Album Review :
As I Lay Dying - The Powerless Rise

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Band: As I Lay Dying
Title: The Powerless Rise
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: May 11, 2010
Review By: Steve
Track Listing:

  1. Beyond Our Suffering
  2. Anodyne Sea
  3. Without Conclusion
  4. Parallels
  5. The Plague
  6. Anger And Apathy
  7. Condemned
  8. Upside Down Kingdom
  9. Vacancy
  10. The Only Constant Is Change
  11. The Blinding Of False Light

Oh, my goodness is all I can say about The Powerless Rise!  Can you say “Flawless”?  Can you say this almost makes An Ocean Between Us seem amateur?  Well maybe the last one is a bit of a stretch.  Tim and company were not just goofing off the three years between albums.  Tim’s side project, Austrian Death Machine, was a good appetizer for this album although it did rather seem like an eternity in between albums.  I read an interview with As I Lay Dying and they said something to the effect of they were blessed enough to be able to make enough money that they did not have to rush an album so that they could hit the road to try and support themselves.  This gave them extra time to really put forth the best album possible.  That is exactly what they did.

Where do you even start with this album?  The music is extremely technical and the songs are structured extremely well.  There does not seem to be a note, chord, riff, or breakdown that is out of place.  Every instrument is in the perfect place at the perfect time and woven together as masterfully as possible.  This album has a dump truck full of double bass pedal (A good friend of mine has always used that analogy for metalcore).  I like a lot of metalcore (obviously) but you have to admit that this is one of the most oversaturated genres on the harder side of the music industry.  However, As I Lay Dying is by far the band that is at the top of the food chain in metalcore.  Often I have wondered what makes some of the upper echelon bands better than others.  Is it the vocals, production, mixing, technicality, brutality, structure, the list is endless?  Well I guess you can say it is a combination of all of them.  Some bands get one or two right but may lack in the other areas.  Not As I Lay Dying!  They hit on all cylinders all the time on every song.  They do not need to add filler tracks.  I am sure their b-sides are better than most bands best a-sides.

Vocally, Tim has a little extra “umph” behind his vocals on this album.  They seem to be a little bit deeper and lower than on previous albums.  Do not worry the clean vocals are still there and are quite impressive.  The Powerless Rise appears to have brought out a little extra something out of Tim.  It almost seems like he is screaming directly at me as I listen to this album.  As usual with the lyrics, there is no mention of Christ but their lyrics do have a core Christian principal of not holding on to the things of this world but instead striving for that which is eternal.

It is hard to imagine where metalcore would be without As I Lay Dying.  These titans continue to set the bar so high that I cannot image any band coming close to them anytime soon.  I always wonder how are they going to continue to out do themselves.  I never thought they could top An Ocean Between Us but this is exactly what they have done.  This album is so good that I love every song; however, “Anodyne Sea” may be my favorite if you had to pin me down due to its sheer brutality.  Each track is amazing.  I knew this was going to be a good album but I am completely blown away with how awesome this album is.  This may sound a like a “fan-boy” review but I promise you that it is not.

Overall: This album is about as good as it gets, hands down. The Powerless Rise is in a league of its own.  As I Lay Dying continues to be the trendsetter in the metalcore genre and not the copycat.  As I Lay Dying has honed their craft so well in their three-year hiatus that they have almost become untouchable to their peers.  If you love metalcore then you need to go out and buy this album and listen to it until your ears bleed it is that good.