Sunday, September 4, 2011

Anberlin: Dark is the Way, Light is a Place Review


Anberlin has had major success on Christian radio, most notably with their hit single “The Unwinding Cable Car.” And now their latest album Dark is the Way, Light is a Place, is already starting a trend of hits, starting with “Impossible” from their second Universal Republic project.

The grunge guitar rocker, “We Owe This To Ourselves” opens up Anberlin’s sixth studio album on a high-energy note. Speaking of how we have caused many problems, and how it’s time to make a change, Stephen Christian’s high vocals made for a very enjoyable rock anthem. A little less on the grunge side, but still upbeat and rocky comes the radio single “Impossible,” about the hardship of forgiving over a broken relationship: “Take what you want from me/ it means nothing now/ take everything from me/ it means nothing now/ not so easy to forgive, harder to forget/ take what you want…”

“Take Me (As You Found Me)” has a Downhere twist to it, and is yet another relationship song speaking about taking someone as they are, or leaving them to die. The more serene contemporary rock was enjoyable, but the lyrics were slightly odd in my opinion. Very strong and building up excellently by the chorus is “Closer,” a track about “keeping a safe distance” in a relationship.

Next, “You Belong Here,” a solid track with backing piano sees Stephen singing to his “better half,” of how they were meant for each other and being with her the rest of his life. Then, a tempo sounding like stomping feet makes, “Pray Tell” a standout from Anberlin’s Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place, as the group sings about someone who hides away and their desire to be found.

Beginning with a wonderfully long intro, “The Art of War,” is strong and very uniquely patterned, again speaking of the things that would go left unsaid due to a broken relationship. However, the music of this track was an absolute highlight off the entire album for me, after which comes “To the Wolves,” which explodes into the grunge rock scene again. This time, the track speaks to someone who calls themselves a friend but only acts as a traitor. The abundance of fill-ins was quite enjoyable about this track.

“Down,” an acoustic track with a country twist to it, speaks of someone who found the writer at his worst, and how the writer despises who he used to be: “You caught me on the way down/ please hold my hand before I drown/ tie my hands before I burn this town/ You caught me on the way down.” Stephen’s high and soft vocals can be heard in the chorus of this track, something I found very enjoyable. Following, “Depraved” is at first, infused with electronic vocal effects, building up somewhat by the end, but remaining a slower and somewhat gloomy track throughout, speaking to someone who feels like a slave: “you’re not a slave, so get off your knees.” Though it was a bit hard to follow, I did enjoy the slower ending to Anberlin’s latest studio offering.

Anberlin’s sixth studio project Dark is the Way, Light Is a Place deals with relationships, both at their best and at their worst, and also with the subject of making a difference in this world that we live in. Though I would have loved to see more strongly Christian lyrics, Anberlin certainly does have creative song-writing, and their unique sound, comparable to Downhere is a big hit as well.

Rating: 4/5
Release date: September 7, 2010

Track listing:
1. We Owe This to Ourselves
2. Impossible
3. Take Me (As You Found Me)
4. Closer
5. You Belong Here
6. Pray Tell
7. The Art of War
8. To the Wolves
9. Down
10. Depraved


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