Released By Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: September 20th,2019
Genre: Metalcore, Heavy Metal
Tim Lambesis – Vocals
Jordan Mancino – Drums
Phil Sgrosso – Guitars, Keyboards
Nick Hipa – Guitars
Josh Gilbert – Bass, Vocals
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 Are Fallen
12. The Toll It Takes
Metalcore giants As I Lay Dying were forced into an indefinite hiatus after frontman Tim Lambesis was arrested back into 2013, but this year Nuclear Blast Records presents their return in studio discography with “Shaped By Fire”. This is the band’s attempt to rise from the ashes after the latest release “Awakened” and it’s pretty clear from the titles and the lyrics of the new songs that the search for forgiveness and redemption is the main concept of their new record.
After a short industrial introduction with “Burn To Emerge”, “Blinded” gives a passionate start off to the record, with punchy drumming, a very good guitar work, the energetic screams of Tim Lambesis and the emotional singing of Josh Gilbert. The same songwriting structure is followed in songs like the title track, “My Own Grave” and “Redefined”, with some massive chorus that gives major explosion to the album.
“Undertow” creates a different atmosphere with a bluesy soloing and exchange of emotional soft moments with darker ones. The melodic death influence of the band is more evident in “Take What’s Left”, while “The Wreckage” gives a more classic metalcore sound with some twists between energy and soft melodic moments. “Torn Between” and “Only After We Are Fallen” stand out as two of the best moments of the record, while “The Toll It Takes” gives another classic As I Lay Dying tune as the closing act of this new release.
“Gatekeeper” could be considered the absolute highlight of “Shaped By Fire”, since it gives a combination of thrashy guitar riffs with an insane solo. This track comes out of nowhere as a big surprise and it seems to be experimentation, an expansion of the metalcore sound, a death/thrash assault with chaotic solo work.
The metalcore kings have created this new offering full of aggressive brutality, emotional compositions, and lyrics about meditation. The band has given their best songwriting samples ever together with flawless execution, while the artwork is the first one not to feature their classic skull logo.
Overall, “Shaped By Fire” is a solid record with a very good production, where there are no standing out tracks, because all of them are equally impressive, maybe not in a technical way, but as far as the energy they provide to the listener is concerned. Even if the San Diego quintet has concentrated the lyricism into the same theme of reflection and self-growing, the tendency of repeating themselves could be annoying or tiring for a part of the audience, there is a remarkable effort of the band into meaning what they are saying. There are also some elements that show an attempt of variation of their classical metalcore sound, giving an impression of a more melodic death and thrash/death style record at some tracks, but for sure this is one of the most passionate offerings of the band to their audience and a very strong comeback to the music industry.
Written by: Katerina Paisoglou
My Global Mind – Staff Writer