Our top 10 As I Lay Dying songs introduce us to an American band famed for its use of melodic death metal elements. Vocalist Tim Lambesis formed the band in 2000 after leaving Society’s Finest, where he was a guitarist. As I Lay Dying started as a duet with Tim Lambesis tagging in drummer Jordan Mancino coming out as a band in 2001. The two had previously met in Point of Recognition, a hardcore punk band. Tim revealed that the band’s name was inspired by a 1930 novel by William Faulkner going under the same name. However, the band’s music and lyrics are not directly influenced by the novel.
The band signed a recording contract with Pluto Records, where it released its debut album Beneath the Encasing of Ashes (2001). As I Lay Dying went on to record a split album with the post-hardcore band American Tragedy. The band realized the need to expand its lineup when it started touring. Extensive touring had As I Lay Dying receive a cult following, prompting the band to continue releasing music. With the recording contract with Pluto Records expired, the band tried pursuing deals with other reputable record labels.
The band signed a recording contract with Metal Blade Records in March 2003. Within four months of striking a recording deal, the band released its sophomore album, Frail Words Collapse (2003). The album reached number thirty on the Billboard’s Independent Albums Chart. Frail Words Collapse (2003) was praised by many for its perfect execution despite adding nothing new to the metal scene from a musical standpoint. As I Lay Dying toured to promote the album with the support of Hatebreed, Killswitch Engage, The Black, Himsa, and Sworn Enemy.
The band achieved mainstream success with the release of its third studio album, Shadows Are Security (2005). Shadows Are Security (2005) debuted at number one on the Billboard’s Independent Albums Chart, rising to the thirty-fifth position on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart. As I Lay Dying went on tour to promote the album, performing alongside acts such Unearth, Slipknot, The Haunted, and Rob Zombie.
The band continued releasing music, establishing itself as a top-tier metal act competing with other bands like Lamb of God and Anthrax. However, As I Lay Dying went on hiatus after Tim Lambesis got arrested after being accused of attempted murder of his estranged wife. After serving a six-year jail term, Tim apologized for all he had done, taking responsibility for his actions. As I Lay Dying resumed touring, releasing an album Shaped by Fire in 2019. Throughout its career, the band has received several nominations and awards. Its sound has had the band described as a metalcore act, having it blend hardcore, heavy metal, and grindcore with elements of melodic death metal. The band has cited Megadeth, Metallica, Fear Factory, In Flames, Judas Priest, and Thin Lizzy as its influences. Here are the top 10 As I Lay Dying songs sampled from the band’s seven studio albums.
#10 – 94 Hours
Opening up our top 10 As I Lay Dying songs is the energetic hit “94 Hours.” The song is featured on the band’s sophomore studio album Frail Words Collapse (2003). Frontman Tim Lambesis revealed in an interview that the song is probably the most As I Lay Dying misinterpreted song. He continued to say that the song comes from his perspective of a person who has been forgiven and offered a second chance. Tim also mentioned that “94 Hours” is a positive hit that reminds him to hold on to his greatest blessing.
#9 – Shaped by Fire
“Shaped by Fire” is the album titled song of the band’s seventh studio album. The album finds As I Lay Dying trying to rise from the ashes after several years in limbo. “Shaped by Fire” finds the band offering a crisp delivery that blends Tim’s growls with Josh Lambert’s strong and clean vocals. Tim’s guttural screams in this song showcase his sustainable range, while Josh Lambert’s vocals adds some glamour in the song’s overall feel. After several years of no release, exploring a new musical territory is a big gamble. However, the gamble paid off for As I Lay Dying, bringing back the band to reputable levels in the metalcore scene.
#8 – The Sound of Truth
Frontman Tim Lambesis is quite an incredible songwriter, as exhibited by the contemplative hit song “The Sound of Truth.” The song is featured on the band’s fourth studio album, An Ocean Between Us (2007). In an interview about the song, Tim revealed that he was embarrassed at how ‘spiritual’ people with their corrupt motivation in seeking God. Even worse is the ignorance half of these people possess owing to the brainwashing cliché religious phrases.
Specifically, Tim noted that many view God as a being that aids them to justify their lifestyle leading to a diverse concept of God amongst the churches. In the song, Tim questions the need for prayers if people only open their ears to only what they wish to hear. The song has Tim channel the idea that wisdom, truth, and purpose are three entities beyond the discoveries of human emotions.
#7 – Through Struggle
“Through Struggle” is a strong account of existential anguish and dark days we all go through at some point in life. This is in addition to the ill social conformations that lead to false definitions of life and its entities. In the hook, for example, the singer shows his dislike of society’s false view of love. “Through Struggle” is one of the most powerful songs lyrically from the album, Shadows Are Security (2005).
#6 – Blinded
Number six on our top 10 As I Lay Dying songs is the hit “Blinded,” featured on the band’s album Shaped by Fire (2019). “Blinded” brings to light the great musicianship of the then-lead guitarist Nick Hipa, thanks to his brilliance on the guitar. The song follows the path taken by the powerfully and emotionally delivered song “My Own Grave,” which finds Tim taking the blame for all he was accused of. However, “Blinded” is delivered in a contemplative cross-examination of things that befell him than an apology.
#5 – Nothing Left
In 2009, lead singer Tim Lambesis revealed that of all the songs he had penned down for the band, his favorite work was “Nothing Left.” The song is featured on the band’s album An Ocean Between Us (2007). “Nothing Left” has its lyrics alluding to how we need to struggle to rise above mainstream mentality since we ought to be different. The song was such a massive hit, leading to the band’s first and only nomination for a Grammy Award for the Best Metal Performance. However, it lost the award to the hit “Final Six” by Slayer.
“Redefined” is one of the finest As I Lay Dying songs from the album Shaped by Fire (2019). The song alludes to taking your worst instant in life and redefining what they meant to you. “Redefined” is influenced by Tim Lambesis’ past and how he was dealing with it. While his guilt and punishment might have felt brutal to him, Tim acknowledges that this has shaped who he is today.
#3 – A Greater Foundation
Tim Lambesis gives us one of his most personal lyrics on the hit “A Greater Foundation,” featured on the band’s album Awakened (2012). For some, the song is empowering anthem thanks to the lyric, “As we face distress, we must not lose heart; Stand fast and press on, triumph awaits us.” The song alludes to coming into terms with a crumbling and/or changing life but remaining strong to rebuild it again, establishing an even stronger foundation.
#2 – Parallels
“Parallels” is a song whose blending of harmonics and heavy metal guitar riffs leaves you in awe each time you listen to it. The song is featured on the album The Powerless Rise (2010), produced by Daniel Castelman and Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz. As I Lay Dying chose Adam owing to his understanding of the band’s sound better than other producers, as revealed by guitarist Phil Sgrosso. One of the best lines in the song is, “There is more to life than to simply stay alive.”
#1- My Own Grave
“My Own Grave” is by far the solo that offers the brightest flame in the band’s most recent album, Shaped by Fire (2019). The single was released on a video that featured As I Lay Dying’s members performing on a white soundstage. “My Own Grave” came when the music world was divided about supporting Tim Lambesis, considering the moral implications of a crime he had done. However, Tim used the album Shaped by Fire (2019) to reveal to the world the change that already happened to him after his most damaging moment in life. The song finds him taking the blame for all that he was accused of. His remorseful lyrics had fans and critics receive the song positively, rejuvenating the band’s fame.
Feature Photo: I, Matthias Bauer, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 As I Lay Dying Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business or any organizations is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at end of article.