Recording information: Glow In The Dark, Atlanta, TN; The Pier, Franklin, TN; The Vanguard Room, Lakeland, FL.
In January of 2014, Anberlin announced their intentions to split and that they were working on their farewell album with longtime producer/engineers Aaron Marsh, Matt Goldman, and Aaron Sprinkle. As with 2012's Vital, the band's seventh and final studio album, 2014's Lowborn, finds the Florida-based outfit delving even deeper into an electronic-tinged, heavy metal-infused sound. In many ways, this move toward a heavier, more intense aesthetic has been Anberlin's trajectory since 2009's ebullient, anthemic Dark Is the Way, Light Is the Place. Where that album found the group delivering a handful of melodic anthems that brought to mind the joyous guitar uplift of U2, subsequent releases revealed a band that had more in common with the arch alt-rock wickedness of Muse, AFI, and Blessthefall, than Coldplay, Switchfoot, or any of the other post-U2-leaning bands they might have previously been compared to. Which isn't to say that Anberlin sound like any of the aforementioned bands on Lowborn. On the contrary, lead singer Stephen Christian has always had his own baritone, gravitas-laden take on how to be a rock frontman and Lowborn is no exception to that. Backed with the band's ceaseless muscularity and sustained sense of drama, Christian soars through a handful of stand-out numbers like expansive, apocalyptic "Armageddon," the driving and romantic "Velvet Covered Brick," and the yearning "Atonement." If there is a heaviness -- an emotional weight that seems to be bearing down upon Christian and Anberlin throughout Lowborn -- chalk it up to a band nearing the end of an almost 15-year career. However, despite this heaviness, Anberlin have crafted an album of deeply emotive and, one imagines for longtime fans, cathartic songs. As Christian sings on the elegiac album closer, "Harbinger," "I don't want to go now, but I've got to/For you to remember me." ~ Matt Collar
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