Previously Published on Yell!
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…And onto the bad. The biggest complaint hardcore fans of As I Lay Dying are going to have will have something to do with Josh Gilbert’s (bass) clean vocals. If you don’t hear some emo-style Sum 41 in his nasally delivery, then, well, you are deaf, my friend. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that this influence has something to do with Bill Stevenson.
OK, so just the sound of the emo vocals is a turnoff, but how extensive is the punk influence? Well, when it’s just Josh singing it sounds like melodic metalcore, when Tim is doing some of his screaming it can sound like metalcore, and I guess some of the riffs could pass for punk. But, overall, I think the punk influence is minimal and Awakened is a pretty dyed-in-the-wool As I Lay Dying album.
As I Lay Dying fans may also notice a slight shift in lyrical perspective. Tim Lambesis has said that:
“On this record, I wasn’t purposefully trying to be negative, but I think sometimes we have to be honest with some of the darker and more difficult times of our lives to get back to that positivity. While the lyrics do perhaps seem like a dark window into my soul, they’re written that way specifically because I want to move on and transcend those difficult moments in life.”
With the exception of “A Greater Foundation,” the best songs on Awakened are the ones with the least amount of vocals by Josh. That is, unless they are done with overlapping tracks and done in a chant-like manner. However, “A Greater Foundation” is the best song on the album, as it comes with great riffs, awesome power, and great melodies.
Obviously, the opener, “Cauterize,” is an intense track and hits hard. It’s the type of track that will have the pit moving like a tornado.
Other tracks to check out include: “Overcome,” “Defender,” and “Tear Out My Eyes.” Keep in mind that the clean vocals are always a turn off, these are songs that are solid in terms of the music.
The clean vocals on more recent albums, such as those on “Anodyne Sea” from The Powerless Rise, sounded more like a respectable Trivium influence. Unfortunately, the Sum 41-like clean vocals on Awakened sound much too emo for my taste and kills the album. Awakened may be an album that requires a few turns before it sticks. Honestly, though, there’s not much replay value on this album, which weighs heavily on my final rating.
Rock Hard \m/
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