Because I absolutely loved An Ocean Between Us, it’s been hard for me to review The Powerless Rise. I think I’m coming to realize that with the excepting of An Ocean Between Us, I’m not really a big As I Lay Dying fan.
And I guess where I start this review is by saying heavier isn’t always better. It’s not like AILD was going to write a pop record and it’s not like anything before The Powerless Rise wasn’t heavy, but it seems that in an attempt to create a heavier record, the whole concept of a record as a whole was overlooked. It’s not that The Powerless Rise is a bad record, infact I’m sure AILD fans will love it, but it just isn’t as great as An Ocean Between Us.
The first three songs, Beyond Our Suffering, Anodyne Sea, and Without Conclusion, are fast and heavy. It’s a statement of what to expect. This album is fast and it’s heavy. Your normal screamed verse, sung chorus that has become the As I Lay Dying standard isn’t a present theme on these first 3 tracks, which is refreshing to see the band break from their mold. Plus the solos are nice and solid, some of the best I’ve heard from As I Laying Dying ever. But they don’t grab me the same way An Ocean Between Us grabbed me.
Parallels brought my interest back into this record. The songs does sound like that AILD I’m used to but it’s still continuing that whole faster, heavier sound. Parallels is a damn fine song.
But then things go back to the way the record started with The Plague. From there The Powerless Rise moves to form. The songs either carry the heavy and fast trend or they sound like your generic metalcore songs. And it’s disappointing to me. An Ocean Between Us had a lot of melody and a lot of skilled song writing. There aren’t songs like The Forsaken or Never Wanted on The Powerless Rise. It seems that AILD is showing more of their Living Sacrifice influence and love on this record. It’s not a step back, it’s just a step sideways. For fans looking for a heavier and faster As I Lay Dying, you get it. For fans hoping to see a continuation of An Ocean Between Us… this record isn’t that.