As I Lay Dying - An Ocean Between Us (Cover Artwork)

As I Lay Dying

An Ocean Between Us (2007)

Metal Blade

As I Lay Dying's previous album, Shadows Are Security was a solid metalcore album that received more flack than it deserved. While the lack of originality was apparent, it was still better then a majority of the albums on the market. The songs on the album managed to be heavy while still occasionally catchy and some of the musicianship was notable. So after continually rising up the metalcore charts, As I Lay Dying wrote An Ocean Between Us, which has easily gained an immense amount of hype.

And unfortunately for As I Lay Dying, they just don't deliver. An Ocean Between Us isn't atrocious, it just goes nowhere and does nothing whatsoever. On the band's third full-length for Metal Blade, the band is still playing songs nearly identical to their previous albums, albeit with a slight influence in thrash now apparent on a few of the songs. I guess the biggest flaw found here is that the album feels like the B-sides of their two last albums. Just about every song here seems to lack what made older As I Lay Dying enjoyable. The singing parts feel tacked on and aren't even remotely catchy, the musicianship is nothing we haven't heard before, and the song writing is simply uninteresting and tedious.

"An Ocean Between Us" is a perfect example of the album, as they find themselves trying to write an all-out heavy song before including an unnecessary chorus with clean vocals that are entirely out of place. Mix that with the bland breakdowns and riffs that you've probably heard on a handful of metal albums released in just the last few months and it becomes apparent why As I Lay Dying seem to be losing their luster. Occasionally, the band tries to switch things up, like with the mainly melodic "I Never Wanted" and the instrumental "Departed," but it still doesn't save the album from being a completely unoriginal piece of work, void of any creativity whatsoever.

As I Lay Dying never earned any rewards for their originality or creativity, but they managed to write enjoyable songs. However, maybe using the exact formula on their songs for so long has started to take its toll, because An Ocean Between Us feels too played out and lacking what made their previous albums so enjoyable. I guess you can label this as a disappointment.