Flames fuel rebirth. In the wake of the conflagration, future possibilities flourish out of the ashes. Reigniting a brotherhood dating back nearly two decades, As I Lay Dying rise together on their seventh full-length and debut for Nuclear Blast, the aptly titled Shaped By Fire. The San Diego quintet—Tim Lambesis [vocals], Jordan Mancino [drums], Phil Sgrosso [guitar], Nick Hipa [guitar], and Josh Gilbert [bass]—rally together and recharge the precise and pummeling metallic assault that transformed them into a turn-of-the-century heavy music phenomenon.
These eleven tracks mark their first body of work together since 2012 and represent the dawn of a bold new era.
For me, this is the most meaningful As I Lay Dying record, states Nick. Every album encapsulates who you are and what you’ve gone through. At this point in time, we’ve gone through more than I ever imagined, but we all grew. I’m so proud of my bandmates and what we’ve done. We became better musicians and better people. People will hear a positive resolve to our journey so far.
With everything that’s happened and all of the time away, there really was no other option than to be the best version of As I Lay Dying we could possibly be, Tim declares. We wanted to make sure we made an album that represented our best selves. Individually and collectively, a similar rebirth happened.
Back with a bang, Burn to Emerge is the intro to a reborn band. One with a lot to say… a lot of demons to bury and a lot of past to put behind them. The pit opens up wide for the raging fury of Blinded offset by clean vocal lines and brief but intense guitar hooks.
It’s a solid start that lays the groundwork. Something for As I Lay Dying to build on with the title track, an even more intense slab of death/metalcore. Lambesis’ delivering his vocals with unparalleled passion and fury. While Undertow is more of the same, just balls out heaviness.
All before Torn Between grabs the baton and runs away with it thanks to a really inspired slab of heaviness. A little more thoughtful, a little more impactful and a lot more memorable. The same can be said for The Wreckage with its good melody and a chorus that proves to be particularly strong.
Shaped By Fire does feel personal and that’s no easy thing to get across especially when it comes to metalcore. It’s admirable and while it doesn’t always result in hugely memorable tracks, the majority of this album rages…and rages hard.
The breakdown at the end of My Own Grave, the eye-watering speed and groove of Redefined and the big metalcore finale of The Toll it Takes is inspiring. A fine finish to a fine album.
If you weren’t a fan of As I Lay Dying before, this might change your mind. Or it might not but no matter what, it is a hefty release and a welcome return.
As I Lay Dying – Shaped By Fire Full Track Listing:
1. Burn to Emerge
3. Shaped By Fire
5. Torn Between
7. The Wreckage
8. My Own Grave
9. Take What’s Left
11. Only After We Have Fallen
12. The Toll It Takes
As I Lay Dying Links
As I Lay Dying - Shaped By Fire (Nuclear Blast)
The Final Score - 8/10