Maturity for a metal band can sometimes be written off as the kiss of death – the overture of a less aggressive stance. There is an ocean between the assumption and the resulting execution of intensity As I Lay Dying bring on their latest offering on Metal Blade Records.
The album is essentially devoid of the at-times cheesy, harmonized post-Swedish riffs of past offerings. Rather they are traded in for a more focused, layered approach to the guitar work, focusing on textures as much as riffage with production that emphasizes the depth of the guitars and not just the crunch.
Vocally, the record also enjoys greater diversity through these changes, providing a more inspired approach to melding the throaty screams with more intricate melodies. The addition of bassist Josh Gilbert’s voice emphasizes the variation and brings a more convincing execution in the layers of clean passages.
An Ocean Between Us oscillates between thrash-laden blasts and mid-tempo thumpers, portraying the undertone of the lyrics in a visceral way. In a short 43 minutes, As I Lay Dying present themselves as an unrelenting force, pushing the metalcore scene further from its stomp-it-out roots.