The debut album from As I Lay Dying, ‘Beneath the Encasing of Ashes,’ celebrates its 10-year anniversary next year. In an interview with the Arizona Central, guitarist Phil Sgrosso chatted about the album that started it all, his multiple roles in the band, their new compilation record and much more!
When asked how he thinks the first album has held up after 10 years, Sgrosso responded by saying that “being an outsider at the time, when the album came out, it was definitely more in the darker, less melodic range, like Living Sacrifice or Zao, who were really big at the time, especially in the whole underground kind of Christian world. We got a lot more melodic with our sound. But it’s good for that era, I guess.”
Sgrosso joined the band in 2003 after the release of the band’s second record, ‘Frail Worlds Collapse,’ and he also offered up some thoughts on his contribution to the band’s music over the years. “I’m very involved with the songwriting and studio production,” he said. “I guess within the band, I’m the more detail-oriented guy. I’m very meticulous about every note that’s being played on the guitar and pretty much everything. Every drum hit, there has to be a reason for it. It has to be the best thing we could do and, sometimes, everybody in the band might think of me as the crazy guy in the studio but once the music’s out, you can’t change it, you know? So I really just want to get everything right.”
The axeman also revealed that the band wanted to keep fans busy with their new remix / covers compilation record, ‘Decas.’ “Well, we’re still technically promoting ‘The Powerless Rise,’ but it was our 10-year anniversary and we had a few songs in our back pocket,” he explained. “So it was like, well, we could put these out and throw together an assortment of other stuff, these remixes, the covers and a few more originals and put it out toward the end of the cycle so that it kind of gives fans something before we go away and write another album.”
On ‘Decas,’ the guys cover iconic bands such as Slayer and Judas Priest. When asked about being Christians and covering the always-brutal Slayer, Sgrosso replied by saying, “Yeah, a lot of people would think of that as being weird, but when you listen to the lyrics, there’s nothing sacrilegious about it. Obviously, a lot of our fans are Christian. We don’t want to offend or disappoint them with something. But when you think about it, the lyrical content isn’t anything negative. Riffs are riffs. Fast drumbeats are fast drumbeats. No matter how evil they sound.”