5 out of 5
Highlights: Empty Hearts, Losing Sight, Illusions
"I hold my breath till the steady beating is shut out, In silence I wait for what is real." -The Truth Of My Perception
After I first heard 94 Hours, I knew that there was something special about As I Lay Dying. It's the perfect blend of primal raging and beautifully intellectual lyrics that give this band an edge over the 3,000,000 other metalcore bands out there.
While Frail Words Collapse (a masterpeice in its own right) was a collection of brutal songs, Shadows Are Security feels more like an album. Each song transitions into the next without flinching, and the order couldn't have been more perfect. While I wouldn't go as far as to say its a concept album, I think it would definitely qualify as a "themed" album. There is almost a story in the lyrics, as the lead singer struggles with meaninglessness to find hope.
As I Lay Dying is a band that relies on speed, which does not necessarily equate to heaviness.That being said, Illusions has got to be one of the best songs on this disk. Its strength is its power, not its speed. Empty Hearts has the coolest guitar solo you will ever hear, coming off as almost Middle-Eastern sounding. Losing Sight is a sonic avalanche that deserves recognition as a standout. Other notables include Repeating Yesterday, where we see an almost ballad (with a piano solo, no less) which gives way to more brutal roaring, and Control Is Dead which features a guest appearance by Zao frontman.
A perceptible change is that there is much more clean singing in this album. Frail Words Collapse experimented with all kinds of vocal variations (spoken, whispered, clean shouts, and ethereal wails), and we lose some of that on this album. This isn't to say that the singing is bad, or even that its out of place. However, I am concerned that they might be testing the water and considering making further crossroads into the mainstream market, which I think we can all agree would be a BAD thing. So, while I think that they have by no means crossed the "sellout" line, they do risk losing some of their fanbase if they continue in this direction.
People who don't appreciate the beauty of the untamed power behind metal will not understand this band or appreciate the vocal prowess possessed by Lambesis. If you have $15 and can appreciate good music, then buy this album right now.