Anberlin
Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place


4.0
excellent

Review

by fr33convict USER (10 Reviews)
September 2nd, 2010 | 48 replies | 6,762 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While not the band’s promised magnum opus, Anberlin still delivers an excellent album better than anticipated.

14 of 14 thought this review was well written

Anberlin is one of the one of those bands I’ve always had a special place in my heart for. The first album I ever bought was they’re debut Blueprints For The Black Market . Cities is one of my favorite alternative albums ever. And while New Surrender wasn’t all that great, it had some awesome tracks and certainly wasn’t a bad album by any means. You can imagine that when I heard the band promising ridiculous things about Dark is the Way Light is a Place, I was instantly excited. The bad news is this not band’s best album. The good news is that, while not being as good as Cities, is still quite a good album.

Anberlin is:
▪ Stephen Christian – lead vocals
▪ Joseph Milligan – lead guitar, backing vocals
▪ Deon Rexroat – bass
▪ Nathan Young – drums
▪ Christian McAlhaney – guitar, backing vocals


The darker dynamic promised by the band is noticeable. The lack of extremely pop-rock tracks is something startling on first listens. And while a large portion of the album is mid-tempo tracks, it rarely descends into acoustic ballad territory like it’s predecessor. The album is very tense, especially in the second half of the record. The album is very epic throughout for an alternative rock record, the most noteworthy track being album closer “Depraved”. While typically following a standard verse-chorus structure, the songs on this album rely on building up to a satisfying conclusion rather than being fun.

Almost every member shows signs of very slight forward progress as musicians. While there are fewer guitar solos than New Surrender, The lead guitar work is still noteworthy throughout, and used as an extremely effective method to further the emotion the track. Stephen Christian’s yell sounds less forced and his cleaner vocals is more melodic and soothing then ever before. The rhythm guitar seems more effective then previous works, rarely relying on standard chord progressions. The area of least progression is the rhythm section. The bass is actually audible on this record, and while rarely doing anything is still nice to hear. The drumming is rather standard, but occasionally shines on tracks such as “Pray Tell” or in his fills.

What makes this album shine brightest however, is not the core instruments, but the very effective layers of effects. The album relies on a surprising amount of ambience, harmonies, overlays, and other various effects very reminiscent of 80’s era U2. Surprisingly, they pull it off very well. These effects never feel overbearing or unnecessary and the record does not feel overly processed. Instead, it helps portray the emotion in which the band was trying to display. As I hinted at above, the engineering is very good. Every instrument is very clearly heard, while never being overbearingly loud in the mix. The effects also never get in the way but help add depth to the sound.

Recommending a couple tracks is difficult, as there is not a single obvious filler track and the quality is very consistently good. I do find myself listening more to the second half of the record however, due to the more noticeable experimentation.
As a final note, my only recommendation is to listen to the stream before you buy or preorder it, as response to the album seems very mixed, people usually either loving it or hating it. While I enjoyed it greatly, others do not seem to think highly of the album.



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user ratings (666)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
fr33convict
September 2nd 2010



11689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So yeah... That's it guys. I'm probably gonna have quite a bit of editing to do but whatever.

fromtheinside
September 2nd 2010



18171 Comments


those last three faux paragraphs could be combined or something.
that Anberlin info insert is really distracting and unnecessary.
and the review feels shorter than it looks. you don't go into a great detail on what all the album
encompasses. you talk about it's "best" song and say effective alot but not much else.

Digging: Young Widows - Easy Pain

BigHans
September 2nd 2010



26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You really wanted to be the first didnt you.

BigHans
September 2nd 2010



26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First listen this is a 3.25, Ill round up for being a quasi-fanboy.

nash1311
September 2nd 2010



1754 Comments


Well for one, lots of the rhythm guitar IS generic chord progressions, and two, layers is never good. Makes for a good album, makes for poor live performance like 9/10 times. Also as you stated, the lack of up tempo songs is quite disappointing. I will say this is slightly better than New Surrender, due to the lack of filler tracks, but it's still probably a 3/5. Other than things i stated earlier, review was pretty well done especially this quickly. I, too, have been listening to anberlin since blueprints. good job, fr33, good job.

LukeB84
September 2nd 2010



151 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This review is spot on. nice work.

fr33convict
September 2nd 2010



11689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To be honest I'm kind of surprised I was the first this.
Anyway, I combined some paragraphs and added a tiny bit more about the tone of the album.

LukeB84
September 2nd 2010



151 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I noticed something on the song Down after my 2nd listen of the album, is it me or does that riff through the verses sound like their song The Unwinding Cable Car?

Waior
September 2nd 2010



11451 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I've had a copy of this for a week or so and it's excellent. I'll be reviewing it sometime in the near future as it's fresh in my head.

'Pray Tell' is magnificent and Christian sounds mint all over this record.

tiesthatbind
September 2nd 2010



7374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is sounding really good. I'm glad they ditched some of the overly poppy stuff that dragged down New Surrender.

Digging: xSPONGEXCOREx - How Tough Are Yah?

Knott-
Emeritus
September 2nd 2010



10195 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

two, layers is never good. Makes for a good album


well given that this is an album shut up?

also caleb did you just use the word mint?! is this newcastle rubbing off on you?! :D

DiceMan
September 2nd 2010



7068 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gonna listen to it later.

fr33convict
September 2nd 2010



11689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Luke: I think it's not like they totally copied the riff again, but yeah, it is reminiscent.
@Waior: I'm sure you could do a better job reviewing it then me.
I look forward to your review.
@Knot lol

Waior
September 2nd 2010



11451 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i do have "interest" in newcastle, so perhaps ;)



fr33convict
September 2nd 2010



11689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Another note on the album: I believe people will enjoy this album as long as they go into it with an open mind, not expecting Cities pt. II but a completely different sound.

Knott-
Emeritus
September 2nd 2010



10195 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

this record in my head was the least hyped album in history

ninjuice
September 2nd 2010



6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Money is the Place, Staying Boring is the Way.

Jk. I haven't listened to this completely, but Impossible has me expecting more watered down stuff.

KrissWatts
September 2nd 2010



96 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I don't agree, but a very well written review nonetheless.

Romulus
September 2nd 2010



8434 Comments


I want to write a mildly negative review for this but I'm not familiar enough with the band's catalogue to do it

PlayCrackSky
September 2nd 2010



207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like the U2 sound on Depraved.



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