As I Lay Dying
Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes

Did I read the name right? Maybe the manufacturing plant put the wrong screening on the CD when they pressed it, because Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes by As I Lay Dying resembles Zao in every aspect, even down to the band photo and signature vocal delivery.

Hailing from San Diego, California’s As I Lay Dying have the most morbid of obsessions with Zao then Zao have with themselves. Comprised of ex-Society’s Finest guitarist Tim Lambesis, As I Lay Dying definitely bring forth an abundance of musicality and instrumental expertise in every riff and drum stroke played, but in the category of originality, they fail miserably. Zao are an amazing band in and of themselves, creating some of the most original and devastating metal-laced hardcore to ever grace the soil of this earth. The fact that they preservere through mass scrutiny of their religious orientation, and still maintain their identity while continuing to make the most uncompromising hardcore to date gives them my never-ending respect.

As I Lay Dying is a totally different story though. The fact that As I Lay Dying play each note with as much musical tenacity and conviction as Zao gives them my full attention no matter how original or unoriginal they may be. As I Lay Dying’s vocalist Tim Lambesis, however, is a dead ringer for Zao’s second vocalist Daniel Weyandt, right down to each throat-tearing scream and low guttural bellow. However, As I Lay Dying do not stop there. Each song has riffs, arrangements and vocal patterns identical to that of Zao’s (from each of their three albums with the new line-up), and where I am from, that is called plagiarism. For As I Lay Dying to go and blatantly take the best moments of each song from every Zao album and construct an entire album around those elements makes me wonder how much more unique and amazing this record could have been if they would have emulated Zao’s sound and not imitated it.

Hands down, this is the best Zao-influenced band I have ever heard, and for anyone well versed in Zao’s music, there is definitely something here for your enjoyment, if not your scrutiny. Some of the best moments that As I Lay Dying takes from Zao are the signature Zao Guitar riffs in “Blood Turned To Tears” and ” Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes.” Not to mention the identical electronic drum kit sound that Zao coined from their most recent Self Titled album on the song “Surrounded” and the uncanny similarity that “When This World Fades” has to Zao’s “The Dreams That Don’t Come True.”

This may have been a harsh review, but that is what the members of As I Lay Dying need to hear! Once they realize their true musical potential, there is no telling how far they will go in the hardcore scene and musically speaking in general. If anything, this was a totally enjoyable listen, and every song had me guessing what Zao song As I Lay Dying were using as reference.

 If you enjoy Zao, and feel that they have strayed to far from their “Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest” sound, then As I Lay Dying should definitely be your next purchase. As for me, I will continue to listen to Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes simply because As I Lay Dying has one of the best sounds going for them, despite the fact that it is not their own.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Drew Juergens
June 12th, 2001


  1. Commented by: ingenting

    lol review.

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