By Nicholas David Gallagher
When has a band reached the point where they are past their prime? Is it when the audience at live shows start demanding you play older music? Or is it when their online retail records reveal an uptick in sales for the bands opening for them? Regardless, the most likely outcome is a downward spiral for their own merchandise and music. That follows a reunification with a singer or frontman they parted ways with years ago. On such occasions, the band usually behaves as though nothing has changed despite the circumstances of that severance.
Tim Lambesis founded the metalcore band As I Lay Dying in the year 2000. The band saw immediate and overwhelming success due to the band’s powerful records. This success would be the start of what many of their fans feared: an early peak for a multi-talented act.
On May 7, 2013, Lambesis got arrested for attempting to murder his wife by hiring a hitman. The hitman was actually an undercover police officer. Lambesis pleaded guilty a year later and received a reduced sentence. His defense was a reliance on thought process affecting steroids.
As I Lay Dying reunited under the original lineup in 2018. The band released a song called, “My Own Grave.” They also prepared to perform shows with this original lineup. They posted a YouTube video addressing Lambesis re-entering the band and re-entering the metal world.
The band is still writing new music. They are also touring to this day. Despite reports and interviews stating reservations, the band members behaved as if they did not exist.
The reunion raises several red flags. It appears the band members may be prioritizing acclaim and sales from the controversy. Instead of distancing themselves from the controversial actions of their frontman. This sets a dangerous precedent for the future. It makes it appear as though any action, so long as you still have the talents you had before, becomes forgivable. In response to the controversy, tour stops have already dropped.
Growlers, a Memphis, TN venue known for allowing performers across all genres, stated in a Facebook post that it would instead “replace [the band] with a local show to benefit victims of domestic violence.”
As I Lay Dying may be cruising on the redemption arc posited in “My Own Grave,” but it is my firm belief that the song is more applicable to the attitudes surrounding the band can be found in a lyric from “Anodyne Sea:”
“Stand on conviction and you will walk alone… In my convictions, I’ve found my own grave, but amongst the dead, we all fade away.”