As I Lay Dying - Awakened (Metal Blade/Riot)

After twelve years, As I Lay Dying are still flying the metalcore flag; is it really still worth it?

Six albums in, Awakened shows absolutely nothing new from As I Lay Dying. Nor does it need to, for in all honesty this is about as perfect as a metalcore album can be.


Opener Cauterize is alarmingly death metal, with blast beats galore and Tim Lambesis' scream kick starting proceedings before the inevitable clean vocal that harks back to Trivium's seminal Pull Harder on the Strings of your Martyr. The important thing is, it's an exciting opening track; it makes you want to listen on and see what else these genre poster boys have got up their sleeve.


The answer is more of the same. Throughout Awakened you can hear similarities to Atreyu's Ex's and Oh's, Throwdown's This Continuum, Amon Amaarth's Cry of the Blackbirds, and a dozen other high quality metal numbers from the last decade. But somehow, as tempting as it is to brand AILD as lazy, it's put together so incredibly well that it's impossible not to enjoy. Plus, Lambesis has written some excellent lyrics which, although a bit emo in places (pause to allow Deicide fans to vomit) do add another engaging level to the album.


Final track Tear Out My Eyes has a punkier sound that is inevitably the work of producer Bill Stevenson who, whilst being the drummer in The Descendents, has also worked with Rise Against, NOFX and Anti Flag. However, if truth be told, unless you are a dyed in the wool metalcore fan, you ain't gonna love this album. But if music structured with harsh vocals, clean vocals, beat downs and widdling guitar turns you on, Awakened will give you a monumental metal boner.


Awakened is out today on Metal Blade