It’s been around ten years since As Cities Burn recorded new music (Hell of High Water – which came before their first break – was a 2009 release), so fans of their reign are probably curious to hear how the band has changed since then, if at all. With Scream Through the Walls, the band has returned with a little more ambition pumped into their writing; it’s not a huge shift by any mans, but there are plenty of little touches throughout the album. The earliest example comes immediately with “Live Convinced,” which utilizes an in-and-out breakage of audio in its opening. It’s not nearly as dynamic as it should have been, but it’s something that grows on the listener over time. There’s also “Hollowed Out,” which features spin work on some of the vocals in the background, creating an element of mental chaos (appropriate, considering the lyrics). It’s also one of the top tracks of the record, alongside the single, “2020 AD,” which has some subtle, yet unforgettable group vocals, as well as the most balanced sound of the songs in this collection. Actually, the same could be said about “Chains,” which is also easily accessible, memorable, and satisfyingly written (“the blind leading the blind, leading the blind”).
As Cities Burn mostly just stumble during their slower periods, which tend to blend together. For example, “Blind Spot” and “Ventures” are set back-to-back, and do little to get the listener’s attention. Luckily, they act as a bridge to the excellent finale, “Die Contrary,” perhaps making the close a little stronger as a result. Nevertheless, Scream Through the Walls acts as a great comeback for a band that’s been in and out of the picture for too long. Hopefully, this album will keep them around for a while and writing/recording some more. As Cities Burn still have something worth saying and hearing.