Review: Anberlin – Silverline

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We’ve reached the time of year where I begin to put my favorite Anberlin album into heavy rotation. There’s something about the back half of summer that just makes Dark is the Way, Light is a Place sound perfect. It’s an album that marked a sonic change for one of the aughts most revered rock bands, a notion that aligns perfectly with the feelings of coming change that are in the air this time of year.

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You can buy or stream Silverline on Apple Music

Over the course of what we thought were the band’s final three albums, Anberlin leaned hard into new territory, experimenting heavily with influences that they had previously sprinkled throughout their nearly bulletproof discography. By the time Lowborn arrived in 2014 as the band’s swan song, I couldn’t help but wish that there was another chapter or two to explore.

But as we’ve come to find in this scene, nothing is ever really over, and Anberlin is no exception. After a smattering of live performances in 2018 and 2019, the band embarked on a livestream series spanning their full catalogue before finally giving fans a taste of new tunes late last year with “Two Graves”. And now, Silverline, the band’s new EP and first proper release in eight years is here.

I’ll sheepishly admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of “Two Graves” upon its release, but here as the opener to Silverline, the track is kind of perfect. What isn’t quite apparent within each of these tracks alone, is that as a whole, the five songs serve as a fine blend of Anberlin’s past three albums. It’s in the bridge and outro of tracks like “Two Graves” and “Nothing Lost” that you can truly feel the rich textures of sound that the members of Anberlin can so brilliantly build. Credit to Christian McAlhaney and Joseph Milligan for bringing their A-game throughout.

The smooth intro of “Nothing Lost” is everything I’ve been missing from this band. Anberlin have always had a knack for implementing anthemic elements of decades past into their songs, and this song simply soars, particularly once the chorus hits with Stephen Christian singing, “Say nothing is ever gone / Stay here tonight / Stand down, you’re never lost / On the right path, wrong road”. By the time the bridge arrives, the rest of the band is ready to bring the house down.

Perhaps it’s because of this opening one-two punch that the next track, “Body Language”, seems like a slight letdown. It’s a stark change of pace and tone that continues into “Asking”. In a recent interview with Chorus.fm, Christian mentioned that two Silverline tracks were originally Anchor & Braille songs that were held back because he “heard them sonically and lyrically as Anberlin.” It’s easy to see the connection, although the back half of “Asking” begins to crescendo into something familiar to the best parts of Lowborn.

Silverline’s final track, “Circles” is classic Anberlin closer material, full of energy, emotion and a well-deserved sonic payoff that leaves you wanting more. If we’re lucky, maybe this is a new beginning for a band that never really felt like it was ready to call it quits in the first place. For nearly two decades, Anberlin has been a mainstay in a rock scene that felt like its walls couldn’t quite hold what the band was capable of building. Silverline is a worthy new entry into a catalogue full of delightful and unexpected twists and turns.

4/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple pop culture outlets and was previously an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife, daughter, and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Review: Anberlin – Lowborn

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Goodbyes are never easy, but having a little prior notice certainly makes the event a touch more palatable. For Florida alternative rock powerhouse Anberlin, goodbye comes in the form of one final album – Lowborn – a fitting farewell in nearly every capacity.

Truthfully, it takes a lot of guts to go out this way. For a band with one of the most solid front-to-back discographies of the past decade, there’s a bit of a risk of tarnishing the band’s legacy with a faulty final step. Then again, Anberlin has never been known to disappoint.

The band returned to their original home at Tooth and Nail Records to release their final record, and hit the studio with their self-proclaimed dream team of Aaron Marsh, Matt Goldman and Aaron Sprinkle to record in a creative, pressure-free environment. The resulting product is not only a solid album in its own right, but also serves as an honest depiction of the band as they truly are in 2014.

Throughout Lowborn, Anberlin sidestep many of their own conventions, slighting stark tempo and atmospheric changes between tracks in favor of a slow burn. Lowborn’s songs seem to brood from one to the next, creating a steady swell that keeps you on your toes. Yes, “We Are Destroyer” serves as a combative opener and “Dissenter” refuses to fit within the album’s gentle flow, but as a whole, this might be the most concise and moody album in the band’s discography.

