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After five full-length albums, As I Lay Dying has basically reached the pinacle of their success at a very young career age, but it wasn’t until their most recent few albums that their popularity and seething fan base really grew. It’s been roughly a year since their The Powerless Rise album, and with one compilation already out in 2006 dealing with their initial recordings, it was about time to hit up their fans with another collection of songs I guess. In comes their upcoming [at the time of this article] offering, Decas which I honestly didn’t know of even being in the works. In fact the first time I heard about this was the mentioning of one of the cover tracks by Chase of the Funeral Rain Press Corps saying how bad it was. I quickly learned it was in my e-mail from Metal Blade Records (which I couldn’t get before the other day due to a lack of internet access thanks to a shortage of funds to pay the bills) and I immediately downloaded the promotional copy. After doing the reviews I wanted to write for the day, I popped this sucker in. And wow…my time with this was not the most enjoyable.

It seems the Killswitch Engage cover-kill syndrome has reared it’s ugly head again. While their cover of the Dio classic “Holy Diver” wasn’t bad, though forced screaming and breakdowns into it, I found myself cringing at their cover of “Electric Eye” by Judas Priest while also banging my head along. This was the first song I ran to due to what I read of that aforementioned discussion, and it really does fail and win at the same time. The song resorts to screaming for much of the track, which doesn’t suit the music at all. The performance As I Lay Dying pulls off musically is fantastic and has that modern sleeker sound to it with a good deal of heaviness, and the chorus does including some clean singing though backed up by more screaming that kind of ruins the enjoyable aspect of the song while you bob your head along with it. Suffice it to say I’ll be happy as hell if I never have to hear this cover rendition again. It may not be a bad song, but damn does it kill much of what stands out as great about the song.

But, as much time as I can spend talking about how bad that track ends up being because of the vocals and some of the faults in the music such as some gaps in the heaviness, it’s just not worth the time. There’s other covers here including “War Ensemble” by Slayer, another Judas Priest track in the form of “Hellion,” and “Coffee Mug” by Descendents. I gave all of these listen, and the cover of “War Ensemble” was alright, but it and the other songs weren’t really anything too special. The originals that start off the compilation are pretty good though. I personally prefered listening to “Paralysed” more then “From Shapeless to Breakable,” but both are still pretty entertaining. “Moving Forward,” however, I could not move forward from. I know, cheap pun but what can I say? The song feels like has strong Emo roots then anything else and I just couldn’t get into it due to the whinier nature that I haven’t really heard since Frail Words Collapse. There’s also a bunch of other random tracks at the end, and honestly it’s just a couple of their songs mixed with Techno music. Again, nothing special, and unless you enjoy Techno you’re going to really be let down.

Honestly, I didn’t get to really sit down and listen to this release, but from a casual spin, I’m not at all impressed. Really the only decent tracks I heard here are the originals. “Paralyzed” and “From Shapeless to Breakable” were the only songs I actually found myself headbanging along to with pleasure while some of the others were sort of forced for one reason or another, and the techno remixes at the end to me seem pointless and just are irritating and even similar to Deadlock. So far, Decas just feels like a wasted opportunity for the band, though fans are going to buy it and eat this album up, so if their goal was to try to make some quick cash off a few new songs, chances are good they are gonna succeed.

Article based on digital review material provided by Metal Blade Records.