Anberlin will release their last album, "Lowborn", on July 22, 2014. This album brings Anberlin full circle as "Lowborn" will be released on Tooth & Nail, the band's original label. Instead of recording the album together, the musicians did their parts with separate producers they each selected. Drums were recorded with Matt Goldman in Atlanta and later combined with bass and guitar in Lakeland, FL with Copelandís Aaron Marsh. Vocals were recorded with the bandís longtime collaborator Aaron Sprinkle in Franklin, TN.
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Unforgettable Final Notes| Posted July 16, 2014
For fans of alternative rock, July 22 marks the end of an era.
In 2003, fresh Tooth & Nail signee Anberlin rocked the alternative scene with debut Blueprints for the Black Market, a project showcasing from the very beginning frontman Stephen Christian's formidable songwriting skills and a unique guitar sound that would captivate listeners through follow-ups Never Take Friendship Personal and Cities. A major record deal and several more innovative albums later, the band seemed to be at the top of their game after 2012's Vital. This only served to make the news of January 2014 even more stunning for fans: Anberlin's seventh studio album would be their last.
The five piece rock outfit is spending the year with a stint on the Vans Warped Tour, a final fall headlining world tour, and one last album released with the label who originally discovered them.
Their prolonged goodbye is being carried out on the band's terms rather than those of anyone else, which gave them breathing room for a unique creative process. In addition to choosing Tooth & Nail as the supporting label for the release, each band member chose their own producer to work with as they recorded their parts of the project.
Despite the bar being set nearly impossibly high by fan anticipation, with Lowborn Anberlin effortlessly delivers one of the best albums of their career. This project serves as both an impressive stand-alone and an emotionally satisfying farewell for fans.
Sonically, this project pulls together elements from all stages of the band's career. "Birds of Prey," a song built from the chilling warning "regret is nothing more than a disease," exhibits the electronic layering so essential to Dark Is The Way, Light is a Place and Vital. Harder music fans of Never Take Friendship Personal days are likely to latch onto "Dissenter," a blistering rocker with distorted, scratched vocals and Joseph Milligan and Christian McAlhaney's guitar tones shredded raw. The moody contemplation of mortality and the supernatural on "Hearing Voices" will harken back to themes from Cities, providing a staggering spiritual punch with the lyric "Everyone wants to know God, but they're afraid of what they'll find. Everyone wants to know God, but they want to live like He died."
However, Lowborn is far from a replay of past efforts, nor does it lean on days gone by to allow the band to coast to their finish line. Anberlin continues to push the artistic envelope, such as on Muse-esque masterpiece "Armageddon." This stand-out track pulses with desperation, declaring "I can hurt like nobody else, trust me now, I can find a way to bleed."
Thematically, the songs explore what it is to be human, self-destructive and desperate, yet longing for and healed by connection with loved ones and with God. Opener "We Are Destroyer" uncovers the entitled, apathetic mindset humanity seems to fall into so quickly, drawing on signature driving guitars to lend urgency to its chorus. "Losing It All" is one of the album's softer offerings, though it's built on a steady beat backbone provided by drummer Nate Young. The song paints a touching picture of love in the face of risk and uncertainty, proclaiming "it's not losing it all if we have each other."
As is to be expected, the theme of the band's wrap is addressed as well, notably in "Atonement" and "Harbinger." Bittersweet "Atonement" is poignantly autobiographical, giving us insight into the personal process the band members faced in making the decision to step away from Anberlin.
"Harbinger" is the perfect goodbye, suitably serving as album closer. Anberlin has a tradition of placing deeply contemplative, often eerie tracks at the end of each album, and this is no exception. Melancholy guitars and piercing vocals are bound together to create an atmosphere of reflection, but also to support lyrics reassuring fans that Anberlin's songs and the experiences they formed with their listeners are immortal and will live on long after the last show is played.
With Lowborn, Anberlin has set the crown on an already illustrious career. There is not a single purposeless or filler track. Every musical moment is intentional and infused with earnesty. If there was a definitive description of Anberlin's creative identity, this album would be it. Lowborn is Anberlin at its finest, blending vivid songwriting, razor sharp guitar tones, haunting vocals, and atmospheric synth beds that would make any 80s rock outfit envious. The group is definitely successfully blazing out rather than fading away.
In final track "Harbinger," Stephen Christian slowly sings the heart wrenching lyrics "I don't want to go now, but I know I've got to. But you will remember me." The entire project that is Lowborn confirms his statement: Anberlin will be remembered. We may not want them to go either, but if they've got to, these are the perfect final notes to an unforgettable era.
Song to Download Now:
"Hearing Voices" (Get it on iTunes here.)
Lowborn: Going out with a...light punch?| Posted July 28, 2014
In January 2014, Alternative-rock group Anberlin announced they would be splitting up, but would be spending the year making and releasing their final album as well as going on the Warped Tour and going on a final fall tour (which happens to hit my state...hope I get to see it!). Now in July we have the seventh and final studio album from Anberlin, Lowborn.
Now, in my opinion, the reason some people are loving this album, like myself, and some are hating it is because people are looking at this album from two completely different sides of the spectrum. On one side, it seems like the people who didn't like this album came into it thinking it was going to be an all-out rock record, which in some respects it is. On the another side, which I took going into this album, the people who really liked it went into it knowing it would be a lighter record, and the result is some pretty up-to-par 2010's alternative rock (albeit with a few more crunchy guitars thrown in), nearly the Christian equivalent of Coldplay's Ghost Stories, a stellar album.
"We Are Destroyer" immediately grabs your attention as soon as the chorus hits, and the song pretty much keeps rolling on from there, being my favorite on the album. "Armageddon" is a slow-burning song which has been compared to Muse (Yeah, the beat is essentially the same as "Madness." Sue them :).), and is another stellar track. "Stranger Ways" takes a more modern alternative turn, and Stephen Christian's voice matches with the really nice, airy guitar riff. "Velvet Covered Brick" is another blood-pumping rock track, which I am sort of on the fence about because I love the vocal melody, but up until the last chorus dynamically the song doesn't really change.
"Atonement" is a beautiful ballad, which Anberlin really has a knack for thanks to Stephen Christian's awesome voice. The synths and the airy vocals go really well together when he sings "Don't wanna be here without you/I need to know you believe in me." "Birds of Prey" is one of the standouts for me, with a great message about not letting the past control you backed up with a solid chorus melody.
"Dissenter" is the most aggressive the album gets, and while it's clear Stephen Christian isn't a born screamer, the light bridge transitioning into the aggressiveness of the last chorus really makes the last half of this song incredible. "Losing It All" is a nice, almost Jars of Clay-esque upbeat song, with a nice message about sticking together through tough times. "Hearing Voices" is another standout with, as mentioned in the review above, has the great line "Everyone wants to know God/but they wanna live like He died." "Harbinger" is a nice closer to the album and Anberlin's career, with Stephen's vocals almost sounding like he is leaving us. With this song, the album really feels like the end, and a fitting one at that.
Overall, while the record isn't as aggressive as some may have like coming out of Vital, I think it is a beautiful piece of work to end Anberlin's career. The album flows great as a whole, probably as a result of "no one breathing down their neck for a single" as Stephen Christian puts it, and overall while there are some songs that don't do to much for me, there isn't really a song that at least doesn't have an engaging hook. Farewell, Anberlin, we will miss you so.