Celebrating ten years as a band, San Diego’s As I Lay Dying presents Decas. This is a compilation offering, one with three new songs, four covers, four remixes, and a re-recording for good measure. It is the metalcore band’s way of saying “thanks” to fans after a decade of laying kids to righteous waste in mosh pits.
The band was founded in California in 2000 by vocalist Tim Lambesis. Having gone through a number of line-up changes throughout the decade, As I Lay Dying now humbly features drummer Jordan Mancino as the only other original member. Guitarists Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso joined in 2004 and 2003, respectively, and Josh Gilbert has been singing clean vocals and playing bass guitar in the band since 2007.
“Paralyzed,” “From Shapeless to Breakable” and “Moving Forward” comprise the new tracks on Decas. They are characteristic As I Lay Dying tunes, charged with passion and Lambesis’ commanding vocals. “Paralyzed” opens with a roar and chugging guitar, while “From Shapeless to Breakable” takes Lambesis down to the bottom of his range and leaves room for Hipa to jam with a solo that spirals to heaven.
Starting with a cover of Slayer’s ultimate metal anthem “War Ensemble,” As I Lay Dying pays homage to some of the giants of metal. The band takes to it with breakneck speed, never letting up on the gas for nearly five minutes. Mancino substantiates his chops on the kit and then some, providing communion of holy hurt with his percussive violence.
Judas Priest’s “Electric Eye” also gets the As I Lay Dying treatment, with the result a mixed bag. Some of the harmonies are rather ungainly, but props are deserved for opening with “The Hellion” as required for the Screaming for Vengeance cut.
The final cover is the blink-and-you’ll-miss it “Coffee Mug.” The song, originally from the Descendants’ Everything Sucks, is a searing spree through punk rock awesomeness.
When the remixes begin, the compilation begins to slip a little. Innerpartysystem’s touch of industrial is well-meant, but “The Blinding of False Light” never gets off the ground in remix format. Ben Weinman of The Dillinger Escape Plan tries his hand at “Wrath Upon Ourselves,” while Big Chocolate does “Elegy” up in his typical grindcore fashion. None of the remixes are particularly captivating, but they aren't altogether awful either. Meh.
Happily, As I Lay Dying’s commitment to undying metalcore comes through in every cataclysmic note. With this outing, they deserve credit for not merely flinging together a stack of “greatest hits” to thank the fans. Decas won’t win new converts, but it should satisfy the regulars as they await the opening notes of the Decade of Destruction tour.