AS I LAY DYING Releases New Single 'The Cave We Fear To Enter'

July 9, 2024

Following the explosive acclaim and surprise release of their first new single in five years, "Burden", Grammy-nominated metallers AS I LAY DYING return with another brand-new single. Coinciding with today's kick-off of their USA headline tour in northern California, the new single, "The Cave We Fear To Enter", is available to stream now via Napalm Records and impacts with a new music video directed by Tom Flynn.

The lyrical concept behind "The Cave We Fear To Enter" began with an idea from bass player/vocalist Ryan Neff, inspiring vocalist Tim Lambesis to develop the lyrical message further. The balladic track begins pensively before charging into an emotive melodic metalcore opus. Like "Burden", the new track was co-produced by guitarist Phil Sgrosso and Hiram Hernandez, mixed by Aaron Chaparian and mastered by Ted Jensen.

Lambesis states about "The Cave We Fear To Enter": "This is the first time I've written lyrics based on an idea started by someone else in the band. Sometimes when we try out different melodies, we'll temporarily use words that just happen to fit as a placeholder. But on this song, Ryan chose words that he felt represented what he had been processing leading up to the demo. It felt right for me leave that therapeutic expression in place. So, when I took over, the imagery of a cave where you face your fears came to mind. While I only know a little of Joseph Campbell's work, the imagery brought to mind a quote of his that I remembered and used for inspiration as well."

Sgrosso adds: "'The Cave We Fear To Enter' may be one of our most adventurous songs to date. We broke out of a lot of old habits and formulaic moves to create something that touches on a lot of emotional elements we haven't explored so deeply before. From its inception, it was instantly a favorite for all of us.

"We really enjoyed collaborating with Tom Flynn on the video to combine the storylines between 'Burden' and 'The Cave We Fear to Enter', continuing the journey of the character through new environments and circumstances. It was a lot of fun to take new creative risks to tell this story visually alongside the somber and uplifting nature of the song."

AS I LAY DYING's USA tour with support from CHELSEA GRIN and ENTHEOS will launch tonight in Santa Cruz, California. This fall, European fans can catch AS I LAY DYING on their "Through Storms Ahead Tour" tour, beginning November 15 in Würzburg, Germany.

During an appearance on the Loaded Radio podcast, Lambesis was asked about the status of AS I LAY DYING's recently recorded new studio album. He said: "We've had this back and forth mixing the record, where the record has been done for quite a while and we're just trying to find the right representation of the sound. With modern music, there's so many… 'Cause classically, as an example, there used to be five or six guys that were great at mixing metal and now you have so many different approaches to it. And we're just really trying to find that sound where it marries together the nostalgic sound AS I LAY DYING is known for with a little bit of a modern twist to it. And for whatever reason, that part's been delaying the process, but the record's actually done. [It] just needs to finish the mix."

As if an album title has already been decided upon, Tim said: "Shoot. I wish I could actually give you the title. Unfortunately, Phil, our guitar player, and I have a slight disagreement over what the album title should be. We both love the same concept and we're just sort of toying with the words a little bit."

Regarding the sound of the upcoming AS I LAY DYING album, Tim said: "I wrote one of the heavy-leaning songs in the record. I feel like it's one of the heaviest songs that's ever been in the AS I LAY DYING catalog, and then Phil wrote a lot of melodic songs that are sort of… Both of us worked on some songs that are sort of in the middle, I guess you could say. And then he worked on a couple, I think, that stretch in a new sense of melody for us. It's not necessarily anything groundbreaking — it's not gonna shatter people's minds, like, 'Oh, my gosh. It barely sounds like AS I LAY DYING.' But just kind of stretch our sound a little bit in each direction."

Asked if working with this new lineup for AS I LAY DYING is "a breath of fresh air" for him, Tim said: "Yeah, a breath of fresh air is really the best way to describe it because you have this situation where Phil and I have been writing songs together for 20 years, or a little more than 20 years at this point, or, actually, about 20 exactly right now. And we have our method down, and that's been the same regardless of who's been in the band in terms of… When it comes to writing an album, the two of us feel a lot of pressures on our shoulders. And then sometimes you get guys in the band that, over time, and it's not a complaint, this just happens, this is natural, it's just, over time, they're not in the primary songwriting role and so they feel a little bit uninterested or fatigued or lose their passion over time because they're not part of the core songwriting. And I think what happens when these new guys have come in, not only are they able to kind of contribute to the way that they put their stamp on each song, but for Phil and I, we're thinking… Knowing how Nick Pierce plays drums, as an example, we can write songs around his ability as a drummer. And it kind of gives Phil and I this excitement for writing again. And then thinking about Ryan's voice, being a voice that's never been on an AS I LAY DYING record before as a second vocalist, and I start to think, like, 'Wow, I can really experiment and try all these different things.' And he's just down to do everything to try… Not all my ideas are good, but he's down to try a hundred different things. And he has just an incredible work ethic. So those are a couple of examples of why it feels refreshed and very exciting for Phil and I, even though the process is sort of the same in a lot of ways as well."

