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As I Lay Dying – Awakened

Metal Blade 2012
As I Lay Dying - Awakened

If ever there were a machine created to mass produce metalcore in 2012, As I Lay Dying‘s “Awakened” would serve as the mold. Encompassing nearly all aspects of the genre, this is a workman-like album that eschews innovation for refinement.

Tightly performed and admittedly overly processed, the group rip through eleven tracks that feature every metalcore hallmark you could imagine. Opener “Cauterize” sports the spoken word breakdown with bass drops; “A Greater Foundation” has the call and response scream/shout; “My Only Home” brings out the trusty gang vocals; while “Resilience” enlists some blackened wretching.

In essence, “Awakened” serves as the catalog for showroom metalcore. Numbingly clean and produced to perfection there is little here that doesn’t feel manufactured. Such is the case then that it is often a frustratingly formulaic experience. One so heavy on polish that you can barely appreciate the ingredients.

Sure the group flex their considerable muscle through the menacing verses. But all too often they indulge in the same trite, melodic choruses. This is a combination used so repetitiously that seasoned listeners will soon find themselves correctly telegraphing what comes next.

Thankfully the bands aggressive side isn’t as cookie cutter. “Wasted Words” for instance sports some interesting progression. But with an abundance of stale melodies that are almost always in the same key, and a considerable dearth of visceral emotion, it’s a rather lopsided package. There is little challenge to be found on “Awakened“—just predictable songwriting that is as inoffensive as it is labored.

If you weathered the metalcore explosion of the early 2000′s then you’ve experienced this entire album’s gameplan. It’s been honed to a razor sharp tip, but there’s barely enough force left behind it to break the skin.

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COMMENTS

29
    • avatar

    • I’m a little biased when it comes to AILD. They’ve never done me wrong before. I literally just got a copy of this album 5 minutes ago. I’ll have to give it a listen first before I can judge it but from what I’ve heard over the past few weeks I’m sure Wooks review is spot on. Hopefully it’s better than expected.

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    • I’m going to have to agree. I’ve loved all their albums before, but these songs aren’t doing anything for me. I’m starting to think that if you remove Adam D, AILD hasn’t progressed much as a band since Shadows Are Security. The song structures aren’t as tight, and seem way more predictable than before.

      Also disappointed by the lack of Bannon’s work on the cover. But let’s keep it focused on the music.

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    • Fred Fred Burger (Darkdevout)     September 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      What a shame, sickest album art I’ve ever seen, I love Cauterize but I wasn’t digging a greater foundation, hoping it’s not as bad as expected.

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        • Fred Fred Burger (Darkdevout)     September 17, 2012 at 6:32 pm

          The Album art was kind of a waste if this album isn’t that good, it was pretty silly of me but the album art boosted my expectations of it.

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        • I honestly don’t like the album art. It’s like a skull on a moth on a skull on swans on some rim thing. I mean, what the fuck? Bannon’s work on pretty much every album he’s ever drawn for surpasses this, IMO

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        • Let’s focus on the music here gentlemen. Haven’t u ever heard the phrase “Dont judge a book by its cover.” I’m really digging “Resilience” that guitar work is about as tight as it gets.

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      • sickest album art you’ve ever seen? bannon’s art is light years beyond this shit. it’s like someone went for a generic clipart rendition of Mastodon’s Crack the Skye

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    • My Farts Linger     September 17, 2012 at 7:02 pm

      Sounds decent. Certainly doesn’t sound like anything we haven’t already heard from AILD, though(and I refer to all of the “snippets” I’ve heard).

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    • SpinSwimScream     September 18, 2012 at 7:32 am

      Frail Words Collapse is by far my favorite album by these guys. Shadows was a pretty good follow-up. Everything after Shadows was nothing new for me, other than the addition of cheesy choruses being sung by their newer bass player, who cannot sing at all. They’re too predictable now, and they are trying way too hard. I couldn’t agree more with Wook saying “it is often a frustratingly formulaic experience.”

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    • smartassboiler     September 18, 2012 at 7:45 am

      I was expecting this exact type of review. The thing is I’ve enjoyed all of their albums, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one as well. As I Lay Dying and Unearth can keep chugging along with their style and I’ll eat it up. I’ve always liked both of them the best of the metalcore crowd.

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    • I’ve been following the band since their Frail Words Collapse days. Wook is spot on in this review. I was so stoked for this new album, they played a decent set at Mayhem this year so I pre-ordered all three vinyl colors and I was just as disappointed as I was when I bought An Ocean Between Us. The Powerless Rise was so f’ing good – I’m beginning to really dislike Josh Gilbert, he ruins just about every song on Awakening.

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    • veil your eyes     September 18, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      wook, you probably should not have even reviewed this album. and let me do you a favor, there will be no surprises on the next hatebreed cd either. whatever though, they still fucking slay live. this was a pointless review. this site is going down the shitter.

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    • I streamed it at work today, and it sounds just as you’d expect an AILD album to sound. Nothing new here, but if you enjoy AILD, you’ll enjoy this. If you don’t, there’s not anything here that may make you think otherwise.

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    • Agreed it’s nothing really new or groundbreaking, but I’ve always dug AILD. They’re a great live band, the drummers’ a machine, Frail Words Collapse and An Ocean Between Us are my favs. Haven’t been listening to much metalcore lately but def enjoying this. I’m digging the artwork as well.

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