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.
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