By David Appelt
Well, the end is here. Textbook bittersweet.
Few bands have been as consistently good as Anberlin. They burst onto the scene with “Ready Fuels” way back when and never let up. I couldn’t possibly try to write a review that does justice to their career, so I will limit it to celebrating this album for what it is — and that is how I recommend you experience it as well.
The sound from Anberlin is extremely similar to that of Vital, with an air of finality thrown into the mix. The pacing of the album, as always, is superb. The album starts energetically, with “We Are Destroyer,” and then moves into songs that are bit less headstrong. Armageddon (my personal favorite) is an excellent choice to follow the first track. “Stranger Ways” is even more laid back, with an excellent music video to boot. The song “Atonement” is the perfect Anberlin-style ballad we have come to expect from the group. It also contains what Stephen Christian called the logic behind the retiring of the band. The second half of the album reads much like the first, with “Birds of Prey” and “Hearing Voices” (The current radio single) being the high points. The album concludes, along with the bands story, with the song aptly titled “Harbinger.”[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_yan51myNI[/youtube]
The only chance the album takes is the song “Dissenter” which may seem out there for Anberlin, who tend to have a consistent sound. I personally love the song as a deeper cut, which is a commodity quickly being pushed aside in today’s radio-single driven market. The song serves the story of the album, and like the rest of the songs Anberlin has crafted in the last 11 years, it tells the story well. Speaking as an Anberlin fan of ten years, I couldn’t be happier with the quality of the group’s final album. Most of the time, while listening to an album from a band, I am nitpicking musical and lyrical decisions. With this album, that habit was nonexistent. It seems like they literally nailed every single part of this album.
Bottom line: Anberlin is leaving the game on a high note; exactly like they always have, exactly like they have always wanted. You will be playing this for a long time, and not just because it is their final album.
For fans of: Anchor and Braille, House of Heroes, The Classic Crime, Yellowcard