Today, we find ourselves thrown into a bi-coastal metalcore matchup, with San Diego's As I Lay Dying going mano-a-mano with Springfield Mass's All That Remains. And as is the case with almost all metalcore bands, we quickly find ourselves reduced to using silly acronyms in an ill-fated attempt at clarity.
ATR's latest album, "For We Are Many," starts out with a satisfying breakdown (breakup?), and then gets into its own groove, cartwheeling through generally chugtastic tunes that are tempered by moments of emo moments. Along the way, the album evokes a few not-entirely-welcome memories of Alice In Chains and Queensrÿche, but also redeems itself with standout tracks like "Dead Wrong" and "Keepers Of Fellow Man". All in all, a solid, cohesive, and expansive record. Nicely done.
In response, AILD's latest album "The Powerless Rise" mines similar ground, but manages to stick more to its NWOAHM roots. As a result, it spends most of its time working at you like a jackhammer. It doesn't offer as much in the hooky ear worm department, compared "For We Are Many"; the mid-album song "Anger and Apathy" is just about the sole exception to this rule, and the very next track offsets that weakness pretty damn quick.
But these criticisms just don't matter so much, in light of the fact that "The Powerless Rise" is a dreadnaught of an album. It's not that ATR offered something weaker; it's just that AILD outgunned them, and so they win by sheer muscle power. That's a good thing; they're gonna need that swagger in three weeks when they go up against The Acacia Strain in the first Round Of 16 match.
Tomorrow: Atheist takes on Avenged Sevenfold. Ho boy.