Review: Anberlin – Convinced

It’s a great feeling when a band you’ve followed from the beginning of their early days makes a record that seems so fully realized and impactful to their legacy. Anberlin had just released a stellar EP last year, called Silverline, that found them returning to releasing new music for the first time in eight years, and now we’re all treated to some new tunes from the rockers with Convinced. With a sound that reminds listeners of why they became so enamored with the band in the first place, Anberlin still moves the needle of creativity further down the right path. The EP was self-produced by the band, alongside help from their friends Tim McTague (of Underoath), Chad Carouthers, and JJ Revell. At this stage of their career, Anberlin could have become content with releasing “safe” music that satisfies their fans, but there’s something different in the musical DNA of this band that is evolving at an alarming rate. Instead, Anberlin may have just convinced themselves into exploring just how far down the rabbit hole they’d like to navigate.

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Review: Anberlin – Silverline

It feels great to have Anberlin back in the music fold. The band seemed very comfortable walking away from the music scene after the release of their last (and at the time, final) album called Lowborn and an accompanying farewell tour, yet fast forwarding to the band’s reconciliation in 2018, where Anberlin would perform several concerts and then in May of 2020, the band announced they would be working on some new music once again. Add in a few livestream concerts during the pandemic, and Anberlin regained their band chemistry and appear to be re-invigorated in the path that lies before them. This passion was felt first-hand in lead vocalist Stephen Christian when I interviewed him about Silverline. Hearing Christian’s take on how these songs came together with producers Tim McTague (Underoath), Chad Carouthers, and JJ Revell only brings further context to the rich tunes that came together on this EP.

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Review: Anberlin – Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place

Anberlin - Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place

My memories surrounding Anberlin’s fifth studio album, Dark is the Way, Light is a Place is kind of a mixed bag of emotions. While on one hand, I found the aggressive and darker tones to the music presented here as a nice change of pace from the brighter material that came before this, I couldn’t help but feel like some of the lyrics on this record were a tad too repetitive to connect with me on a deeper level. Anberlin worked on this record with veteran hit-maker Brendan O’Brien, and under his watchful eye, the band was able to create some of their best material as well. From the brilliant first single “Impossible” to the thoughtfully-crafted “Take Me (As You Found Me),” the band appeared to be hitting the right groove in the latter stages of their career. While some fans of the band regard this album as a rare misstep in the band’s evolution, I feel like Anberlin were at the cusp of something incredible during this moment in time. When asked about the possible impact of this record, Stephen Christian replied in one interview, “I feel like we’re on the brink of something…either world domination or destruction, but either way we’re on the brink.” By pushing themselves to the brink of creativity, the band have made an album that fits nicely into their storied discography.

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Review: Anberlin – Lowborn

Anberlin - Lowborn

I will forever defend the right of a band to go out on their own terms. I’ve said before that I would happily follow any of my favorite artists years past relevance and ages after their creative apexes, but I am equally okay with bands who realize when it’s time to leave the party and decide to give their fans a proper goodbye. There’s something about a very consciously crafted swansong that can just be so perfect when executed correctly. And “the perfect swansong” is precisely what Anberlin are shooting for with Lowborn, their seventh full-length studio album, and their last.

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Review: Anberlin – New Surrender

Anberlin - New Surrender

Forgive me if I seem a bit zany during this review. There has been great upheaval in La Vida de Blake lately. Things started out great: I finally found a girl that liked me enough to let me do that cute thing where you hold hands by interlocking fingers. I heard music everywhere, and that wasn’t only because Pierce Brosnan hit his high note in “SOS.” Aside from this happy fact – we’re soulmates, I can feel it – I was forced to deal with some devastating news: Anberlin has signed to a major label. Put on your black graphic tee and mourn. It’s time to un-bookmark their Myspace and Twitter pages. Well, at least until now there was the slim chance New Surrender would be terrible. Hell, I’d dump Jasmine in a heartbeat if it would make this album contain terrible ballads and safe, music-executive approved radio rock. They’d be back on an indie and they’d be all mine. Of course it’s just my luck that New Surrender rocks with the force of Blueprints and smarts of Never Take Friendship Personal. And worse still, Jasmine found out my father doesn’t own and never has owned a private island near Bermuda. If you need me, just listen for the sobs at Anberlin’s next packed arena concert.

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Review: Anberlin – Cities

Anberlin - Cities

For every individual who listens to music, there is also that one “iffy” band. It could be a band that has released solid yet not spectacular albums, or has released a few great songs and a few mediocre songs; basically, it’s a band that has grabbed your attention but cannot seem to hold on to it. One band that has fit this description for me is Anberlin. Sure, their first two albums have some great tracks, but they also have contained tracks I could care less for. They’ve also been a band that couldn’t seem to figure what they wanted to sound like. Some tracks they would be very intense while other tracks were as poppy as can be. Because of this, Anberlin was a band that I was very lukewarm towards. Until I heard Cities. With their third album, the Florida quintet has shattered everything I used to think about the band. Produced by Aaron Sprinkle, Cities display a vast improvement in every aspect. The drums hit harder, the guitars sound tighter, and Stephen Christian’s vocals soar higher than every before. In other words, the overall sound of Anberlin is bigger than ever.

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