In the three-year interim between 2007's Ocean Between Us and The Powerless Rise, San Diego's As I Lay Dying toured widely enough to cement their relationship with then-new bassist Josh Gilbert, who also picks up some backing vocal chores. It's not that that they've changed their formula so much as honed it to something so sharp it bleeds excellence. While everything here charges maniacally and furiously from the opening track -- and first single -- "Beyond Our Suffering," right on through to the set-closer "The Blinding of False Light," there are some slower intros on tracks such as "Parallels" and "Upside Down Kingdom" that work to stellar dramatic effect when the tunes give way to furious thrashing. The twin-guitar attack of Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso is sharper and heavier than ever here -- check the back and forth work on "The Only Constant Is Change" and "Anodyne Sea." At 44 minutes, The Powerless Rise feels more like 10. As a band, AILD has grown most is in their songwriting and production skills (the latter of which are now off the charts in terms of precision). The Powerless Rise, delivers on what their previous outings have handsomely promised.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek