Review: As I Lay Dying / American Tragedy

As I Lay Dying / American Tragedy
“Split CD”
(Pluto Records)

Angry makes me happy.  There’s nothing like a little kicking and screaming to get you fired up.  But why would anyone in Southern California be angry?  It’s not some ramshackle, dirty downtown battleground, consuming people and nature with gruesome vigilance.  It’s Club Med at the beach with the mildest weather in the United States.  But I guess some of the people make me angry, so that’s a good reason.  And what some people in San Diego have spawned are two hardcore metal monsters in As I Lay Dying and American Tragedy.  Both of these bands rip, one heavier and one more technical, both metallic hardcore.  Just like all the best.  To start, As I Lay Dying grind through five songs of wonderfully melodic heaviness, throttling the listener with thick-as-mud guitars and a growling vocalist who must be related to Satan.  Bringing up the rear, American Tragedy craft technical crunch on their five tracks.  Blasting riffy, metallicore wizardry with a throat-searing yellman at the microphone.  Both heavyweights incorporate a sparse usage of vocal harmonies into their brutal music, while still maintaining the highest level of aggression.  Much like Poison The Well.  And like PTW, both understand how to keep heavy music fresh and interesting.  Who would have thought that this beachfront vacation town would breed two of the best bands in underground metal?  Thank you San Diego.