Oh, Sleeper Posts New Music Video

Below is the latest music video from Solid State Records metalcore band Oh, Sleeper with their song “The Finisher”. The track comes from their stellar 2009 album, Son Of The Morning, and features the band doing their thing intermingled with some cool looking animations. ENJOY!!

Christian Artists To Know: As Cities Burn

ascitiesburn

As Cities Burn
Genre: Rock
Styles: Screamo, Progressive, Post-hardcore
Location: Mandeville, LA
Label: Solid State/Tooth & Nail Records
Myspace: myspace.com/ascitiesburn
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)

Christian Artists To Know: Underoath

Underoath
Genre: Metal
Styles: metalcore, screamo, post-hardcore
Location: Tampa, FL
Label: Solid State/Tooth & Nail
Website: www.underoath777.com
Myspace: www.myspace.com/underoath
Christian label: yes
Category: The Message whats this?

There are not many bands out there that define a genre. For many bands in the hard to grasp music style that combines heavy guitars, rock beats, and both screaming and clean vocals, it is hard to describe the sound of the music to other people.  For the last several years, however, most fans will just say “They sound like Underoath”.  The six-piece screamo band out of Tampa were not the first to play this type of music, but for the last five or six years, Underoath has been the leader of their scene.

The band formed in 1998, before (now only original) band member, Aaron Gillespie, could drive.  In the beginning, he and original frontman Dallas Taylor (now frontman for Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster), envisioned their group as a black metal band. However, after many line-up changes, growing musical abilities and tastes, Underoath settled on the sound that would make their career with their 2000 release, The Changing OF Times.  At their core, Underoath was, and still is a metal band. The music is heavy, the vocals (for the most part) are screamed, and songs are aggressive. However, the 2002 release saw new tweaks to the sound, such as clean vocals and more of a rock progression, along with a strong electronic element added by new member Christopher Dudley.  The fan reaction was mixed, but Underoath had blazed new ground, and The Changing Of Times brought on a new era of heavy music.

By 2003, Taylor had departed, and he was replaced by long time friend Spencer Chamberlain. With a new, more focused attitude, Underoath released They’re Only Chasing Safety in 2004. The album polarized the band’s sound, making the heavy parts more brutal, but also exploring Gillespie’s melodic ability more often. The CD would be Underoath‘s best received album yet, selling almost 100,000 copies in its first week. Since that time, the band has released two more CDs (Define The Great Line, Lost In The Sound Of Seperation), a live CD/DVD and has been the headliner for the Van’s Warped Tour and The Taste Of Chaos tours. Despite their success, the band has always taken their music seriously, and with every album has tried to draw more and more out of the genre that they helped create.

At the forefront of everything the band has achieved, Underoath has always been very open with their faith.  Every song has dealt with some level of the member’s walk with Christ, and the band has never been afraid to talk about their beliefs.  Yet again, Underoath were innovators in their scene, paving the way for bands like Emery, Norma Jean, and As I Lay Dying to both maintain their musical heaviness, but also be open about their relationship’s with Christ.  Both Gillespie and Chamberlain have both said that their faith is the only reason the band exists, and will fuel the music until the end of Underoath‘s run.

Here is the band doing what they do best, performing “Writing On The Walls” live in 07

and here is their latest video “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures”

Underoath might just be the most prominent Christian band out there. They have been able to cross over every obstacle that has been put in front of them, and the band just continues to grow.  I can’t express to you how important these guys are. They have done so much for Christian music, and heavy music, in the mainstream eye, that there is just no telling where these guys will go next.

Find Underoath’s music digitally on Underoath

You can also get their CDs on Amazon: The Changing of Times(2002), They’re Only Chasing Safety(2004), Define the Great Line (2006), Survive, Kaleidoscope(2008), Lost in the Sound of Separation(2008)

Christian Artists To Know: August Burns Red

august burns red live

August Burns Red
Genre: Metal
Styles: metalcore, hardcore, mosh
Location: Lancaster, PENN
Label: Solid State/Tooth and Nail
Website/Myspace: www.myspace.com/augustburnsred
Christian label: yes
Category: The Message whats this?

If you are in to heavy music, you know that the term “Christian metal” has always seemed to be some what of a joke to the general public.  How can a group of peace loving believers create any type of hard, aggressive music that could even hope to compete in the headbanging scene?  Enter August Burns Red. This five-piece from Pennsylvania is no joke, and in their short career they have proven to be one of the most dominate forces in heavy music today.  They started playing music before most of the guys were even out of high school, but since 2004 ABR has been creating some of the most technical and brutal metal/hardcore out there.

Their latest achievement is Messengers, released in 2007, it combines the best of mosh inducing breakdowns with true musicianship and introspective lyrics.  Their songs deal with questioning mainstream ideology, forgiveness and redemption, separating them from their dark and doomy secular counterparts.  They have been touring non-stop since the release of Messengers in 2007, and are finally settling down to write and record a new album some time in 2009. Their latest achievements include a instrumental version of “Carol Of The Bells” which will appear on the Tooth and Nail compilation Christmas X, and a version of Britney Spear‘s “Hit Me Baby One More Time” which will end up on Fearless Records When Punk Goes Pop 2.

Here is their amazing video for the the song “Composure”. The song deals with letting go of your past and letting yourself move on.  The video is a great testament to their performance style and ability to communicate issues of the heart through heavy music.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qtk9c6ZGcM

I have been following the career of these guys since I first heard about them signing to Solid State several years ago. I have to say that their name and look really threw me off at the beginning, but once I heard their debut, Thrill Seeker, I have been a fan ever since.  This band is simply one of the most solid heavy bands I have ever listened to, and they deserve all the success that God grants them. If you are in to heavy music, you owe it to yourself to check them out.

You can get August Burns Red’s music digitally on August Burns Red

You can also get their CDs on Amazon: Looks Fragile After All(reissued EP from 2004), Thrill Seeker(2005), Messengers(2007), Lost Messengers: The Outtakes(2009)