Reviewed by Ewan Jones
This is the fifth album from the Florida-based band who, after major success on Tooth & Nail, have continued to connect with America's rock audience with albums on Universal. This is their second for the major, released in 2010, which debuted on America's mainstream album chart at number nine. Opening with a storming riff, pounding drums and Stephen Christian's unmistakable voice pleading, "We owe this to ourselves/We can't just let this go" 'Dark Is The Way. . .' grabs you by the throat and demands that you listen. While not reaching the raucous pace of its opener (or previous albums) again over its 41 minutes, nobody can accuse the band of losing an ounce of passion. Anberlin are a band who have always been comfortable playing with dynamics and, like fellow rockers Thrice and Mae, their sound has developed and matured into something less comfortably defined as either straight ahead punk or indeed emo. On production duties this time around is veteran Brendan O'Brien who doesn't put a foot wrong delivering songs that sound both epic and intimate. Christian's lyrics are frequently written as questions - "Pray Tell" reads like a one-sided conversation between God and a reluctant seeker, "Why do you hide your face from me?/I'm the only one that can save you now" while the theme of struggling relationships in exemplified in "Art Of War" ("There are songs, I'll never write/Because of you, walking out of my life") and "To The Wolves" ("Who needs enemies when we've got friends like you?"). Christian often writes from the point of view of one who is caught up in his own failure, regret and lack of worth singing, "Take me as you found me" ("Take Me") and, "You caught me on the way down" on acoustic track "Down" - but these are tempered with glimpses of hope as evidenced in the Dylan Thomas quote that serves as the album's title; "This journey may take you down some dark roads, but there also is a sure hope of reaching the place of light."
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