Review Summary: It might not be what fans of the 1st album are looking for, but it definitely still worth the shot. Old & new fans alike.As Cities Burn
Cody Bonnette - vocals, guitar
Christopher Lott - guitar
Colin Kimble - bass
Aaron Lunsford -drums
Original Release Date: August 14, 2007
Label as produced: Tooth & Nail Records
As Cities Burn is a band that has reigned a lot with other Christian Post-Hardcore acts like Underoath and Norma Jean, died shortly after the release of their first album “Son, I Loved You At Your Darkness”, and was resurrected again. Even though the resurrection comes at a price of the departure of a handful of band members including the lead “screamer” TJ Bonnette the band is in no doubt alive once again. Guitarist Cody has taken over the band taking on most of the lead guitar riffs and all of the vocals now and the result is surprisingly pleasing. Many of the other bands in the genre usually take softer and more melodic approaches without the member changes after their first outting to begin with so in my mind this really isn’t something new. Old fans of the first album might be upset of the lack of screaming but in return they get a nice blend of melodic, harmonious tunes. I for one was skeptical of how this band could go on but I was pleasantly surprised throughout the whole album and was convinced.
Come Now Sleep
The first taste my ears got of this album was the post-rock ambience in the introduction track “Contact”. Dreary vocals feel like they are being sung into your ears while you’re sleeping in a dream. The guitar fills in with the other instruments with softness that could really turn off a lot of people yet intrigue others who never heard this bands first album. The lyrics right off the bat grips with Christianity influences. “Contact” is one of the longest tracks on the album and a very lethargic moving one at that. The instrumental that comes half way introduces all of the instruments off very well. The guitar work still has that vintage, twangy, style that serenades. The bass line is not so much a dull moment but more a back bone for everything and moves around like it’s dancing. The drums clash and collide with each other off of the string instruments and creates mood.
“Empire” is one of the songs off of their myspace that speeds of the pacing of the first track. The guitar leads the way in the intro intertwining different scales. The song is much more friendly to the ear keeping a quick and subtle pace with guitar work that keeps the same tone as the first album but is obviously more intricate. An almost yell comes with the second verse from Cody which is a sign of life from the almost always melodic vocals. It also proves to many that this isn’t going to be a straight up Circa Survive, Christian style band.
This song should prove right to the listener that even though many of the songs sound a lot like Circa Survive songs that they pack a little more punch to the gut and take out the boring things that Circa Survive does. “The Hoard” is the first song that came with the new line up changes. The bass line shines itself in the intro moving around the ambience of the guitar chords. In the chorus of this song I was a little off put. This song has some serious potential and I feel like if the chorus was screamed into of sung a better emphasis would have been put on the strong lyrics. At times like this it feels like TJ Bonnette is missed but only a few times I can say that while listening to this album. The song still packs a strong punch without but it feels like the screaming parts are obvious misses in this song specifically. The atmosphere the guitar creates in the interlude with the tremelo effects and delays is perfectly put for a band with such a post-rock like feel now.
“This Is It, This Is It” starts off with percussive muting strums from the guitar with a vocal harmony over it. It quickly shifts pace for a real punk like guitar feeling. The music never feels repetitive and always has swift time changes from the verses and the chorus. The transition from “The Hoard” feels like a must for this song to come next. “Clouds”, though seemingly interminable… contains some attractive musical arrangement. A track like this continues the post-rock feeling that a band like Brand New brought with their newest album. Even though to me a fan of the faster type, likes the feeling it brings to the album it feels like a mere filler track more than anything. The instrumentals throughout once again prove the evolution of this band.
“New Sun” starts off with some eerie talking that sounds like it’s Christian influenced of course. I’m sure anybody who’s a fan of Indie and the ambient rock genre can respect and appreciate the effects and guitar work on this album.
The music seems to hold more weight in it’s lyrics with the instrumentals creating the atmosphere to the words. “Tides” is a bouncy song that I wish I could see this band play live. A lot of time changes with moving bass in the background and overall an upbeat pace with it’s transitions. It’s songs like this that makes the album a good blend of post-rock and still has post-hardcore in them. The album could teach a lot of bands a lesson in total ambience without being boring. “Wrong Body” reminds me of Death Cab For Cutie for some odd reason with the drum beat and the vocals. The track felt strenuous for me to get through as well and to be honest I don’t really know why. It doesn’t really add anything to the album for me except giving me a sleepy head. “Our World Grey” is a different story though. Even with the soft clean introduction the song always feels like it’s moving to places. Another song that I strongly liked if the band is heading in this direction of sound. The song lights up as soon as the introduction ends and the electric guitars hit you in the face. The softer parts of the album (like many other albums) really make you appreciate the electric parts a lot more.
Son, I loved you at your lightest
Come Now Sleep
is an adequate title for a CD that contains some moments of melodic power yet will put most metalheads into a coma. Fans of the old As Cities Burn really need to take caution and look into this before they waste their money. For fans of Circa Survive, old Death Cab For Cutie, and new Brand New you should eat this album up right away.
The guitar work is quite amazing on the clean, twangy side of things but my only complaint is the diversity of tone that is used throughout the album which seems the same in all the songs. The effects layered on the guitar is another high point on this album that creates mood with a sense of balance and emotion. With this album As Cities Burn returns in full stride with some minor snores that gives this band great potential.