Nothing last forever is something I've learned at an early age. So it's no surprise that Anberlin announced earlier this year that in 2014 they will produce their final album and tour for the last time after being together for the past 12 years. From their first album, Blueprint for the Black Market, Anberlin made a name for themselves, continuing to make music and producing phenomenal albums like: Never Take Friendship Personal, Cities, New Surrender, Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place, and Vital. Their last album Lowborn was released today after being pushed back a month from the original release date of June 23, 2014. Was it worth waiting an extra month for this album? The answer is yes.
To say Anberlin saved their best album for last is an understatement. Having listened to this album three times today, I can honestly say that listening to this is an experience in of itself. Having loved this band for a while, I knew this was going to be a great album. But I never thought it would be this amazing. As I went about my day, listening to this album any chance I had, I not only listened to Lowborn, but I was also listening to their six prior albums. It was as if these past 12 years had all accumulated to this moment. Anberlin was able to capture their different styles, growth, and creativity from the past 12 years beautifully to produce their legacy.
"It's kind of like our final statement and goodbye in a way of everything the band has become and where we are as people creatively at this point. Or at least we tried to make it that." - Deon Rexroat.
The album consists of ten songs: "We Are Destroyer", "Armageddon", "Stranger Ways", "Velvet Covered Brick", "Atonement", "Birds of Prey", "Dissenter", "Losing It All", "Hearing Voices", and "Harbinger". Even though I can say I like them all, there are some songs that stand out in comparison to others.
"We Are Destroyer" is the typical Anberlin opening song. It has those piercing vocals Stephen Christian executes flawlessly. With it's mix of techno and heavy rock sound, there's more to this song than you hear initially. This song sets up the whole album as you notice the different sounds, moods, and tempos that will parallel the album. "Armageddon" is quite strange to listen to after "We Are Destroyer", it has a much slower, atmospheric tempo. As the song progresses, it slowly picks up to a faster pace, but continues to maintain that atmospheric tempo. "Stranger Ways", is one of the better songs on the album and not only because it was the bands latest music video, but it shows the band addressing their "fans" on this goodbye. Starting off with a slow piano, smooth drums by Nate Young, and haunting lyrics, the song is catchy and gives off a good vibe even when singing of a sad topic.
"Velvet Covered Brick" is one of my favorite songs on the album. With the heavy guitars from Joey Milligan and Christian McAlhaney, hard hitting drums, and low singing, this song is sure to get you in a good mood. It reminds me a lot of "There Is No Mathematics to Love and Loss" which is one of my favorite songs from Anberlin. "Atonement", the song that pulls at your heart strings when you think about this being Anberlins last album. Here Stephen Christian gives his personal reasons why Anberlin is breaking up. He mentions, "I've see faces I may never see again, I've been places I never could have dreamt". Although a sad topic, the song is uplifting with it's mellow tempo that is very similar to "Unwinding Cable Car". It might even be better. It is freaking amazing! "Birds of Prey", although more of an electronic feel to the rest of the album, the chorus is catchy and you'll remember it, "regret is nothing more than a lovers disease". It also shows how even though it's their last album, they're still able to get creative and make something different despite what your fans are used to and want.
"Dissenter" is the song I like the least out of all of them. The heavy vocals in the beginning seem forced and it's just screaming instead of singing. It's too heavy in comparison to "We Are Destroyer" and "Velvet Covered Brick". "Losing It All", is my favorite song on this album hands down. It's has a catchy beat like "Atonement", but better due to being more fast paced. Unlike "Atonement", this song is more positive and looks on the bright side to their situation."It's not losing it all if we have each other, in the end its all that matters." They're right. Have we really lost Anberlin? Yes and no. "Hearing Voices", another great song with Christians piercing vocals, amazing drum work from Young, memorable lyrics, with a great chorus. If you were to define Anberlin by the type of style they have, this song is all their styles put into one. "Harbinger", the final song that wraps up the whole album. Knowing this is the last song ever, the tempo gives a calming feeling that leaves you feeling content. With lyrics like "You will remember me", and "We'll live forever", it makes a sad situation positive. The song is the perfect way to wrap up 12 years of Anberlin. With amazing music that touched so many people, including myself, "Harbinger" reminds us of that Anberlin will always be there.
"So the last line on the record is, “We’ll live forever.” People we meet out here in autograph lines or whatever say, “We’ll miss you.” But I always say to them, “We’re not actually leaving. You can always listen to the music.” I think that’s what it’s all about. We are gonna live forever in these people’s lives." - Stephen Christian.
Am I sad that this is the last album this amazing band will produce? Yes, yes I am. Every time I listen to this album, I can't believe that music this phenomenal is made. I have yet to find a band like Anberlin, that will leave me with this feeling of awe every time I finish listening to a song. But theres a beauty to this. As I've listened to all of their albums, I'm on a journey I can't explain. I've seen this band grow and seen how their music has progressed. To be able to say that I and every other fan has been with them on this journey is a privilege. They will certainly live forever in my life. I now look forward to seeing them live on October 10th in Anaheim. I know it will be a night to remember, just like this album.