As Cities Burn - Come Now Sleep (Cover Artwork)

As Cities Burn

Come Now Sleep (2007)

Solid State / Tooth & Nail

As Cities Burn's album Come Now Sleep begins with the song "Contact," a track nearly seven minutes long with lead singer Cody Bonnette rarely raising his voice above a whisper. It is a clear statement that this album is not going to resemble anything like the group's first effort, Son, I Loved You at Your Darkest, a nuevo-screamo album that worked hard to set itself apart from its contemporaries. The loss of lead screamer T.J. Bonnette and the subsequent decision to not replace him but rather continue as a four-piece with brother Cody handling all of the vocal duties leads itself to a moodier, more melodic effort than the previous.

I'll start with what is different. Obviously, the lack of heavy screaming immediately sets the album apart from its predecessor, but the singing itself is more restrained with Bonnette often singing in lower registers. The songs are longer too, with half the songs breaking the five-minute mark. The songs also take in a lot more ambient noises and experiment with different techniques that produce a very lush and warm soundscape. This provides a nice contrast with heavy lyrical subject matter -- for example, the middle track "Clouds" plays various people's responses to the question of who they think God is and plays them over them over each other until the halfway mark where Bonnette's vocals come in and the music begins its crescendo into what has become the classic As Cities Burn sound with its circular guitar lines and heavy rhythm section that thunders through until the end.

That "sound," however, is still what marks this album as unique from its contemporaries and ties this album back to their older material (this reviewer thought the band would have been better served by a name change, but I digress). Even in the dirge-like closing track "Timothy," ACB proves that they can create atmospheres that range from the chaotic and energetic to the subdued and moody even within the same song. While those looking for a Son, I Loved You at Your Darkest part two will probably be disappointed, those who really appreciated their lyrics and musicality will find ways to enjoy this album. I hope the band can keep a lineup for more than two albums so we can see how things develop from here.