As I Lay Dying - _An Ocean Between Us_
(Metal Blade, 2007)
by: Jackie Smit (6 out of 10)
Let's make one thing very clear: As I Lay Dying are not, nor have they ever been, a bad band. They may be unfairly lumped in with a host of lesser, and often mainstream-baiting acts, but this San Diego quintet have always been earnest and have always thrown down like they mean it. Their downfall is a problem that isn't the least bit uncommon, either. In fact, I'd easily wager that the same criticism can be levelled at seven out of every ten names in modern metal today. But that's an argument all on its own.

What hurts As I Lay Dying here is, quite bluntly, a lack of memorable riffs. On the surface the impact is savage, at times even compelling. Tim Lambesis has a snarl to rival an ornery Rottweiler, and there are several bands who could only dream of the sort of rhythm section that powers the ├╝ber-tight groove on tracks like "Nothing Left" and "Forsaken". Yet for all the obvious sincerity and effort behind the twelve tracks that make up _An Ocean Between Us_, precious little sticks in the memory when all's said and done. The delivery may be ferocious, and brutality virtually omnipresent, but if you manage to remember three tracks after a run through the record, you'd be well advised to send off your MENSA application straight away.


(article published 26/9/2007)

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