Release DetailsLABEL Tooth And Nail Records
RELEASED ON 6/21/2005
As Cities Burn
Son, I Loved You at Your...
posted on 7/2005 By:
I have thusly shunned mix of emo and metalcore that has plagued these ears; Taking Back Sunday, A Day to Remember, The Cardinal Effect, Hawthorne Heights-all commercialized emo whining superficially flocked by ‘metal’ to garner to the undecided Hot Topic masses. Well throw in a gregarious religious mantra and you’d think I’d be ranting about As Cities Burn, as they encompass all of the above with a religious fervor that’s borderline zealot. Well, as it turns out As Cities Burn isn’t that bad at all despite their best efforts to incur my wrath. In fact it’s pretty stunning.
I was partially drawn to this CD by virtue of the dramatic album title and song titles. While not a religious person at all, the title, Son, I Loved You at your Darkest hit a moral chord with my wayward lifestyle. The song names also resonated with my sinful side: “Thus From My Lips, by Yours, My Sin is Purged”, “Love Jealous One, Love”, “Wake Dead Man, Wake” and “Admission: Regret” all seemed to ring true with something deep inside of me. Fear not loyal readers, I’m not about to be reborn of find Christ, but the esoteric, meaningful themes of this album, certainly appealed to more than just my metal persona, there’s a deeper conviction to this band than most Christian metal I’ve listened too recently and it actually effected me personally. It’s weird
Any way, enough rambling, other than the lyrics and dramatic themes of the album, the music is superbly done. While certainly fitting in the emo/metal genre, the actual metal of As Cities Burn is more than a superficial punk tangent. It’s shimmering drawn out harmonies, soaring grandiose harmonies and creative emotional climaxes. It actually sounds a lot like a slower, more direct Shai Hulud in the sort of “metacorechestration’ sound. It’s not superfluous or mindlessly parlayed into power chords or MTV friendly structures; there’s a real resonance here in the riffs and graceful harmonies. Of course, there are plenty of clean poppy vocals but its never the verse/chorus tripe or whiny enough to be annoying, they generally compliment and offset the stark, convincing screams of TJ Bonnette, who sounds utterly convincing as a mouth piece for concerned and fearful Christians wailing at the state of the world and this listener. The clean vocals are very reminiscent of From Autumn to Ashes, but when delivering lines like “My God, what a world you love, where men bury their sons and without thought just walk away” or “But I believe there is something here to be learned from grace, cos I can’t help love you even with a heart that breaks like the promises you made” and “Shame is the anchor around my ankles, shame keeps me low and close to the bottom....where pride has never been and never will”. Even a salty atheist like me is moved. There are also plenty of stark acoustic moments (“Terrible! How Terrible for the Great City”, “The Widow”, “Of Want and Misery: The Nothing That Kills”), but they come across as genuine moments of religious emotive angst and internal strife rather piecemeal holier than thou injections or preachy type attitudes.
Now this album isn’t all hugs and kisses, the music is stirring and often emotionally rending, with soaring, multilayered riffs that match the eloquence of the lyrics. Particularly striking tracks “Incomplete is a Leech”, “Wake Dead Man, Wake” and “Admission:Regret” glisten with dexterous melody, yet grainy heartfelt rage driven by need to truly affect the listener’s moral compass. Each time I listened to the album I really did feel effected and something stirs in my heart-something not many other albums have done. And it’s not because this is a fantastic album, it won’t even make my top ten list, but the mix of the truly epic melodies and dramatically effective lyrics actually moved me. And at time when my personal life needs something slightly more uplifting than woe, death and grgrgrgrgrgrgrgrgrgggaaahhhhh, As Cities Burns remains a settling yet rousing clarion call for change. And this was accomplished through actual song writing and heartfelt lyrics I identified with.
I’m sure most of you will think I’ve gone of my rocker not only for openly enjoying yet another Christian metal album, but for choosing this review to bare my soul. I DON’T CARE. The sermon this album delivers musically and lyrically is as moving as anything I’ve heard, and it’s an album that give me a mental and metal respite from gore, zombies and Satan.
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