STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 151936-22822 LABEL: Tooth & Nail 810488021073 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2014-08-01 RRP: £13.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Goodbyes are always difficult and when the Florida-based hitmakers announced they were calling it a day and began work on this, their final album, the difficulty was increased in that each band member recorded his contribution in a different studio. The fact then that the Anberlin swansong has such a cohesive feel is a tribute to the band members' skills. The move into an electronic-tinged heavy metal infused sound which began with 2009's 'Dark Is The Way, Light Is The Place' continues and very powerful it is too while songsmith Stephen Christian has written some of his best ever songs for this set. The lead single "Stranger Ways" begins with some sparse guitar picking before slowly building with crescendos of rhythm and some new wave-style synths emerging on the track's surface. The surprise cut on this album is "Dissenter", with Stephen going for all-out screaming while "Velvet Covered Brick" and "Hearing Voices" are full of impactful guitars and synths interlocking behind Christian's soaring vocals. As any Anberlin fan will attest, Christian is also no average lyricist. "Atonement" is clearly a comment on Anberlin ending their tenure: "I found peace in a foreign atonement/I've lost myself in the tides of a moment/But my heart's where I'm going." My favourite tracks are "Armageddon" with its doomy atmosphere and the wistfully melodic closer "Harbinger". All in all, this is a fitting farewell to a great rock band.
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The members of Anberlin started collecting new material at the end of last year. The idea was not to crank out as many songs as possible but to actually focus on crafting solidly good ideas that melded each musician’s individual tastes and influences.
“We were really honest with each, probably more so than in the past,” Young says. “You have to come to a point where, with different opinions, there’s no right or wrong. There was a fearlessness which was really freeing and exciting for all of us. To just not have to think about anything else except what’s the best thing for the song.”
Some of the album’s lyrics address the band’s end and history. “I know there are going to be a lot of questions as to why we decided to break up and I explain it all in the song Atonement,” Christian says. “And I want to make sure that the our fans and friends know that we will always remember them, and the moments spent with them were some of the greatest of my entire life. I tried to convey that in the song Harbinger.” Another track, Stranger Ways, first appeared in demo form in the band’s farewell video earlier this year.