Before recording a follow-up, the band experienced a few membership changes: DeCastro and Pizzuto left and were replaced by Christian McAlhaney and Garrett Lunceford, respectively. They also enlisted Christopher Camp and Ryan Zwiefelhofer on bass duties. Their second EP, Black Lines to Battlefields, was produced by Aaron Sprinkle
) and released by the Militia Group
in 2003. It featured a tighter, less generic pop-punk sound, which helped catch the attention of both Rick Rubin
and VJ/A&R rep Matt Pinfield. However, before the band could record its debut LP for Columbia Records
, another shakeup occurred. Due to internal disagreements, Lunceford parted ways with Acceptance and was replaced. The new lineup returned to the studio, with Sprinkle
assuming production duties once again. Phantoms was released on April 26, 2005, and just over a year later, Acceptance split up.
The troubles began six months prior, when Phantoms was leaked online, allowing fans plenty of time to enjoy the album before having to pay for it. When the physical copies were finally released, they were part of a batch of controversial copy-protected releases that resulted in a major lawsuit against parent label Sony BMG
, which prompted a recall of all affected albums. Internal struggles between the band and label had also been brewing, most notably over the decision to release the ballad "Different" as the lead single, which the band felt was not representative of the album's sound as a whole. Due to the lackluster mainstream response, Columbia
ended up rejecting the band's demos for its sophomore album. These myriad issues proved insurmountable and the band decided to call it quits in the summer of 2006. Oddly enough, however, Acceptance's popularity continued to grow over the subsequent years, buffered by the enduring power of Phantoms.
On January 26, 2015, just in time for the tenth anniversary of Phantoms' release, Vena, Cloyd, McAlhaney, Zwiefelhofer, and Lunceford reconciled and reconvened, enlisting drummer Nick Radovanovic. The bandmembers announced they would be reuniting for the Skate and Surf Fest held in Asbury Park, New Jersey. A few months later, they released their first new song in ten years, "Take You Away." The comeback continued as Acceptance embarked on a short tour, returning to the studio for their sophomore set, Colliding by Design, which was released in early 2017. ~ Neil Z. Yeung, Rovi