Anberlin
Vital


4.5
superb

Review

by Aaron CONTRIBUTOR (109 Reviews)
October 13th, 2012 | 58 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Finally.

Anberlin are one of those bands in which I've just come to expect great material from them with each release. Every two years or less we are graced with another breathtaking album from the alternative rockers. However, as impressive as their last few albums were they still haven't quite been able to match the stellar Cities, at least not until now. This is partly thanks to the return of producer Aaron Sprinkle who helped spice up their older albums, but the band have also grown as musicians and songwriters. They've yet to put out a bad release, and Vital displays some of the most solid musicianship in the band's entire catalogue. As fans everywhere are likely to proclaim, the band has finally made the album that has the potential to top Cities.

Vital could very well be the most coherent album Anberlin have ever created. It flawlessly mixes the mature sound of their last release with the more upbeat and fun Anberlin we heard on albums like Never Take Friendship Personal. Stephen Christian has always been an amazing singer, but the beauty of his voice reaches new heights on their exciting sixth full length. He especially shines on songs like 'Other Side' and 'Modern Age'. The production is also top notch and the guitars and drums are as impressive as ever. The opening track 'Self-Starter' begins with a jaw dropping drum intro while the second song 'Little Tyrants' shows off flashy guitar work. As usual, Christian adjusts his vocals to fit the more aggressive songs, yet he's not afraid to sing like an angel on others. His voice is also tweaked with electronics in a few songs which proves to be undeniably catchy, but thankfully it is done sparingly.

As expected on an Anberlin release, many of the tracks are highly uplifting and meaningful. Much like their other albums, Vital contains a grand finale of a closer in the form of 'God, Drugs, and Sex'. It's a slow paced six minute ballad that features female guest vocals which sound amazing alongside Christian's best performance on the record. Another standout is the cheery 'Modern Age' which manages to pack a punch, being equally catchy and beautiful. It's filled with optimistic lyrics like "Don't we all wan't to be loved?" At it's core, the song is about overcoming insecurities and suggests it's better to have companionship than to be in silence. Anberlin have always been an uplifting band and this album continues that tradition in the best possible way.

Truth be told, it's too soon to say if Vital will have the lasting appeal of the outstanding Cities, but it's certainly possible. I can't remember the last time the band sounded this good. Fortunately, the variety of the more straight forward rockers and the somber ballads helps prevent the experience from growing stale. The album's not perfect, but it's pretty damn close. It is held back only by a few brief but slow moments. That doesn't keep it from being an essential record however. In fact, it is one of the most impressive releases of 2012 so far, proving to critics everywhere that Cities wasn't a fluke and the band is still a fearsome force to be reckoned with.



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user ratings (651)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Green Baron (4)
    Almost at the finish line....

    teslabarrier (4.5)
    A vital listen....

    Point1 (4.5)
    As a return-to-form, Vital succeeds in every way. As an album, it comes close....

    peartnoy (3.5)
    The most disappointing 3.5 I ever gave to an album....

  • toxin (4.5)
    Anberlin's horizons look better than ever in this modern age....

    gmang (5)
    Question your faith in Cities' invincibility, but don't quite give it up yet....

    Ecnalzen (4.5)
    Further proof of the theory that Anberlin can do no wrong....

    Alex Beebe (4.5)
    As loud as it is whimsical, Vital is irresistibly unique alternative rock, and truly is an...

  • skeletalchemy (3)
    After improving in almost every way possible, Anberlin's vocal delivery has this album fee...

    SowingSeason STAFF (4.5)
    Anberlin smartly evolves while continuing to solidify their position as one of the best al...

    Nathan Flynn CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
    This album isn't Cities, but it doesn't need to be- it's incredible in its own right...

    Chevy182 (4)
    Vital may grow to be Anberlin’s new zenith as it combines what made Cities so great with...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Calc
October 13th 2012


12215 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"Stephen Christian has always been an amazing singer"

so that means...Eric Nally is a great singer by extension right?

By the way good review again. I don't see the greatness of this record as it kinda sounds like Madina Lake to me but it is a fun listen

Digging: Milo - A Toothpaste Suburb

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012


19798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks...but Madina Lake, come on man, this is waaay better than Madina Lake, ;)

Digging: Yellowcard - Lift a Sail

Calc
October 13th 2012


12215 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

you know what I mean when I say that though right?

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2012


4435 Comments


Another good review, Atari.

I've heard of these guys, but I've never been a fan. Though I do hear good things about them. POS'd

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012


19798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Not really lol at least not as far as the vocals go

Lakes.
October 13th 2012


27978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

calc, i love both foxy shazam and anberlin, and stephen christian and eric nally are not THAT similar vocally. jesus, man.

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012


19798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

lol i've never even heard foxy shazam.

@paperback, thanks as always bro I appreciate the positive feedback, cheers.

Calc
October 13th 2012


12215 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

^you need to listen to them again lol


Lakes.
October 13th 2012


27978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lmao

Ecnalzen
October 13th 2012


6574 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet review, Atari. Have a pos on me.

Stephen Christian = Voice of an angel < I enjoyed that comparison. He is one of the best rock vocalists out there right now.

RosaParks
October 13th 2012


14914 Comments


negd for posting this after hearing the album twice

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012


19798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Lol if you say so.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2012


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Good review Atari... But what on Earth is Emery doing in the recs?

MichaelSnoxall
October 13th 2012


12163 Comments


I won't be reviewing this til I can get through it a few hundred more times.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012


19798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I don't know I've seen them play together lol I can't think of anything you wanna help me out since your the king of that? also, any constructive criticism? getting negged here.

ViralOblivion
October 13th 2012


7679 Comments


Good review atari pos'd

Ecnalzen
October 13th 2012


6574 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Classic Crime's Phoenix could work in the rec list. It would def be more appropriate than Emery. They have a somewhat similar alt rock style, except no synths for TCC.



Chevy182
October 13th 2012


116 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review buddy, will pos ;)

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012


19798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks man and thanks ecnalzen I've heard phoenix and that's a good choice.

Ecnalzen
October 13th 2012


6574 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No problem, I have a couple more that could fit but I don't know if you've heard them. They are a little more obscure than TCC.

Also, not sure why you are getting all these negs, especially with no explanation. I thought it was great. Damn phantom negs.



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