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Five questions with singer Tim Lambesis of metal band As I Lay Dying

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Lambesis, front and center

The Details

As I Lay Dying
with Demon Hunter, blessthefall, War of Ages, Destruction of a Rose
May 22, 6 p.m., $18.50-$22.50
House of Blues, 632-7600

You've said that the lyrics on new album The Powerless Rise are meant to offer a solution to the problems of the modern world. What, exactly, is that solution?

There's a lot of things that we focus on in society that would actually be better if we completely reverse [them]. For instance, there's such an emphasis on material gain, and there's a couple songs on the album that talk a lot about turning that idea upside down and finding the strength in simplicity, and a completely backwards style of living than what we're taught — especially in Western culture ... Instead of trying to solve our own problems and focus on ourselves, which seems to be kind of a popular psychology, the opening track is about finding people whose situation is worse than our own. In the process of trying to help them we actually end up solving our own problems.

You're an openly religious band — you recently got a "rocking Jesus" tattoo on the TV show L.A. Ink — do you think that tends to alienate could-be fans, or does it draw new listeners to your type of metalcore music?

I definitely view it as a no-win situation in a lot of ways. The really traditional metal fans think that our point of view has no place in the metal world. And then, sometimes, the religious side, people that would normally buy the contemporary-Christian type music, think that our music itself is too extreme and the actual sound of our music is maybe a turnoff. But I feel like there's nothing I can do to change that. I can only represent who I am.

Your side project, Austrian Death Machine, was created in tribute to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Why?

It's something kind of fun and lighthearted, a contrast to how serious and heartfelt As I Lay Dying is. It's kind of a play on stereotypes, in that metal kind of has that really, over the top, lots of testosterone, maybe even at times meathead kind of feel to it. And then you think about all of Arnold's action movies and kind of what they were going for at that time. I think that in their own way, they're both things that I love. And it just kind of reminds me not to take everything so seriously.

Your band name is taken from the William Faulkner novel — what's the story there?

At the time, nobody in the band had ever read the book. So we just liked the way the name sounded. We have since, through our lyrics, kind of given the name it's own meaning in this context. Looking back, it's funny because it's obviously a very well written and popular book, but at the time we had never even heard of it. ... To be honest, I've actually only skimmed through it [since then]. The writing style of Faulkner is definitely interesting, but the storyline itself to me isn't enough to get me through the whole book.

Your last album, An Ocean Between Us, was described as being less metalcore, more thrash/heavy metal, than your previous releases. Which direction would you say The Powerless Rise leans towards?

I guess it probably balances the two a little bit, but it definitely has mainly metal elements. I think as far as the type of energy, it's more similar to some of our old albums in that we have more variation on this one than we did on An Ocean Between Us.

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