As Cities Burn - Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

As Cities Burn

Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest (2005)

Solid State

As Cities Burn may be yet another singing/screaming post-hardcore signing by Solid State Records, but fortunately, Solid State signs some solid (no pun intended) and enjoyable acts (see also: Underoath, Dead Poetic, He Is Legend), none of which are responsible for overt preachiness as well. Despite the notable absence of some strong tracks and scattered spots of overambition, As Cities Burn's debut Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest is relatively hard to disassociate with this group.

As abovementioned, the band could be filed in fairly easily with those three, but they strive for some more complex guitars of the atmospheric, wall-of-sound variety á la label alum Beloved. Sure, there's spots of melody, but it's not quite floating on the surface as often as the band is breaking free from verse-chorus form and opting instead for instrumental-dependent tracks. It's far more creative than most of their genre-mates if not a bit noodly at points (closer "Of Want And Misery: The Nothing That Kills" trudges through a 7-minute running time with little to offer besides a delicate piano/vocal segue) and marginally clustered, thus acting as little more than enjoyable white noise, maybe "gray noise" standing alone. "Love Jealous One, Love" takes advantage of the soft, washy guitars slowly declining in aural power as light gang chants help fade out the track, and it's further proof of the band's flawless ability to mix the different vocal styles of their genre without ever coming off forced or proficiently deficient.

While lead singer T.J. Bonnette is amiably capable of his role as the screaming vocalist for the band, it's his melodic counterpart and apparent brother, guitarist Cody Bonnette, that provides the more interesting parts of the disc. It's pretty much a hook any time Cody, who resembles Circa Survive's Anthony Green, opens his mouth, as in his line of "and ohhhh how sweet, the sound" in opener "Thus From My Lips, By Yours, My Sin Is Purged," or in "Bloodsucker Pt. II" with the line of "you can have it if means that muuuch to you..." He essentially provides any catchiness Darkest has to offer, even if it's one of the disc's few, slower and more vocal-dependent tracks like "The Widow."

Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest might come as a bit of fresh air to some looking for a slight reinvention to the style, but for me it hasn't been filtered enough through various elements standing in its way for it to be a thoroughly great album. Regardless, there's a ton of potential being carried here if nothing else, and it's likely the followup will offer much more.

Thus From My Lips, By Yours, My Sin Is Purged
Bloodsucker Pt. II
Terrible! How Terrible For The Great City!