As I Lay Dying: Awakened

Metalcore big guns bring their A game

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Though vicious, Awakened is also proudly melodic and wastes no time bursting into the captivating chorus of Cauterize. Unforgiving, driven, and awash with blastbeats, groove and swirling fretwork, this crashing opener leaves no doubt that AILD have seriously upped their game.

A Greater Foundation is just as sticky, with rough shouts chasing cleaner, uplifting vocals and, throughout the album, the band explore richer guitarwork and soundscapes to create better crafted, more intoxicating songs than ever. The irate vocal displays from Tim Lambesis are immaculate too, and his throat practically tears open during Slayer-inspired Wasted Words. Comparatively, Whispering Silence seems weak but it’s a minor hiccup on an otherwise impressive album, and the heady combination of dynamic songwriting and gripping euphoria should have Killswitch fans hooked within minutes.

Taking a break from Adam Dutkiewicz, it is Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson who takes on production duties this time. Normally associated with punk, Stevenson does a great job of highlighting the contrasting emotions within songs, adding to the intensity and creating an album fans can immerse themselves in.