As Cities Burn – Chains (New Music)

Breaking a ten year hiatus, Louisiana post-hardcore band As Cities Burn have marked their return by announcing upcoming album Scream Through The Walls, and the release of new single “Chains”. The band’s previously released single “2020 AD” will appear on the album, which releases on 7th June via Equal Vision Records.

As well as the album marking the return of the band, it will also be the first release for the project with the collaboration of brothers Cody and TJ Bonnette since the release of Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest in 2005. The quartet is completed by Aaron Lunsford and Hunter Walls.

About the return to where they began, with line-up and stylistic changes along the way, TJ shares that As Cities Burn has always been about creating music that is real and true to themselves. “We didn’t know that things would circle back around allowing us to work on another album together, but life’s a crazy thing.”

“Chains” foreshadows its themes with a quote by novelist, essayist, and columnist Florence King at the start of the music video: “People are so busy dreaming the American Dream, fantasizing about what they could be or have a right to be, that they’re all asleep at the switch.”  The homely scene we’re shown afterward might as well reflect the American Dream in action, before it’s interrupted by screams of “He’s got a gun!” alongside sung vocals. The calm commentary blended with fear, tension, and alarm describing the scene of a man with a gun smacks of a media fixation with horrific crime and how it influences us.

“Gave me a good scare.
It was enough to keep me inside.”

Gradually this cosy home comes undone, while a sense of urgency ripples through the song. It’s an adventure of a song, captivating by way of what’s shared visually and sonically; following the thread of emotion as well as watching what these guys do in this house. Moments like “I’m in this too” seemed to reflect the way in which we’re all contained in some way – chained, even! – despite believing in freedom and being encased in pretty houses.

There’s something about the music video for “Chains” (directed by Israel Anthem) that got me from first viewing: The simple moving of curtains on their, the changes in lighting reflecting different emotional states, and the placement, stillness, and unflinching staring of band members while others are destroying the joint beside them. There’s something about this that came across as being very fitting for the ways we might see society degrade around us while not necessarily reacting or responding.

Most satisfyingly (for me, anyway!), “Chains” leads to something more hopeful than horrifying toward its end. The American Dream-house has crumbled around As Cities Burn, and the sense of frustration and tension has faded away. What’s underneath the trappings of fame and fortune? “A level plane”. Distorted gang vocals inspire something more unifying than cages constructed by fear or greed: “Love is the end, love is the means”.

Watch “Chains” below, and pre-order Scream Through The Walls now via MerchNOW:

[Promo image courtesy of Alex Bemis]
Kel Burch

Creator and caretaker of Depth Mag, Kel uses her superpowers of empathy, word-weaving, and feeling everything deeply, to immerse herself in music before returning to reality to write about her experience with it. [Loved the read? Shout Kel a latte.]

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