band is, without the support of fans the band can go nowhere. With “Decas”, As I Lay Dying show how much they appreciate their fans for their continued support by tearing our faces off with a hand full of new songs and a few classics from bands AILD looks up to. Also included are a few cool remixes done by friends of the band. Due to the fact that they are just kind of a fun thing and I know nothing about techno aside from Joy Electric, these remixes will not be counted in my final score.

The album starts off with Paralyzed, which in my opinion is the perfect way to start off the album. Right off the bat, the listener is thrown into the controlled chaos we have all come to know from As I Lay Dying. The beefy chugging, powerful drums, and the intricate lead guitar all lead up to Tim Lambesis’ opening howls, as powerful as ever. This is the same AILD we all have come to know and love.

Next up is From Shapeless to Breakable, a more thrash sounding side of AILD previously only shown in glimpses in other songs. After a mind bending solo that seems to be played in a unique key, the song slows down for Lembesis to creepily lament, “I can say a thousand more apologies, but the truth that I have truly changed…only time will tell”.

Moving Forward starts off on the melodic side with dulcet guitars and Josh Gilbert’s powerful, clean vocals. The track soon kicks into gear in standard AILD fashion only to soar back into strong melody during the chorus. I have always appreciated the melodic side of AILD slightly more than the heavy side and this song is a treat for me seeing as how the Gilbert’s voice is the stand out part of the song.

With the conclusion of brand new As I Lay Dying songs, the covers kick off with War Ensemble. It is always a risk to attempt to cover a legendary band. I can not count how many terrible covers I have heard of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.  Whether or not you like them, Slayer is a metal legend and has contributed greatly to how modern metal now sounds. While I’m not a fan of Slayer myself, AILD makes me wish I was with this cover. The main riff and the drum beats make my head spin with the relentless technicality they provide. The guitar solo is also sure to be any air guitar hero’s dream come true.

Hellion is a 40 second instrumental that coincidentally sounds like something you might hear AILD open their set with at a live show. Following the Judas Priest trend, Electric Eye is up next. Again, I hope none of you old school metal guys hate on me, because I know how influential the band was, but I typically can’t stand Judas Priest. As I Lay Dying’s cover however instantly had me bobbing my head with the swagger of the opening riffs. The thing that really stands out to me about this song is how Gilbert and Lambesis use their vocals to compliment and support each other so well. In a typical AILD song Lambesis’ vocals stay strictly in the verses while Gilbert handles the chorus. In Electric Eye both vocalists not only venture outside of their normal vocal territories, but also they dabble in trade off vocals throughout.

I must admit I had never heard of The Descendants before, but after hearing As I Lay Dying cover the blazingly fast punk ode to the wonderful caffeinated nectar from heaven we all know as coffee, I will have to check this band out.

With all the good packed into this treat to the fans, there are a few qualms I ran into. I felt like there could have been more than just 3 bands covered in the covers section of the album. I think it would have been cool to get a wider spectrum of covers like perhaps an AC/DC or Metallica cover. Also I was a little confused as to why two of the covers clocked in at only 40 seconds.

In conclusion, the new As I Lay Dying songs are what you have come to expect. Top notch metal/hardcore music that has shown it can stand the test of time and grow a little with each release. That consistency carries over to the cover section of the album as well. The band managed to take songs from bands I didn’t like or had never heard of and got me to at least like a song by them or perhaps give the band another shot. Happy ten years As I Lay Dying, and here’s to many more. I applaud you for what you have done to the current state of music and look forward to future releases.