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Another triumphant comeback track from well-mature metalcore elders - 80%

grimwinter13, April 11th, 2019

*FIRST AND FOREMOST*: This review will be focus specifically on the song itself, and will not discuss in any way the controversy over Tim Lambesis.

Hearing AILD come back is a bit bittersweet. Considering the band's situation, one could expect any new output to go two ways: either this band simply has lost all creative energy and a comeback seems hopeless, or they've pulled themselves together to pour all of their energy into their strongest material yet. And going off of a mere two singles since last year, it would seem that the second outcome is definitely in question for As I Lay Dying. The first thing I noticed about the previous single, "My Own Grave", was just how emotionally powerful and cathartic it sounded. It was the sound of a band that's not just coming back, they're coming back swinging. My expectations for new material has just skyrocketed since they released what is hopefully the second single from an upcoming full length, "Redefined".

So what's going on in the song that points to some of the best metalcore heard since 2005? Well, it's that this is truly a more metal-ended song than core. AILD are taking on an almost 'post-melodeath' approach to their songwriting, and so you're getting something musically a bit more serious, and lyrically a hell of a ton more mature. Predicting that the band will go full-on melodeath on a full-length possibly is, to say, a bit of a jumping the gun on my part, but there's something about the way "Redefined" is handled that just shows so much musical growth and focused riff-writing that I can't quite put my finger on, but here's my best attempt at a description: imagine you've got a well-aged 90s hardcore band playing covers off of Dark Tranquility's Character but tailored to fit their own personality, and slap some very honest, self-aware lyrics about inner guilt and struggle. This is the sound that As I Lay Dying is going for these days, and oh is it glorious.

From a composition point-of-view, there are riffs that pull no punches - verses with tasty melodeath riffs swirl-mixed with a generous helping of contemporary breakdowns that build up as much momentum as possible before the entire thing explodes into a massive, defined chorus that layers clean and screamed vocals. The choruses, much like in "My Own Grave", have a very thick coating of atmosphere to give the catchy melody a whole new level of depth production-wise that might remind one of "Forsaken" (from An Ocean Between Us, 2007). While this very intricately designed chorus stands extraordinarily well on its own, the real treat here is still the speed-focused riffs in the verses in the vein of An Ocean Between Us's title-track or (oddly enough) some of AILD's mid-late 2000s disciples like The Devil Wears Prada and Miss May I.

So, I say to everyone still onboard with As I Lay Dying: the new album is probably going to be one of their best yet, if not one that completely topples all their past material - which of course, is something that a band like AILD would have a hard time doing. The closest early release I can think of that really sounds like this new and improved AILD metalcore would be the aforementioned An Ocean Between Us, but like a much heavier, more grown-up reimagining of that album.