Album Review

Anberlin - Lowborn

Released June 23, 2014
Kathleen Finley
Florida-based, alternative rock group Anberlin have had an incredibly successful career over the past 12 years. So when the band announced earlier this year that they were recording their final album, many people, including myself, were surprised. The break up is not for the reasons that usually come to mind. There were no infightings or collaborative differences. They simply decided that it was time.
Anberlin is made up of lead vocalist Stephen Christian, guitarists Joseph Milligan and Christian McAlhaney, bassist Deon Rexroat, and drummer Nathan Young. Being one of my favorite bands, I was eager and anxious to hear the album. Lowborn showcases the band’s strengths, talents, and is full of thought, detail, and hard work.
The opening track, "We Are Destroyer" is a classic Anberlin song, filled with heavy guitars and Stephen Christian’s soaring vocals. It starts out slow and builds up to a chorus that will make you feel like you can handle anything thrown your way. The song "Armageddon" follows, not as heavy, but filled with deep lyrics. The way Christian says the word “armageddon” gives you chills.
Next, we have "Stranger Ways", which starts with a haunting intro and has beautiful lyrics, “Would you stay with me/ here in my dreams?” “Would you take a chance/ on a make believe dance?” It’s a simple, beautiful song. "Velvet Covered Brick" is a faster-paced song that really showcases Milligan and McAlhaney’s guitar skills. "Atonement" has a bit of an 80s vibe that seems to tell the story of Anberlin’s roots and journey over the past decade. "Birds of Prey" is a song with haunting melodies that allows Christian’s distinctive voice to shine through. “Dissenter” is a track that surprised me. Christian sings/yells the lyrics; something that he’s never really done before. It’s almost chaotic nature and instrumentals give a sense of stress and tension. "Losing it All" uses piano, which adds a wonderful tone to the track. Despite its name, the song is actually quite positive.
Young’s talent for percussion propels "Hearing Voices". It could be argued that Young is one of the best drummers in the industry today. The harmonies are also striking and well done. The final track, "Harbinger", ends Lowborn in true Anberlin fashion. The ballad’s lyrics almost sound like the band is saying goodbye. They are ready to step into the next phase of life.
Anberlin will be playing their last show at the House of Blues in Cleveland on November 19th. Tickets are $22.