The first three songs on the LP, new recordings "Paralyzed", "From Shapeless to Breakable" and "Moving Forward" are archetypal As I Lay Dying, all boasting muscular riffing, Tim Lambesis’ roaring vocals and big melodic choruses, and could have comfortably slotted into their previous albums. Meanwhile, the face-smashing cover of Slayer’s “War Ensemble” and impressive run-thorough of Judas Priest’s “Hellion/Electric Eye” are almost completely faithful to the original, with the addition of screams and growls and Lambesis’ and beefy modern production job bringing the tracks screaming into the 21st century.
Decas’ weak spot is the inclusion of no less than four remixed tracks. Do people who buy metal albums actually enjoy remixes? Tucked wisely at the back end of the record, you could probably live a very fulfilling life without ever hearing the tracks, as they pose nothing more than a bit of curio and it’s doubtful that you’ll get more than one listen out of them. A re-recorded medley of tracks from the act’s first full length Beneath The Encasing of Ashes is certainly an original idea, and will probably encourage listeners to check out the group’s overlooked debut album.
Apart from the remixes, Decas is a fairly strong collection from As I Lay Dying, with a handful of good new tunes and solid covers. While casual listeners could safely give this album a miss, fans of the band would be advised to check it out.
(released November 8, 2011 on Metal Blade Records)