As I Lay Dying
Shaped By Fire

What the Fuck? Have I gone back in time to 2006-2008?

Unearth released a great album last year, Killswitch Engage released a great album earlier this year, and now As I Lay Dying have released a great album!!!!

I digress. But personally I have found the story arc of AILD frontman Tim Lambesis more interesting than AILD’s dull discography that followed 2003s watershed release, Frail Words Collapse, regarded by many as a land mark metalcore release. His storied rise in the metal scene (with AILD as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger parody act  Austrian Death Machine, and even foray in to death metal with Pyrithion) and subsequent imprisonment due to hiring a hit man to kill his wife,  with chapters of steroids, obsessive weight lifting,, man boobs, denying Christianity, being born again and redemption thrown in for good measure, is living Lifetime movie.

I digress again. A Google search can reveal the details of his story, but I’m not here to judge his actions or his time served etc, I’m here to talk about the band’s reunion with all the prior members , and an album that no one would have seen coming or predicted 6 years ago. Metalcore ( the kind AILD  and KSE ply) has pretty much died out, so it’s a brave move to bring Lambesis back considering the negative press, and release a metalcore album in 2019.

But here we are, and I’ll be damned if Shaped by Fire is pretty fucking good. No, really fucking good.

It’s immediately apparent from Lambesis’ opening lyrics of “Have you ever been blinded by the pain? Unwilling to see, senseless, So blinded by selfishness only focusing on myself, And ignoring anyone else?” in opener “Blinded” that this is clearly an album of catharsis and redemption for Lambesis. And that theme is rampant with song titles like “Wreckage”, “My Own Grave”, (“The lies, the weight, deceit, decay, The lies, the weight, It’s clear I lost my way,Deceit, decay, Decomposing”), “Redefined”, “Only After We’ve Fallen”, “The Toll it Takes”.

It’s also apparent the rest of the band has some pent up rage as well, as its released in some really heavy metalcore that’s both classic in its mid 00s delivery and modernized with a modern punishing production/master (the master is by Ted Jenson who has worked metal acts Behemoth, Fear Factory, Carnifex, Delain as well as Alice In Chains and Nora Jones). The songs are pure mid 00s metalcore with breakdowns and galloping melodies colliding with Lambesis’ vehement growl and Josh Gilbert’s clean croons.

I mean seriously, the likes of “Undertow”, “Gatekeeper”, “My Own Grave” and “Redefined” absolutely fucking rip, seeing AILD more aggressive than they have ever been, while the likes of “Blinded”, “Shaped By Fire”, “Torn Between”, ” Take Whats Left” and thunderous “Only After We’ve Fallen” deliver classic, urgent, thrashing metalcore melodies, ear worming choruses,  and breakdowns. I expected a ballad or two, especially considering the redemptive theme of the album, but only closer “The Toll It Takes”, even comes remotely close still being a stern mid paced bruiser.

I’m far from an AILD fanboy, and I personally think they were incredibly overrated even in the genre’s prime, but Shaped By Fire is an absolute  monster of an album that blew me away and one of the better redemption stories and reunions of the last couple of years.

Your move, Hamartia, Rifles at Recess and Prayer for Cleansing…

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
October 21st, 2019

Comments

  1. Commented by: RichF

    Not even a metalcore fan, but the song in the video sounds pretty damn good.


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