This week’s arbitrary Friday special (a thing I’ve invented): As Cities Burn’s 2005 full-length debut Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest.
Summed up in three words: post-hardcore perfection. For what it’s worth, the title is not a direct recitation of a bible verse, but its implication (and also, length) dictates the thematic content therein.
The first time I saw ACB live was at Cornerstone Florida the same year Son was released, on a blistering May afternoon (it is Florida, after all). I was a casual listener of theirs up to that point – but that show changed my opinion of the band forever. Playing with his new band The Chariot, Josh Scogin joined the band on-stage for “Admission: Regret” and I knew at once that this was a special group.
Thematically, Son is steeped in Judeo-Christian ideals, as are most of the albums released on Tooth & Nail/Solid State from that period. I’ve written at length on the bands from that era. It also has inspired me to create a list of the best T&N releases, and that will be coming soon.
The only other label that dominated as much as T&N did during that period was Fueled By Ramen. Now look at both of them: all dried up. Can’t go to those wells anymore, kids.
It seems that I most enjoy bands that utilize two vocalists. This is the only album on which TJ Bonnette, brother of guitarist/vocalist Cody Bonnette, appears on the whole of the record (he does make a spot appearance on their last full length, Hell or High Water). There’s an excellent balance between TJ’s screaming and Cody’s clean vocals.
Son is unreal from beginning to end: downright ripping just 5 seconds into opening track “Thus From My Lips, by Yours, My Sin is Purged” to the Cody’s gentle crooning to close “Of Want and Misery: The Nothing That Kills.” Post-hardcore can’t get much better than this.
The problem is that so many people will needlessly overlook Son because it’s “religiousy.” That’s stupid. If you’re like that, don’t be. Don’t be foolish. If you can manage to get through a Mattie Montgomery sermon at a For Today show, give this a shot, jabroni.
This album also gets dubbed as “screamo.” Shut up. It’s not.
A few of the tracks here are phenomenal bursts of energy equaled out by beautiful, ambient, feedback-riddled guitarscapes: for example, the opening track and “Bloodsucker, pt. 2” and “Wake Dead Man, Wake.” This is an indication of things to come, as TJ would leave the band after SILYAYD before ACB’s next release, the equally-good (but genre-bending and defying) Come Now Sleep.
Sticking out like a bloodied nose is “The Widow” – in which Cody Bonnette takes lead vocal duties (again, an allusion to his takeover on CNS) and kills it. His warbling voice is as sincere as it gets as he tells the story of a father leaving behind three children and his wife for drugs.
If SILYAYD doesn’t get your blood pumping, nothing will, and you are likely dead. One of the best releases period from Camp Tooth & Nail.
From their perfect 2005 release Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest, this is As Cities Burn’s “Bloodsucker, pt. 2” –
Standout tracks: “Admission: Regret”; “Incomplete is a Leech”; “Thus from My Lips, by Yours, My Sin Is Purged”
Weakest track: I vacillate between liking and disliking a couple of tracks at times, but as of this writing, I didn’t flinch at any of them.
RIYL: Post-hardcore, hardcore. Any of the “good” Solid State/Tooth & Nail Bands.