Asked if he still sometimes wishes that the classic lineup of AS I LAY DYING had stuck together and managed to move forward, Tim said: "Well, I will always owe a lot to the years of hard work we spent in a van in some of the earlier days and then, of course, in a bus touring together for so many years. And so for that reason, I do appreciate and have a great sense of gratitude for, I guess, what people call the classic lineup. In a behind-the-scenes kind of situation, I do feel like I don't really miss some of the behind-the-scenes stuff, and not because I have anything more to say, but I think over time people just, they can't keep the same sense of excitement about something when they're not putting their stamp on the sound creatively. And it's not that we were ever like closing the door for Nick [Hipa, former AS I LAY DYING guitarist] or Jordan [Mancino, former AS I LAY DYING drummer] to be able to write songs, as an example, but in reality, that just never happened. They weren't really a big part of the creative contribution. I think it just connects people differently. And so Phil and I end up more passionately connected because every song that comes out, there's a huge part of our creative output that's in that song. And I think it just makes us connected more uniquely. And with those guys, I think they lost the connection to the band over time. And then it just became more about like interpersonal issues that every band has. And that's not fun to focus on. So I enjoy this new era where everybody just shows up to the studio shows up to a live show and is just excited to be there. And, it makes me feel like I'm in my twenties again."

Pressed about whether he still communicates with Jordan or Nick at all, Tim said: "We actually all live in the same city — well, the greater San Diego area. And surprisingly, we don't run into each other much. My door is open. I'm probably an overcommunicator [laughs], so if they ever wanted to talk. I'd probably be willing to talk, or listen or whatever — just in terms of just general communication. I'm just interested… 'Cause I think that if you haven't talked to somebody in a year, as an example — I haven't talked to either of those guys in a year, as an example — and so much happens in life. People can have drastic life events and things that have affected them personally. And even if we feel like we've gotten to the bottom of everything, we have no reason to really keep rehashing or talking about old issues, I think there's always something new and exciting to talk about. So my door's open. But we haven't talked in quite a while."

In June 2023, Tim told Graspop Metal Meeting about AS I LAY DYING's upcoming LP: "We partly self-produced [it], and then we also worked with another producer. So we spent about a year working on the album by ourselves before we gave it to the producer."

Regarding how the addition of new members Pierce, Neff and Susi has affected AS I LAY DYING's sound, Tim said: "Well, [Nick, Ryan and Ken are] new for us, but, obviously, the guys have been around playing music for 20 years themselves. We're familiar, just having spent so much time with UNEARTH, and then MISS MAY I having a pretty similar sound.

"The songwriting within AS I LAY DYING has historically been mostlyPhil and I," he continued. "Josh [Gilbert], our previous bass player, helped. But the core of the songwriting is the same. So this additional layer that we get from these new guys is almost like breathing fresh new air… a breath of fresh air."

In September 2022, Lambesis addressed AS I LAY DYING's lineup changes in an interview with Metalshop TV. He said: "I think for our fans, they think that the changes happened all in a very short period of time, but they actually happened over [a period of] two years. The first change was on guitar we invited Ken Susi to fill in for us. And that was [around 2020] that we invited him. But then, of course, the pandemic happened and so we had a lot of breaks until we had a tour again. So Ken's been rehearsing with us, or talking about rehearsing with us, for [a] couple of years. And on drums we have Nick Pierce, who joined us. Nick Pierce was previously in UNEARTH; Ken is from UNEARTH as well. And Nick stopped playing with UNEARTH and coincidentally at the same time we needed a drummer, because our previous drummer hadn't been communicating with us; he went very isolated once the pandemic hit. And so there wasn't an argument or anything like that; it was just a situation where when the pandemic hit, he decided to take a new direction in life and kind of cut himself off from the rest of us. And we decided we wanted to keep going forward. Phil and I had been the ones writing the songs all these years, so when Nick Pierce left UNEARTH, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to have him perform with us. And then Ryan came from MISS MAY I. He was the last guy to come in. And he didn't come in until a couple of months ago. Our bass player, Josh, previously left, and he's with SPIRITBOX now. And when he decided to go perform with SPIRITBOX, we called up Ryan, who was with MISS MAY I. And Ryan Neff was on tour at the time. And then we asked him, 'Can you start touring with us as soon as this tour is over?' And he said, 'Well, I'm only gonna have three days off to rehearse in between tours.' He said, 'If you guys want me to do it, I'll make sure I come prepared.' And he had a lot to learn in three days, but he pulled it together. He's a very, very hard-working guy."

AS I LAY DYING's new album will be the follow-up to "Shaped By Fire", which came out in September 2019 via Nuclear Blast.

In June 2022, Mancino announced that he would sit out AS I LAY DYING's tour due to "a number of ongoing internal issues" that "have not yet been resolved."

Mancino's announcement came less than a month after Josh revealed that he was leaving the band. In a statement, the remaining members of AS I LAY DYING said that Gilbert "decided to exit" the group "to pursue other musical opportunities."

Josh was the second AS I LAY DYING member to leave the band in less than a year. In August 2021, Hipa confirmed his exit from AS I LAY DYING, explaining that he could no longer justify being part of "a superficial pursuit" of the "story and meaning" that the band's 2018 reunion was built upon.

Lambesis was famously convicted in 2014 for his role in a murder-for-hire plot against his estranged wife.

In May 2014, Lambesis was sentenced to six years in jail after pleading guilty to paying a San Diego police officer posing as a hitman $1,000 to kill his wife. Approximately two and a half years later — on December 17, 2016 — he was discharged from a California detention facility and was transferred to the Division of Adult Parole Operations.

In June 2018, AS I LAY DYING played its first show with Lambesis in five years and released a new single. Lambesis also owned up to his crimes in a long apology on the band's Facebook page after his release.

The return of AS I LAY DYING raised some questions, particularly since Hipa categorically denounced the band's disgraced frontman as a "sociopathic narcissist in definite need of rehabilitation" in a social-media post back in 2014.

In September 2021, AS I LAY DYING released a new song called "Roots Below" which was originally a B-side leftover from when the sessions for "Shaped By Fire".

Photo credit: Ben Alexis

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