As Cities Burn – Hell or High Water

By Stephen M on March-27-2009 | Filed under Reviews | Tags : | Share

As Cities Burn – Hell or High Water
Score: 5/5Score: 5/5Score: 5/5Score: 5/5Score: 5/55
4.7 (7 votes)

Band: As Cities Burn
Title: Hell or High Water
Label: Tooth and Nail
Release Date: April 21/2009
Review By: Stephen M

  1. 84’ Sheepdog
  2. Errand Rum
  3. Into The Sea
  4. Made Too Pretty
  5. Lady Blue
  6. Petty
  7. Daughter
  8. Pirate Blues
  9. Capo
  10. Gates

As Cities Burn comes out with their third release titled Hell or High Water and right out of the gates you witness their originality and heartfelt honest lyrics that will have indie progressive rock fans left absorbed by the music As Cities Burn creates.

This album takes the sound of their predecessor released in 2007 titled Come Now Sleep one step further. It is instrumentally familiar to what you have heard in their previous release, but this one is stripped down even more. From their debut album As Cities Burn has changed a lot from their departure of T.J Bonnette to Cody Bonnette taking lead vocals. There is a good mix between slow and fast tempo songs and the progression leading up to a change of tempo in the songs is also done well. This is one of the most profound, thought provoking, ambient and groovy pieces of music that I have ever come across. This release sums up As Cities Burn’s musical evolution thus far.

I can’t think of anything I didn’t enjoy in this CD. The guitars, keyboards, drums and vocals went together so well to create an epic sound that can be listened to over and over again with not a glimpse of boredom. The lyrics are incredibly deep and honest. In the song “Made Too Pretty”, “I think we were made to pretty, were caught up in a stare we cannot break, we know nothing changes too slowly, someday we might calm down, but who’s to really say.” In the song “Pirate Blues” right from the beginning they sing “Before you, your Mom and Dad used to smoke in the Texan sun, they were young ones too. Your mom, she found Jesus, while your old man stepped out and drew up his veins.” I am not to sure of the stories behind the lyrics but most of the songs seem to tell of an experience someone had and how God and Jesus came into it. The lyrics are emotionally honest and down to earth. If I could do a whole review on their lyrics I would without a doubt. There is so much to cover, but I will leave some of that for you.

You will notice similarities between some of the songs in this CD with some of their previous work. Such songs like “Into the Sea” will ring familiar but a more matured sound and is sure to be a favorite. There are a lot of songs that take As Cities Burn to the next level and will be sure to be appreciated by fans. Though it is hard for me to pick some of my favorites on this CD, I think songs like “Pirate Blues”, “Capo” and “Lady Blue” will have wise listeners attached to the fresh musically progressive record As Cities Burn has created. 

Reviewing this CD has been the highlight for me so far this year and makes it a serious contender for Album Of The Year. I deeply encourage everyone who enjoys Indie Rock music to pick up this CD on April 21st.

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As Cities Burn - Hell or High Water, 4.7 out of 5 based on 7 ratings

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105 Responses to 'As Cities Burn – Hell or High Water'

  1. casey says:

    did anyone notice that in the lyric booklet, it says that cody played bass? it doesn’t even have colin’s name in it for any of the songs. someone please clear this up

  2. The Gloamglozer says:

    Such a great album! cannot stop listening to it.

  3. George says:

    Yeah, what’s the deal with the “Hail Evil” in the Pirate Blues lyric sheet? Is it a joke? typo?

  4. DaGuitarMaster says:

    that’s weird about that hail evil thing. i read the lyrics to the cd on http://www.bandsonfire.com, and i never caught that. and where the previous guy said that it said “Jesus how did you get so ugly”, i never caught that. online, that part of the song says “If we are the Body, how did the pretty man get so ugly…how did he get so many spaces between his ribs” or something like that. sounds like if htey really wrote those things in the lyrics, they aren’t really a christian band. thats fine and all (the members are all christians) but, looking back at their 2 previous releases, you would think they would be a christian band.

