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As I Lay Dying - Biography





Formed in early 2001 to realize the developing musical vision of ex-Society's Finest guitarist Tim Lambesis, As I Lay Dying first took shape as a trio, with (now-former) guitarist Evan White and drummer Jordan Mancino rounding out the lineup. One month into their lifespan, the group hit the studio to record their first album, Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes, released that June by Pluto Records. As I Lay Dying caught the touring bug shortly afterward, and started what to this day remains a pattern: With each new tour stop came new converts to the group's sound, and as more people caught on, Pluto found a new best-selling release in Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes - which, massive as it was, barely hinted at the material As I Lay Dying still had brewing inside of them.

Released by Pluto in August of 2002, As I Lay Dying's split CD with fellow San Diegans American Tragedy offered the first sign of where the band was headed. Though the chugging breakdowns, growled vocals and dissonant riffs of Ashes were still present in As I Lay Dying's five tracks, a stronger sense of melody undercut the music's darkness, resulting in songs that not only stuck in your head as easily as they tore it off, but that also started to garner serious attention for the band. So, touring as relentlessly as ever behind their latest effort, As I Lay Dying found themselves landing on the radar of several prominent record labels, with Metal Blade ultimately sealing the deal in March of 2003 - and the band's Metal Blade debut, Frail Words Collapse, dropping on an unsuspecting public that July.

Produced by Lambesis, Frail Words Collapse crystallized everything As I Lay Dying had been working toward into a massive knockout blow. Even though mainstream acceptance still eluded them, it didn't matter: Sonically, the band had united the classic "Gothenburg sound" - the punch-press rhythms, snarling vocals and melancholy riffs of seminal Swedish bands like At The Gates - with the chugging heartbeat of modern hardcore, launching themselves into the forefront of a new scene of metal bubbling under in the U.S. Relentless touring, several lineup changes and a growing fan buzz later, As I Lay Dying found themselves setting records they didn't even know existed: Heavy rotation on FUSE and MTV2's Headbanger's Ball for their "94 Hours" and "Forever" videos; a no. 1 most-downloaded spot at the now-defunct; record sales in the solid six-figure range based heavily on word of mouth; and festival dates and world tours alongside heavyweights such as Killswitch Engage, In Flames, Shadows Fall, Lamb Of God and Hatebreed.

Strengthened by the road, creatively on fire, and with their lineup both solidified and contributing equally to the songwriting process, As I Lay Dying enter Big Fish Studios in Encinitas, California (the same place they'd recorded Collapse), at the beginning of January. With Lambesis at the production helm, along with help from bandmate Phil Sgrosso, and engineer/co-producer Steve Russell once again behind the boards, the quintet sequestered themselves until spring and emerged with their leanest, meanest and most focused effort yet, Shadows Are Security.

Thematically, the record is just as heavy, with Mancino's coffin-tight drumming and the guitarists' melodic, lockstep riffage dropping like exclamation points around Lambesis' lyrics. While he hesitates to call Shadows a full-blown "concept album," Lambesis admits there's definitely a concept, and a very intentional sequence, guiding songs like the soaring "Confined, the spiritually revealing "Control Is Dead" (featuring Zao's Dan Weyandt on guest vocals) and the album-summarizing "Illusions".

With another massive tour schedule ahead of them to support Shadows Are Security, including a prominent slot at the annual Cornerstone Festival and one of the headliner slots on the second stage of Ozzfest 2005, As I Lay Dying will have ample opportunities to bring the love -and the pain, and the noise- to audiences worldwide. And while Lambesis acknowledges that it'd be easy to let this sort of massive jump in the band's profile go to his head, he just as quickly shows how grounded in reality As I Lay Dying are.

In the wake of the conflagration, future possibilities flourish out of the ashes. Reigniting a brotherhood dating back nearly two decades, As I Lay Dying rise together on their seventh full-length and debut for Nuclear Blast, the aptly titled Shaped By Fire. The San Diego quintet - Tim Lambesis [vocals], Jordan Mancino [drums], Phil Sgrosso [guitar], Nick Hipa [guitar], and Josh Gilbert [bass] - rally together and recharge the precise and pummeling metallic assault that transformed them into a turn-of-the-century heavy music phenomenon.

These eleven tracks mark their first body of work together since 2012 and represent the dawn of a bold new era.

The rebirth remains rooted in an impressive legacy. Since forming in 2000, the group sold over 1 million albums worldwide, garnered a 2008 Grammy® Award nomination in the category of "Best Metal Performance," notched two Top 10 debuts on the Billboard Top 200, generated hundreds of millions of streams, sold out shows around the globe, and took home "Ultimate Metal God" at MTV2's Music Awards in 2007. Following a five-year hiatus amidst personal struggles, the musicians reconnected in early 2018.

Before a note of music, they focused on where everything began: the friendship.

Backed by overwhelming support, they recorded and unleashed the hard-hitting "My Own Grave", which clocked 13 million Spotify streams in a few months' time. Concurrently, the musicians wrote and recorded what would become Shaped By Fire, taking the reins in terms of production and engineering with a little help from longtime friend and collaborator Killswitch Engage's Adam D. This time around, recording happened individually, allowing for the best possible performances. Meanwhile, communication was at an all-time high as a respectful atmosphere encouraged constructive criticism.

The first single and title track "Shaped By Fire" steamrolls forward on airtight riffing and bludgeoning drums before a soaring arena-size refrain. Meanwhile, the opener "Blinded" gallops forward with undeniable urgency as it poses questions for the frontman.

Elsewhere, "Torn Between" tempers pensive lyrics and robust musicality as it discusses an internal divide.

Fittingly, Shaped By Fire culminates on what might be the record's heaviest catharsis emotionally, "The Toll It Takes." In the end, As I Lay Dying burn brighter than ever before.