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As I Lay Dying 

With Norma Jean, Madball, and A Life Once Lost. Tuesday, December 6, at the Odeon.

In the course of their day, the members of San Diego metal quintet As I Lay Dying are just as likely to ask, "What would Jesus do?" as "What would Slayer do?" The latter scenario may present itself during songs like "The Truth of My Perception," in which the band cribs breakdowns from the unholy thrash gods, speeding them up to 78 rpm. And as a striking contrast, the answer to the first question is evident in all the songs from Shadows Are Security, the band's breakneck debut for Metal Blade, the storied label that introduced Slayer to the world.

"The band are all Christian, and that influences the way we write our music and lyrics," says singer-lyricist Tim Lambesis. "I'm not really sure if I draw a line between what is Christian music and what isn't. I guess it has to do with your intention. When we formed the band, we did it because we wanted to play music full-time, to the best of our ability. Since then, we've realized that we're really passionate about our music, and we want it to be meaningful, so we incorporate what we believe."

An equally difficult semantic issue is the band's relation to the movement recognized as metalcore. With members ranging from 20 to 25 and their backgrounds varying from hardcore to metal, the band is technically part of the trend. Like Darkest Hour, it balances intricate guitar harmonies, chest-pounding double-bass kicks, and angry animal roars. "The music itself is metal," says Lambesis. "But the feeling of the shows is a little more down-to-earth, a little more intimate, like a hardcore show."

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