Metal Masters – As I Lay Dying

For the uninitiated, classifications that constitute the realm of hard music can be just as intimidating as a thunderous roll across the toms, bump of a double kick pedal or screaming squalls of an intense lead singer. Surely, enthusiasts can tell between sludge metal, pop metal, speed metal, hardcore, progressive metal, melodic hardcore, black metal and their various derivatives much like a trained ornithologist can tell you what makes a Sharp-shinned hawk and Cooper’s hawk different.


Who: As I Lay Dying with Winds of Plague, After the Burial and Light the Shadow

Where: The Blue Note, 17 N. Ninth Street

When: Wednesday, doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets: $18 advance, $20 day of show

Web site:

San Diego outfit As I Lay Dying have been called “metalcore,” “metal-hardcore crossover,” “grindcore,” “speed metal” and “heavy metal.” Whatever the veteran band is dubbed, there’s no equivocating about what to call their music: These are hard and heavy sounds being produced by some of the best in the business.

Forged as a trio in 2001, the band has morphed and mutated through lineup changes — and five LPs — into its current state as a quintet. Prominent in the metal movement, As I Lay Dying has toured with heavy hitters such as Cannibal Corpse, Gwar, Haste the Day, Killswitch Engage, August Burns Red and Lamb of God and played such high-profile gigs as Ozzfest and Warped Tour stops. They also have received accolades from the industry — earning a Grammy nod in 2008 for the intense “Nothing Left” — and adoration from fans, charting in the Billboard Top 10 with 2007’s “An Ocean Between Us.”

Last year’s “The Powerless Rise” is a stellar set, full of ferocious percussion, rapid-fire guitars and an ultimately powerhouse mixture of guttural growls and melodic refrains. As I Lay Dying appeals to fans across a spectrum of heavier genres, marrying foreboding guitar chords from dual axemen Phil Sgrosso and Nick Hipa with the occasional arena-ready shredding that marked melodic metal of decades past.

This record is the first to benefit from the creative contributions of bassist and vocalist Josh Gilbert, who played on the band’s previous disc but wasn’t part of the writing process. Esteemed rock critic Thom Jurek wrote that this time out, “it’s not that that they’ve changed their formula so much as honed it to something so sharp it bleeds excellence.” Metal by any other name might mean something different to fans, but whatever you call As I Lay Dying, what they’re doing is definitely working, bending genres, bleeding excellence and bringing the thunder.

By Aarik Danielsen Columbia Daily Tribune

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