STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 79267-17365 LABEL: Universal Republic FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
With Anberlin's new album 'Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place' being released in the UK any day now, the review by Cross Rhythms of 'New Surrender', which made number 13 in America's mainstream album chart when released in 2008, is long overdue. First off we need to report that indie rock fans worried that the band's signing to a major label after those epic Tooth & Nail releases would result in an album containing wimpy ballads and safe suits-approved music had no need to worry. Guitarists Joseph Milligan and new addition Christian McAlhaney blast through kicking riffs and exhilarating guitar textures with the last 20 seconds of the galloping opener "The Resistance" a pummeling delight of lightning speed guitar shredding. Equally impressive is Chris Christian's voice which sounds hurt and broken one second, passionate and angry the next while the arrangements and song structure are consistently skillful with Christian able to introduce hooks strong enough for maximum radio play and "la-las", group vocals and even a children's choir, yet never sounding cheesy. When on the mid tempo "Retrace" Christian sings over the orchestrated bridge ("Photographs, they haunt me lately/Chasing shadows as the evening takes me/I'm still searching but the picture's fading") the effect is genuinely moving while the decision to re-record "Feel Good Drag" from 'Never Take Friendship Personal' is a triumph so that the new arrangement of the song makes it one of the album's best tracks. Another great cut is "Miserable Visu (Ex Malo Bonum)" with an apocalyptic lyric ("The sun will turn dark very soon/Our days are numbered/When there's blood on the moon") with some stunning guitar solos and dazzling percussion. Predictably non-Christian critics sneer at Anberlin, Mojo magazine recently decrying, that "painfully sincere emoting". I can only suggest Cross Rhythms readers take the advice of the vocal hook on "The Resistance" and "Think for yourself."
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