“Decas” is AS I LAY DYING’s first compilation album celebrating their 10 years together. Instead of simply making a cut-and-paste album of their greatest songs, the CD contains three brand new songs, four covers, one medley and four remixes. Now, no matter what I think of the quality of “Decas”, I can at least give the band credit for creativity. It would have been incredibly easy to simply make a pointless 'best of' album, but they instead made something that has an actual reason to exist. Is it any good, though?
The three new songs are all right. Particularly of note are the clean vocals offered by bassist Josh Gilbert and a pretty amazing guitar solo during “Paralyzed”. No, they don’t reinvent the wheel, but these are good songs for any kind of Melodic Death Metal fan. They have definitely moved away from their Metalcore roots a few albums ago, and it shows.
Next come four covers, or three if you count “Hellion” and “Electric Eye” by JUDAS PRIEST as a single song as many do. Now, the best thing I can say is that the covers are competent. I tend to be pretty hard to please when it comes to recorded covers. I think, if you’re going to simply play the song with death growling… then what’s the point? It might be fun for an audience (not to mention enjoyable for the band themselves) to play it during a concert, but I can’t really see why you should record them and especially charge for them. But hey, I didn’t want to rip my ears off when I heard their versions, which is more than I can say for some other covers and for coming “songs” off this record…
“Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes” is a decent medley that kept my interest. I’m not familiar enough with the band’s debut album to evaluate it in any more detail, though.
Now, you’ve probably already seen the score I’ve given to this compilation album. Yeah, it’s a pretty bad one. And so far the tracks have ranged from good to average. What happened? I’ll tell you: Remixes. The last four tracks on this album are some older songs rearranged by different DJs. Now, let me be as blunt as possible, they are friggin’ HORRIBLE. They are the musical equivalent of a nail being entered forcibly into your ear. I can’t say anything more than that – Death Metal and Metalcore do NOT mix well with dance music makers. Avoid them at all costs.
This album is a waste. It’s one third enjoyable, one third unnecessary and the last third unbearable. If you are an AS I LAY DYING fan, I can advise you to buy the three new songs along with the medley and perhaps the covers if you really enjoy their sound. But whatever you do, please don’t waste your money on the whole album and particularly the godawful remixes. Your ears will thank me.
(Online June 1, 2012)