Christian Artists To Know: As Cities Burn


As Cities Burn
Genre: Rock
Styles: Screamo, Progressive, Post-hardcore
Location: Mandeville, LA
Label: Solid State/Tooth & Nail Records
Christian label: No
Category: The Message whats this?

The world of underground rock and hardcore can be a roller coaster for most artists.  With fickle but devoted fans, little to no money, and an ongoing pressure to be relevant and innovative, most bands crumble under the pressure.  It is some where in the middle of never giving up and innovation that we find a band that knows this all to well,  As Cities Burn.

Their first release, Son, I loved You At Your Darkest, was a breathe of fresh air for many hard music fans. Instead of slick production and overdone song-writing, As Cities Burn decided to keep their sound raw and open.  With songs that twist and turn through feelings of remorse, redemption, and searching, As Cities Burn in one album single handily brought the intelligence back to heavy music.  Their lyrics were deep, openly talking about their faith in a way that both believers and the world could understand. Not only celebrating the love of Christ, but also exploring the struggles that all believers experience here on Earth. While the music was loud and heavy, it sounded more progressive and emotional than that scene had seen in a long time. The songs were unpredictable, most times throwing mellower, melodic parts in places that seemed strange, and bursts of heavy raw emotion would erupt like fireworks from those softer areas. Midway through 2006, As Cities Burn had secured a spot in peoples hearts as the leaders of their own brand of art-rock and hardcore.

It was at this time that the band announced that they were going to be breaking up.

I usually don’t like to give big histories in these posts, but understanding that this band not only looked extinction in the face and came back, but also changed their sound in a way that they were able to once again blow people away without losing their core spirit, is nothing short of incredible.  Due to the out cry from fans, As Cities Burn decided to continue on with a few changes.  The most obvious was the replacement of vocalist and frontman TJ Bonett with younger brother Cody. The other was the embrace of a new sound, more focused on melody than hardcore. Somehow, without anybody knowing, As Cities Burn had become a progressive rock band.  The greatest thing is that it doesn’t matter.  The newer sound is just as emotionally driven and honest, allowing you to get lost in a sea of pleading vocals and gritty guitars.  Cody’s heart-breaking lyrics lend themselves to As Cities Burn‘s sound, and the evolution of the band was well received by fans and critics alike.

The band still plays the music that made them a household name (well some households at least), and they are able to seamlessly blend the newer material in with old. Their shows are still full of energy and expression, and the fans have never left their side.

To showcase the two sides and sounds of the bands, I wanted to share two videos. The first is a live video taped at Cornerstone Festival in 2006. It features the original crew including CJ.  This is the song “Love At Our Throats”

The second video marks the band’s triumphant return with the song “Empires”. With more focus on melody, the band never lost their core sound, and were able to take what people had loved so much about them while still creating something new.

As Cities Burns have done a lot in their short time as a band (in one form or another).  Most bands do not survive official break ups and the loss of a frontman. Most bands also don’t get some many fans begging them to come back that the have no choice but to figure out a way. With Cody at the helm, the band will continue to change the perception of the band and the music that comes from the underground Christian world.  I will say that if you didn’t like the first video, or heard As Cities Burn in their first version, please give them another try with Cody.  With As Cities Burns, you are the one truly missing out.

You can buy As Cities Burns music digitally on As Cities Burn and Amazon

You can also get their CDs on Amazon:

Son, I Loved You at Your Darkest

Come Now Sleep

Hell or High Water (released on 4/21/09)


  1. tiago says:

    I have to agree with everything said above. IMHO, they’re one of the greatest Christian bands around…

  2. morris says:

    it’s so sad that they broke up…

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