It’s best not to think of ‘Decas’ as being a new As I Lay Dying album. Indeed, there are only three new As I Lay Dying tracks on this record, released to coincide with the San Diego metalcore band's tenth anniversary. Additionally, there’s a re-recorded medley of ‘Beneath the Encasing,’ four cover songs that pay homage to bands that have influenced As I Lay Dying and four remixes of their songs.
Opening track ‘Paralyzed’ is indicative of the style As I Lay Dying have been flirting with in recent years - a mixture of angry metalcore and a melodic chorus with clean guitars. The next song, ‘From Shapeless to Breakable’, is significantly heavier and is a nod to the less commercial music they’ve produced in the past but then they return to the light side with their final new song, ‘Moving Forward.’ Some of the covers aren’t particularly unexpected and all stick fairly close to their source material, with only Tim Lambesis’ distinctive vocals injecting a bit of As I Lay Dying personality into them. So Slayer’s ‘War Ensemble’ sounds exactly how you’d imaging As I Lay Dying covering Slayer to sound like. They also tackle ‘Hellion’ and ‘Electric Eye’ - which is basically one song - by Judas Priest and again, stick close to the original and handle it competently enough. While those three songs (or two, depending on your opinion) are pretty obvious picks for a metalcore band, I admit that their final cover song made me smile with its cheekiness. I really wasn’t expecting them to take on the 34-second blast of awesomeness that is the Descendents’ ‘Coffee Mug'. I’m not denying that the Descendents were a pronounced influence on the band but it does stand out in stark contrast to all the other tracks on ‘Decas'. Again, it’s a straight cover, with the exception of Lambesis’ vocals being significantly growlier than Milo Aukerman’s. The remixes on offer here are much more varied. Innerpartysystem – who can pretty much turn their hand to anything, having remixed for the likes of Katy Perry and Thursday – transform ‘The Blinding of False Light’ into a whirry, squelchy robot of a song. The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Benjamin Weinman obliterates ‘Wrath Upon Ourselves’ in a blast of digital hardcore (bordering on sheer noise) while Kelly “Carnage” Cairns turns in the most subtle of remixes, keeping the core of ‘Confined’ intact amid some electronic flourishes. The final track on the album is also the best remix; Big Chocolate’s take on ‘Elegy', which sees As I Lay Dying go a bit drum ‘n’ bass. So a mixed bag of an album but these types of records, by their very nature, are.