As I Lay Dying – Decas – Review

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Accomplished metalcore pioneers, As I Lay Dying have been tirelessly tilling the American metal fields for little over a decade now, and in the wake of releasing such classics as “Frail Words Collapse,” “Shadows Are Security,” and 2010′s “The Powerless Rise,” the group has decided to released a hodge-podge of “new” material to coincide with their 10 year anniversary and their up-coming “A Decade of Destruction” tour. The effort, “Decas,” features three newly recorded tracks, four covers, and a bunch of remixes — which thankfully isn’t a re-issue or re-release (which most labels attempt to jam down people’s throats) and is instead more equated to an appreciated stop-gap in between long-awaited full-lengths.

As I Lay Dying wastes no time (thankfully) beginning the effort with the band’s three new tracks, featuring  the seismically entrenching and melodically centered, “Paralyzed” and the Killswitch Engage-esque harmonized metalcore of “Moving Forward.” The newly recorded songs haven’t lost any of their edge, even with most of the attention focused on carefully crafted fretwork rather than cliched machine-like breakdowns. The band’s covers of legendary songs and artists such as Slayer‘s “War Ensemble,” two off singles of Judas Preist, and the delightful punk to metal transformation of Descendent‘s hit-and-run track “Coffee Mug” continue the forward motion of “Decas” where similar efforts would have fallen flat on their face, and would have lazily covered Metallica or a one-off Pantera single.

Where As I Lay Dying take a turn for the weird is with the introduction of re-recorded and remixed songs that finish off the other half of the record. Tim Lambesis being the most anal-retentive metal bro must have hated the bands first rendition of “Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes” because “Decas” sports a fully re-recorded and re-worked version of it, sans “The Watcher” sound byte. You really do notice that Tim’s voice really have come a long way, for the better of course; growing from a puddle of gurgling vocal sludge in their debut 2001 effort, to the multifaceted growl, shout, scream machine of today. The rest of the tracks are enjoyable electronica/dubstep alterations of previous material, morphing Tim’s vocals and Nick’s lead guitars into an almost unrecognizable digital foray. Interpartysystem’s catchy dubstep remix of “The Blinding Of False Light” feels spot-on, while Benjamin Weinman‘s take on “Wrath Upon Ourselves” feels to much like an altered cluster-fuck to work right. If the vocal-to-beat alteration skills of  Skrillex couldn’t be added to “Decas” the next best thing was to get Big Chocolate to phase AILD’s aged track Elegy, into a dubstep oblivion, which he does with relative ease.

As some might have already figured out, most of the latter part of “Decas” won’t appeal to die-hard fans. Many listeners of metal are often ignorant of other genres, leaving for an alienation for some who just want their melodic metalcore and nothing else. I however love the experimentation and slight retread that comes with making a hodge-podge record like AILD have done. There’s not only addictive new material, there’s fast-paced cover songs that sound like early-era Lamb Of God, and the garnished cherry of loaded electronica to dance to. Now if we could only get another Austrian Death Machine album. ::hint hint:: [Admin]

Score: 4 (out of 5)

Release Date: November 8th, 2011
Record Label: Metal Blade Records
Genre: Metalcore
RIYL: All That Remains, Trivium, Killswitch Engage, August Burns Red

Track Listing:
1. Paralyzed
2. From Shapeless to Breakable
3. Moving Forward
4. War Ensemble (originally by Slayer)
5. Hellion (originally by Judas Priest)
6. Electric Eye (originally by Judas Priest)
7. Coffee Mug (originally by Descendents)
8. Beneath the Encasing of Ashes (re-recorded medley)
9. The Blinding of False Light (Innerpartysystem remix)
10. Wrath Upon Ourselves (Ben Weinman remix)
11. Confined (Kelly “Carnage” Cairns remix)
12. Elegy (Big Chocolate remix)

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