CONDEMNED (Part 1)
It's hard to believe that a veteran metal band like San Diego's As I Lay Dying could be just hitting their stride now, some 10 years and five full-lengths into an already stellar career. Still, even after just one listen to the quintet's latest, The Powerless Rise, you can't ignore the obvious: One of modern metal's best just got better.
Similar to their approach on 2007's Grammy-nominated An Ocean Between Us, the band chose to employ the production prowess of Adam D. and record a majority of the album at singer Tim Lambesis' own private studio. The end result is The Powerless Rise; the first true collaborative effort between the current AILD lineup.
For this current round of lyrics, Lambesis gravitated toward a concept centrally represented in the song "Upside Down Kingdom," which posits that the suffering of the world stems from the broken, upside-down nature of society. In addition to providing the line that became the album's title, the song lays out the guiding premise behind many of The Powerless Rise's ideological excursions--the notion that if we do the opposite of what the modern world tells us, many of the problems this current world causes will no longer exist. Lambesis stresses that rather than fill an album with bitter ranting, he's attempting to offer a solution with Powerless.
"There are so many things in society that we view as valuable, and each song's lyrics sort of put that idea upside down in some way or another, and show an almost completely backward way of thinking, that might actually be more beneficial for us. The first song, 'Beyond Our Suffering' is about how if we constantly focus on our own problems and try to help ourselves, then we dig ourselves deeper into a rut. But if we focus on helping somebody else, it's like our problems magically solve themselves."
Powerless is the much-anticipated follow-up to 2007's Grammy-nominated An Ocean Between Us and the band's RIAA certified platinum DVD This Is Who We Are. In addition to enjoying more than one million in total career sales in the U.S. alone, in recent years As I Lay Dying have toured extensively throughout the world, including headlining runs on Warped Tour, Sounds of the Underground, Bamboozle, Ozzfest and Taste of Chaos. They've shared stages with the likes of Iron Maiden,, Heaven and Hell, Slipknot, Deftones, Shadows Fall, Hatebreed, Unearth, Mastodon, Black Sabbath, Killswitch Engage, In Flames, and Lamb of God (to name a few). These accomplishments have undoubtedly earned the band a prominent place among metal's elite, yet even with such lofty milestones behind them, AILD's journey continues.