Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Review: As I Lay Dying - Decas

 Featuring three new tracks, an array of impressive covers and a selection of remixes as an extra little treat for the group and their devoted followers to celebrate ten years of their prosperous metalcore career, Decas is a must-have for any As I Lay Dying fan, for those less devoted, there's also some good stuff to be found, but this album is made for the fans above anyone else.

The three new tracks on offer continue to show AILD's immense talent and unbreakable sense of passion for making thrash-infused metalcore, with an overwhelming heaviness, as sweeping hooks from Phil Sgrosso and classy guitar fingerwork from Nick Hipa, both of whom, deliver juddering breakdowns thick and fast in From Shapeless to Breakable, whilst Moving Forward sees the frequently changing vocal ideals between beautiful and brutal from frontman Tim Lambesis. While showing AILD's real talent for making this thrashcore sound with lyrics questioning faith and a display of more uplifting ideals, none of these new tracks are really mind-blowing in any way. i don't actually know if these tracks are brand new for this collection or just some tracks that never made it onto 2010's The Powerless Rise, but there's a good chance it may be the latter.
 More impressive is the array of skillful covers on Decas. AILD manage to make their covers of War Ensemble and Electric Eye sound original to themselves, while still carrying a spirit of Slayer and Judas Priest within them. Meanwhile their cover of Descendent's Coffee Mug is just so unexpected, with the notion of a metalcore band covering a song by a band who effectively laid out the path for pop punk to follow. However, the cover is a total frenzy of blistering riffage and fun. Anyway, those who have heard Austrian Death Machine will have heard Lambesis screaming much stranger things than "Coffee Mug!"
 Decas' remixes are pretty interesting. The Innerpartysystem remix of The Powerless Rises' The Blinding of False Light transforms the slow emotion draining metalcore into something much funkier. And then it breaks into Dubstep. And listeners crap their pants in amazement. Similarly, the beautiful and oozing-with-passion Wrath Upon Ourselves from 2007's An Ocean Between Us is turned weird by The Dillinger Escape Plan's Ben Weinman, who's use of extra (loud) synthesizers and keyboards and decision to make Lambesis' vocals much quitter and static sounding turns it into... well I really can't tell. With that in mind, it's probably best not to get started on the gargled electronic mess that is the Big Chocolate remix of Elegy.
 Overall, as Decas is aimed largely at fans to celebrate ten years of As I Lay Dying, there's a lot on offer that will satisfy them. The new tracks sound great and are pretty much definitive of AILD, and the covers are awesome as well. If you enjoy this definitive sound of the group, then the remixes may not be for you, as they take away a lot of the characteristics and passion of the songs, but in return, present the song in interesting formats, including dubstep, the only form of dance music I can get behind. However, this album is meant as a means of celebration and there's clearly a lot of fun being had from the band, so there's nothing really bad that can come from this.

 As I Lay Dying's Decas is out now via Metal Blade.

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