Lowborn finds Anberlin finally chasing a synthpop/alt-rock blend head-on throughout most of the record, sounding more like late-80’s New Order or Depeche Mode than a band you’d find on Warped Tour. The band has dabbled successfully in this sound before on their 2010 album Dark is the Way, Light is the Place, but this 2014 version is a more fully-realized effort.

“Armageddon” lays down grooving synthesizers and bass that flow subtly underneath vocalist Stephen Christian’s haunting lower register. Single “Stranger Ways” starts slow as well, but picks up pace behind Nate Young’s drums to push the song to a breathtaking crescendo at the end of the song’s second verse. Meanwhile, the synthesizers and guitars find their perfect blend on “Atonement”, allowing Christian to carry the song over the top during a chorus of, “Don’t want to be here / Don’t want to be here without you / I need to know you / I need to know you believe in me”.

Thematically, Lowborn is all about brevity, and fittingly, goodbyes. Even without any backstory, you get the uncomfortable urge to grasp at an unknown, fleeting moment. Throughout their history, Anberlin has had a knack for conveying story and emotion throughout the course of an album – the same stands true here. Lowborn moves patiently and darkly, remorseful of its own end while still managing to capture hope and reflection inside of the songs’ often surprising melodies.

So where does Lowborn fall within Anberlin’s superb discography? Its lack of oomph and diversity keep it from landing alongside Cities or Vital as the band’s best work, but it’s undoubtedly a more mature album than early releases like Blueprints for the Black Market or Never Take Friendship Personal. Instead, Lowborn fits well alongside Dark is the Way as an expression of the band’s obvious 80’s influences and ability to branch far beyond the typical alt-rock boundaries. That is to say, it’s a damn good album.

It’s hard to imagine the rock scene of the past decade without Anberlin. The band not only sparked a fire in the early-aughts post-punk landscape, but also managed a number one single on rock radio and became a nationally recognized name associated with intelligent and thoughtful, but aggressive rock. Their final lineup of Christian, Young, guitarists Joseph Milligan and Christian McAlhaney, and bassist Deon Rexroat has been one of the most formidable and talented lineups in recent memory.

Anberlin will truly be hard to replace. But then again, maybe we don’t have to. With seven solid albums released over the course of 11 years, the band left behind more than a few memories to carry on. Bookending that list is Lowborn, a proper and commendable final chapter.

4/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Anberlin stream new album “Lowborn” on Pandora

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Anberlin’s new album Lowborn, which releases on July 22 on Tooth and Nail Records, is now streaming in its entirety on Pandora. Lowborn will be the final release from the band, as they are hanging it up after a world tour that wraps up late this year.

What are your thoughts on the new album? Where does it rank amongst Anberlin’s collection? Let us know in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Stream new Anberlin song “Dissenter”

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The first single from Anberlin’s upcoming final album, Lowborn, has hit the web. We’re going to go out on a limb and say that it’s not what you would expect from the band. The song, titled “Dissenter”, features loud, shouting vocals form Stephen Christian atop a whole lot of distortion. You can take a listen to the track here.

Lowborn is set to release June 23 via Tooth & Nail Records.

What are your thoughts on the track? What else do you expect from Lowborn? Share your comments in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Anberlin to release final album “Lowborn” on June 23

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According to the Tooth and Nail Records website, Anberlin will be releasing their new album Lowborn on June 23. The album will be the final release from the band, who will be playing this summer’s Warped Tour before going on a final world tour. You can check out the album art for Lowborn and the track listing below:

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Tracklist:

1. We Are Destroyer
2. Armageddon
3. Stranger Ways
4. Velvet Covered Brick
5. Atonement
6. Birds Of Prey
7. Dissenter
8. Losing It All
9. Hearing Voices
10. Harbinger

More information is expected to be released soon, including preorder options for the album. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, share your favorite Anberlin albums and songs in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck