As Cities Burn - Hell or High Water

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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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