AS I LAY DYING guitarist Phil Sgrosso says that he now has " the most positive relationship" he has ever had with the band's singer Tim Lambesis, who 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.
"I can only speak for myself personally, but there was a strange relationship between Tim and I before this all happened," Sgrosso tells San Diego CityBeat. "But, over time, to see who he has changed into after serving his sentence and going into his rehabilitation process, and for the two of us to have the most positive relationship we've ever had is definitely the most ideal situation. I have to admit, it took a leap of faith on my side to believe and trust he became a better person. There was a willingness to forgive once he was seeking it from all those closest to him."
This past September, AS I LAY DYING released its seventh full-length album, "Shaped By Fire", via Nuclear Blast. The band has also been on the road consistently in support of the disc and will conclude its latest run of U.S. shows with AFTER THE BURIAL and EMMURE on December 14 in San Diego, California.
"The word 'family' describes the level of interaction and dynamic between our band," Sgrosso tells San Diego CityBeat. "While on tour, we're living together, but also when we're off tour, at home we meet up and work together. The cool part is now it's more positive than it's ever been between us all."
Although most AS I LAY DYING fans have welcomed the group's return, some resistance remains; in late 2018, the band was dropped from the lineup of Spain's Resurrection Fest, and earlier this year, a venue in Memphis, Tennessee called off AS I LAY DYING's performance after it faced online backlash.
The return of AS I LAY DYING raised some questions, particularly since guitarist Nick 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.
"Shaped By Fire" was produced by AS I LAY DYING and was mixed by Joseph McQueen at Sparrow Sound in Los Angeles, California, while mastering was completed by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound in Nashville, Tennessee. The only exception was the track "My Own Grave", which was produced by AS I LAY DYING, co-produced by Drew Fulk and mixed by Adam "Nolly" Getgood.
AS I LAY DYING has a number of dates lined up for early 2020, beginning with a tour of Asia which will kick off on January 8 in Bengaluru, India.