Humankind is united in its search for meaning, for greater truths, to solve the mysteries of life, death, God and the afterlife. These themes run a similar thread through Come Now Sleep, the new album from As Cities Burn. Sleep can be a momentary reprieve from heartache and to some, even an invitation to the great beyond. Thankfully, As Cities Burn is still around (both as people and as a collective unit) to continue to make music.
Rumors of As Cities Burn’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.
It may seem hyperbolic to paraphrase a famous Southerner when talking about the career of an alternately melodic but always heavy and progressive rock band, but the passionate diehards who have followed the Baton Rouge, Louisiana band’s emotion-fueled live shows and twisting, turning and churning compositions since the release of their monumental 2004 debut, Son, I Loved You at Your Darkest are all too aware that their brand new incredible follow-up, Come Now Sleep, nearly never came at all.
As Cities Burn’s much buzzed about 2006 “farewell tour” was thankfully premature. “We decided to breakup when [original vocalist] T.J. [Bonnette] said he was leaving to because he was getting married. We had been touring probably too much at the time, and morale was pretty low, and we didn’t think we had it in us to replace him,” explains guitarist Cody Bonnette, who has since taken over most of the vocals from his brother.
On that “final” tour, something unexpected happened. The shows were packed. Kids were sticking around afterward to confess to the band how much their songs had meant to them, how they had helped them through hard times, how much they would be missed. Silently at first, each of the band’s remaining four members (guitarist Christopher Lott, bass player Colin Kimble, drummer Aaron Lunsford and Cody) realized they didn’t want to let As Cities Burn go. But it wasn’t until a close friend of theirs sat them down that they started talking about it with each other. Hesitantly, the band decided to continue.
Originally the plan was to have T.J. sing on a new album (though he wouldn’t commit to touring) but that wasn’t in the cards for As Cities Burn. “When we started writing, T.J. couldn’t make it to practices because he had a job and lived three hours away,” Cody says. “I was singing the words at practice just to have an idea about the vocals. Eventually, we realized it was best to let T.J. move on. I took over the vocals for good.”
And thank heavens for that, because Come Now Sleep surpasses its predecessor with an abundance of creative ambition, stark honesty, depth and diversity. As Cities Burn have emerged stronger, faster, leaner, and even more thoroughly melodic than before, with none of their heavy instincts abandoned and nearly all of their potential fulfilled.
As Cities Burn began to tour full time in September of 2003. By February 2004 the band had covered the entire nation, playing nearly 100 shows in 6 months. The band played over 250 shows in 2004 - without ANY label support. Now poised with their debut full-length, "Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest," As Cities Burn are carving a name for themselves through undying devotion to life on the road and to each other.