Track By Track: As Cities Burn’s TJ Bonnette Details The Band’s First New Album in 10 Years


10 years ago, while you were busy watching the first episode of Glee and reading all about our new president Barack Obama, if someone had texted you on your iPhone 3 and told you in 2019 your favorite album was going to be from As Cities Burn, you probably wouldn’t have believed them. 

Why? Well, because the influential post-hardcore act who gave listeners the sensational Son I Loved You At Your Darkest decided to break up that year leaving many to question if they’d ever hear from Cody Bonnette and company ever again. 

Fast forward to 2019 and here we are getting ready to dive into the band’s first full-length record since their now-decade-old Tooth & Nail release Hell Or High Water. 

With unclean vocalist TJ Bonnette back at the helm re-joining his brother for the first time since their breakout debut LP, the Bonnette brothers – along with Aaron Lunsford, Stephen Keech and Hunter Walls – have come together to churn out a progressive thought-provoking 10-track album dubbed, Scream Through The Walls.

Built off the honest and raw emotions fans have come to love from As Cities Burn but still yielding unexpected twists and turns like the Matrix-esque “Blind Spots,” Scream Through The Walls has something for fans both new and old. 

Detailing their first new album since Up hit movie theaters and Kayne West interrupted Taylor Swift at the VMAs, TJ Bonnette has given The Noise an insightful look into the meaning behind his band’s new music via a track-by-track rundown. 

To read what Bonnette had to say about Scream Through The Walls, be sure to look below. Afterward, make sure to pick up a copy of As Cities Burn’s new album and grab tickets to see them out on tour with All Get Out and Many Rooms here.   


“Live Convinced” 

TJ Bonnette: This opener asks the listener to open their minds to new perspectives and make the most out of every opportunity. It is also a call to resist temptation to escape into vices when life is difficult and reminds us that the benefit of suffering or sorrow is wisdom or a lesson. We loved working with our friend Saint Pressure, who helped produce the intro.  


This song is to someone who is quick to judge and says your belief or view is delusional so I don’t respect you. Why do we stoop so low to make faceless attacks on the internet (“digital cruel talk”) ? “Give me all, make it the most potent” is saying I’m going to go all the way in my beliefs even when that makes me unaccepted or disrespected.

“2020 AD” 

This is about self-centeredness and losing touch with someone close because the distractions take away from the here and now. It questions if social media platforms bring one another or divide. Has division and distraction gotten outta hand? We had demoed this song very early on in the writing process then scratched it. We later came back and reworked it to what it is now.  

“Hollowed Out” 

When some people are depressed or have unrest in their minds they tend to isolate themselves. There is a false belief that if no one is close, no one will know I am hurting and life will carry on. But keeping it concealed makes the situation worse. “If you find you always do / gravitate to isolation / move into this empty room next to mine and we’ll scream through the walls” is an invitation to someone else in isolation. To draw near to me, in isolation myself, and we can communicate through the walls if we have to and get out of the lonely room.


This song questions why are we here? Where did we come from? Is the soul eternal? Was it around before the body? “I want you to remind me” is a request for answers from God/Creator/I AM. The chorus is saying life is a gift even though we didn’t choose to begin this life. We do have the choice to stay. 


This was the first song we demoed. It was really nice to hear this one come together. “It doesn’t matter what chains you choose…” You will be a slave to something, money, debt, substance abuse, fearful mindset, or the American way of “Step on that person’s head to get yours.” The system of “freedom” lets you decide. At the end we hope there is hope – “lay the ladder down…love is the end, love is the means.”

“Bright White Light” 

“Bright White Light my way” is a prayer for guidance from the purest source. Where is the light for our path? "Is it too late to turn back?”

“Blind Spots”

Blind spots are our flaws that we don’t see. Our loved ones can see these flaws better than us. Through intimacy and trust, those relationships help us deal with our blind spot issues. “Love come close and let me let my guard down”. Life will rough you up. You may pick up a bad habit, vice, or coping mechanism. We can help each other out by letting our guards down in loving trusting relationships.


This song is saying that if you stay in the “center of how you see it” you will not open your mind to a new perspective. When something is spinning on an axis, at the center no movement is felt. The further you venture out, the more you will feel the spin and at a higher speed. It’s frightening. Keep fighting to open the mind, don’t stay put until you die. This song is a band favorite to play live.

“Die Contrary” 

This was one of the very first songs we started writing. We love how this one came together. This song says maybe we were a substance, one with God/Creator before we arrived here. “…but something broke us in two.” Sometimes we feel distant from ourselves, others, God. Something isn’t quite right. The “bright white light” is illuminating the heavy weight of existence and consciousness. We are asking God/Creator/Source to shine through us so it’s no longer about our individual existence/ego but restoring all of life back into One. “Dark, dark crimson" is the evil that is alive in this world today, feeding on a lack of love for self, others, and God.