If you haven’t heard of As I Lay Dying yet, you must be living under a rock. They are one of the biggest metalcore bands to come out of the whole genre, and are still leading the rest of the pack. Personally, I dig the old material a lot more than the new stuff. I like the gritty non-overproduced feel of the music. The new album just didn’t set in all that well with me. But what Shadows are Security didn’t do for me, A Long March did. What the CD has compiled are old demo and EP songs that have been lingering around for a while, but remained hard to find for most people. Time to break it down through the sections it has.

I. The Rerecorded. This is the start of the album with the Frail Words Collapse versions of the original songs. It was what was originally intended from the original content of the first recorded songs. Nothing hard to find or that significant in this section other than some of my old favorite tunes though, moving on.

II. The First Two Months. This section was the very first works of what was to become As I Lay Dying; the first demo Beneath the Encasing of Ashes. Little known fact on this is that Tim Lambesis (vocals) did vocal and also guitar work on this demo. The tracks are intense, you can feel the starting out passion of a striving band and really get where they were coming from listening to it. The sound quality is gritty, yet mastered pretty well nonetheless.

III. A Year Later EP. The final section of the compilation disc was a 5 song EP. There was more studio time than for Beneath the Encasing of Ashes, but substantially less amount of material. But it just shows the true meaning of the golden phrase “quality over quantity.” The songs are all recorded well and the band’s dedication paid off with this EP being what led to Frail Words Collapse. Material you have most likely heard before, but in its primal like stages still.

The standout songs for this disc were too easy to pick out. “Forever” and “The Beginning” are my choices hands down. Two of the first ever As I Lay Dying songs that I heard and what drew me into the band in the first place. It was nostalgic listening to them in this way again, especially from taking the shrink wrap off to getting a new CD in my stereo. If you haven’t heard these songs before, they are for sure worth your listening time.

Basically, if you’re an avid fan and can’t find the old EP or demo around anywhere, here it is for you. For anyone at all, it’s still good to show a band’s progression. If you’re a metalcore fan, you can’t not like this album, it’s a sure bet. I give it a 7.5 out of 10. It is a decent pickup to add to your CD library!  [ END ]

Track Listing:

01. Illusions
02. The Beginning
03. Reinvention
04. The Pain of Separation
05. Forever
06. Beneath The Encasing of Ashes
07. Torn Within
08. Forced to Die
09. A Breath in the Eyes of Eternity
10. Blood Turned to Tears
11. The Voices That Betray Me
12. When This World Fades
13. A Long March
14. Surrounded
15. Refined By Your Embrace
16. The Innocence Spilled
17. Behind Me Lies Another Fallen Soldier
18. Illusions
19. The Beginning
20. Reinvention
21. The Pain of Separation
22. Forever

Run Time: 1:08:32
Release Date: 2006