  5. TylerS says:

    i think the “Jesus how did you get so ugly” part is about how badly the church represents Him at times, hence “If we are the Body, how did THE pretty man get so ugly”…i see the basically the whole album being about that

  6. George says:

    The “Jesus how’d you get so ugly” makes sense. He’s making a statement about how we “the body of Christ” make him look- very ugly at times. But the ‘hail evil’ still boggles me.

  7. cody says:

    Look at the lyrics of Into The Sea and then read Matthew 21: 18-22

  8. Micah says:

    To- The Gloamglozer, and every one else I have looked at the lyrics of pirate blues and it does not say “hail evil” anywhere in the song if it did it would be very easy to hear cause of the way its recorded. and honestly I don’t know who would say they put that in there whoever did screw with the lyrics and told you that needs help, cause I can’t hear it anywhere.

  9. Stephen M says:

    Cody – That is very cool. I love that story in Matthew and it is just parallel with that song. Thanks for point that out.

  10. TylerS says:

    i haven’t got out to get a copy yet, but my friend says there’s a hidden track before the first track…is this true??

  11. The Gloamglozer says:

    Yes.

  12. George says:

    To Micah, You are correct it does not say hail evil anywhere in the song- it says it in the

  13. George says:

    To Micah, You are correct it does not say hail evil anywhere in the song- it says it in the LYRIC BOOKLET, the linear notes.

    Also, does anyone know the lyrics to the hidden track? I can’t make out a couple lines.

  14. TylerS says:

    if i can add my two cents again – as i said before i think the whole album is about how the church misrepresents Christ a lot. I haven’t actually seen the “Hail evil and I

  15. bobbythebuff says:

    i like your interpretation TylerS. I cant believe how big of a deal this one piece of lyric is. So what if he says “hail evil”. I would say we all hail evil just by sinning because sin is evil.. is it not?

  16. George says:

    You guys are idiots. The lyric booklet says “Hail evil and done.” This is not even remotely close to something a Christian would say to a non-believer. Some of you guys will stretch anything to fit your perspectives. Anyway, I’m done with this website.

    • John says:

      Seriously? If you’re going to call the good people on here “idiots,” then I’m entitled to call you “blind and mentally retarded.” Because that’s what your statement sounds like.

    • schlottermann says:

      It’s been 11 months.

      Reminds me of that joke about the snail who was sitting on a bar counter. The bartender flicked the snail onto the floor. Six minutes later the snail showed up on the counter again. Then the snail said, “what did you do that for?”

      Just saying…

  17. Mike M says:

    hmm… that wasn’t very nice. Jesus Loves You!

  18. Colt says:

    George, I would hope you wouldn’t leave IVM based on a petty disagreement. That is like a church split over the color of the carpet in the sanctuary (which is ridiculous). TylerS and everyone else has a right to their own opinion… not to mention their own suggestion. No one is forcing you to believe what another person believes.

    To use the cliche: Don’t throw the Indie Vision Music out along with the proverbial bath water you disagree with. ;)

  19. tyler h says:

    but “idiots” IS something you would say to a believer?

  20. Brandon says:

    I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion but to leave our website is just sad. Oh well. It was nice knowing you.

  21. Stephen M says:

    Still one of my top bids for album of the year, and now that they are broken up, it might even be more so.

  22. fusse says:

    Yay. I just got the album. Came home from a trip and it was right here waiting on my desk, finally. gotta go listen! :)

  23. Dan says:

    Amazing, incredible album. I liked it so much that I went back and got their previous album (had never heard before). The lyrics are sooooooo good. The raw indie/rock sound is amazing, the drums are amazing. Did they really break up?

  24. Alexis says:

    100 posts :D

  25. Manuel says:

    Why more so now that they are broken up, Stephen?

  26. jody says:

    hey are they still together?

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