The Powerless Rise
Release Date: May 11, 2010
Metal Blade Records
As I lay Dying has recently released their highly anticipated new album entitled The Powerless Rise after the longest wait between records the band has had since their start. They also released lots of information saying they have used more technology in the Tim Lambesis studios and spent more time on this album than any of their previous records. Also they have the added pressure of following their widely accepted previous album, An Ocean Between Us, so needless to say they had their work cut out for them to live of to the hype surrounding this album and boy did they deliver. The instruments remained solid as Jordan Mancino showed how he is one of the best drummers in the metal scene and the guitars really matured in this album as well. They really complement the music well and drive every song where it needs to go show more versatility than in their previous albums.
The strongest part of this album for me though was the vocals. Tim uses more growls and lower screams which adds variety to his vocals and is actually better for his throat live. Josh Gilbert, bassist and clean vocalist, improved significantly. He said he spent much longer on the vocals this time around compared to last record and it shows. His vocals really shine in this album and really mesh well instead of being forced into the songs. His improvement is most clear in the song Parallels which is sure to be a fan favorite along with the heaviest song on the album, Condemned.
Lyrically this album is also great. The title comes from the message of humility and community. Many times in our society it is taught that wealth and power are the most important things for success and how we sometimes revere those with wealth and pride but this albums talks about how there can be strength in simplicity and being humble and the rise of that way of thinking. This theme is most strongly represented by the song Upside Down Kingdom where the album is actually taken from. As I Lay Dying is a christian act that has christian themes in their songs but they are not a preachy band in any way. Tim is a master at taking positive christian messages and portraying them in a way that everyone can agree about no matter what their beliefs and that is really shown in this album.
Overall this is a very strong effort. It was able to live up to the mountain of hype surrounding it and will certainly silence a lot of the doubters about whether As I Lay Dying is for real or not.