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As I Lay Dying

San Diego's As I Lay Dying are a metalcore band whose sound employs elements of melodic death, grindcore, and hooky classic metal. After initially emerging as a Christian guitar/drums/vocals trio (whose lyrics never reflected their beliefs) with their highly regarded, self-recorded full-length Beneath the Encasing of Ashes in 2001, they signed to Metal Blade and became a quintet whose brutal attack and meaty riffs drew legions of fans across the globe, making them a festival headliner. Their 2007 long-player, An Ocean Between Us, debuted at number eight on the Top 200. In 2014, the band split after vocalist Tim Lambesis was sentenced to prison for his role in a plot to kill his estranged wife. Remarkably, As I Lay Dying's members, who had previously sworn never to work with the singer again, reunited with him in 2018 and released Shaped by Fire for Nuclear Blast the following year. The group formed as a trio in 2001 with vocalist Tim Lambesis, drummer Jordan Mancino, and guitarist Evan White, and shortly thereafter released Beneath the Encasing of Ashes. A split CD with the American Tragedy followed the next year. In 2003 the band signed with Metal Blade and released Frail Words Collapse. After the album's release, White left the band and the remaining core of the group, Lambesis and Mancino, drafted two guitarists to replace him, Phil Sgrosso and Nick Hipa, and also landed a bass player in Clint Norris. The new lineup recorded Shadows Are Security, released in 2005. As I Lay Dying next issued A Long March: The First Recordings in May 2006, which included their 2001 out-of-print debut, along with two versions of their songs from the 2002 American Tragedy split. The band then spent that summer on the Sounds of the Underground metal-hardcore tour alongside acts like In Flames, GWAR, Trivium, and Cannibal Corpse. Soon after, Clint Norris left to pursue life as a family man and Josh Gilbert replaced him on bass. With the addition of Gilbert's vocal harmonies, the band's sound became more melodic, and in August 2007, the group released its fourth album, An Ocean Between Us. In 2009, the band released a three-DVD collection called This Is Who We Are. The set included a documentary, a live gig, and assorted videos and tidbits. Arriving as it did after a two-year hiatus, it was welcomed enthusiastically by the band's near fanatical fan base. In 2010, As I Lay Dying returned to record store shelves proper when the band issued the 11-cut Powerless Rise on Metal Blade. The next year, to commemorate their tenth anniversary as a band, As I Lay Dying released the compilation Decas, which featured the band covering songs by influential acts like Slayer and Judas Priest, as well as some new material and remixes. In 2012, the band hit the studio with punk icon and producer Bill Stevenson to record its sixth album, Awakened, which arrived on Metal Blade later that year. On May 7, 2013, Lambesis was arrested in California after hiring an undercover detective to murder his estranged wife, the mother of his children. Though he initially pled not guilty, he later changed his plea to guilty. Before he pled guilty, though, Mancino, Sgrosso, Hipa, Gilbert, and vocalist Shane Blay formed another musical project under the name Wovenwar and played an entirely different style of music. Amazingly, Lambesis also found time to release Triple Brutal by his own side project Austrian Death Machine while awaiting trial. After altering his plea agreement, Lambesis was sentenced to six years in May of 2014. After years of reaching out to his former bandmates to make amends (that eventually resulted in some strained personal relationships that split Wovenwar), Lambesis eventually won them over and the lineup of himself, Hipa, Sgrosso, Gilbert, and Mancino reunited under the As I Lay Dying banner. The singer's bandmates posted a long statement concerning their reasons for reuniting in the metal press and on social media. As I Lay Dying played their first reunion show in June in San Diego. They booked European and American tours (most dates sold out immediately), though some venues on both sides of the pond either declined to book them outright or dropped them afterwards due to protests from other bands and patrons. After signing a deal with Nuclear Blast, the band issued the single "Redefined" (featuring Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red) in April of 2019, and their first full length in seven years, with the self-produced Shaped by Fire in September.
© Wade Kergan /TiVo
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