It seems these days that the boundary between metal and hardcore is becoming more and more blurry. There are still hardcore bands, like Sick of It All, and there are still metal bands, like Metallica. Both styles are unique in their own ways. Hardcore has louder vocals and usually a main singer with little back up. Metal is generally characterized by much more intricate music, with loud guitar riffs and strong vocals. However, it seems like recently a new genre of music has been created and growing in support and interest. This new genre has been called simply metalcore and, as you probably have guessed, is a blend between the two music styles. A couple of the best metalcore bands I can think of are Atreyu and Every Time I Die. Both bands show strong influences from both genres, and use them to create their own brand of music.
As I Lay Dying is another band that fits into the growing population of metalcore bands. However, As I Lay Dying is somewhat different in terms of style, having numerous different influences and sounds. They have often been described as being "heavy metal with death metal vocals and a few gothic elements." As I Lay Dying is a band that doesn't fit into one specific genre. Instead, they take influences from many and create their own unique type of music, similar to no other band.
Frail Words Collapse, the latest from the band, is one of my favorite CDs and one that I am proud to own. From the moment I placed it in my stereo I knew that this CD was something special, something to treasure. Not every band is able to put out a release of this magnitude.
In my opinion, the first three tracks on this CD are the three best. The CD begins with "94 Hours," which can be described simply as heavy metal. The song features all screamed vocals, along with some heavy guitar riffs and intricate rhythms. The song speeds up and slows down seamlessly, which can be seen most clearly near the end of the song. The excellent music is accompanied by lyrics that are just as good: "94 hours of regret for me to realize what I held / Unfading beauty, not just a face / I held its innocence within my heart, now I won't let go / The torment of your eyes has awakened my soul." The lyrics are extremely emotional for a song that is so heavy. Also, although the song is only three minutes long, it feels much longer. The ever-changing rhythms and speeds make the song sound like a few songs put together into one. The second track, "Falling Upon Deaf Ears," is very similar to the first. The music is heavy, the vocals loud, and the lyrics meaningful. The second track also includes one of the best guitar solos on the CD.
The third track is my favorite on the entire album. What first amazed me about the song was the lyrics:
"Forever your eyes will hold the memory I saw your heart as it overtook me We tried so hard to understand and reason But in that one moment I gave my heart away That perfect breath where my mind lay beside me And all I knew was what had overtaken me With no explanation I am comforted by inability to understand When I wake from this dream will you still be here Will your smile still open my heart And leave me transparent?"What makes this song so unique from the rest is that it actually incorporates singing, although in a backup role. For the majority of the song the music is really hard, with ripping guitar riffs and piercing screaming. However at the end of the chorus the line "I gave my heart away" is sung in a very soft, very melodic kind of way. The person who sings this sounds very similar to Francis Mark of From Autumn to Ashes. His voice creates a contrast between the singing and the screaming, and makes for one hell of a song. "Forever" also has a breakdown, common in metal music. All of a sudden the screaming and the guitar stops, and everything slows down. When it speeds back up we are greeted with screaming once again. The lead singer (screamer) has a very harsh sounding voice, which makes everything sound that much better.
For the remainder of the CD, the songs sound very similar to the first three, which is quite common in the metalcore genre. Although the music can get kind of repetitive, this is still a wicked cd that I strongly recommend checking out. One other standout song is called "Distance is Darkness" and, like "Forever," features some singing to go along with the screaming. Please note that there is very limited singing on this CD, so if you don't like screaming don't bother listening to it.