Anberlin
Vital


3.0
good

Review

by skeletalchemy USER (3 Reviews)
October 17th, 2012 | 67 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: After improving in almost every way possible, Anberlin's vocal delivery has this album feeling like anything but vital.

Over ten years ago, I was introduced to a band that I believed were teeming with potential. Comprised of members whose beliefs were strongly Christ-ocentric, it was easy to see where their inspiration came from. In response to what they had experienced in their lives 'in the world', Anberlin garnered moderate praise and attention for 'Blueprints of the Black Market'. Truly succeeding this rather surprising debut with 'Cities' and its slightly less polished sequel 'New Surrender', the quintet established themselves at the forefront of their respective genre. After having spiced things up with 'Dark is the Way, Light is a Place', an essential break from the tried and true, Anberlin returns with 'Vital'.

Unfortunately, like every other follow-up to Cities, this one is a bit of a dud. After showcasing more poignant instrumentation (the drums, guitars and bass are all markedly improved), the band repeatedly falls back to the same overused synths and reliance on electronica. The debut single 'Someone, Anyone' is a mover and a shaker, but it feels like the same old song and dance. While earlier albums are well represented stylistically here (the darker moments are darker, the pop is poppier and the choruses are soaring) a lingering issue has once again presented itself.

This may be a comparison to other bands or simply to past works, but the band's emotional energy is lacking. For every improvement the band has made, Stephen Christian's delivery still feels restrained. While the effect works well at some points, it doesn't allow any one song to be overly memorable. The entire effect is, to be honest, a bit of a disappointment. For someone who's expected the moon and stars for this unit, I'm now beginning to think that as the current line-up stands, that may be asking too much.

If you can connect to Christian's voice and enjoy the potent lyrics regardless, this may be your album of the year. With Circa Survive, Converge, Ceremony, Propagandhi and others stepping up their game though, I've got more deserving candidates in mind.


user ratings (655)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • H. (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...

  • 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...

    Atari CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
    Finally....

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


Comments:Add a Comment 
skeletalchemy
October 16th 2012


8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

By effect, I don't mean the vocal effects or anything audibly done to Stephen's voice. It's the effect that Stephen Christian's level of restraint has on me as a listener.

Lakes.
October 16th 2012


28693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0



Digging: Laked God and Yak - Butt Pirate Bible Force

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 16th 2012


9064 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So, Anberlin's first album came out 9 years ago. How were you introduced to them more than 10 years ago?

sixdegrees
October 16th 2012


17514 Comments


he was at their first practice session, obv.

skeletalchemy
October 16th 2012


8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Anberlin was formed in 2002; within a year of forming, they had signed with semi-independent record label Tooth & Nail Records and released their debut album
Direct pull from Wikipedia.
ten years later, 2012.
The math seems fairly simple to me.
Did you know that they were a band BEFORE their first album? And that a thing called computers and demos were available then too?
I didn't pull a number out of my ass. BEFORE they got signed, I was listening to Anberlin. Why would this be my first review on Sputnik if it didn't have some sort of relevance to me?
The rule is simple: first, you review what's familiar. Then you review something foreign. They also played shows before getting signed.

Cygnatti
October 16th 2012


21825 Comments


so it's awesome

but the vocals are too restrained so it's a 3

Digging: Autechre - Chiastic Slide

sixdegrees
October 16th 2012


17514 Comments


damn Anberlin OGs represent

skeletalchemy
October 16th 2012


8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Cygnatti
Against their past works and their current competition, yes. The lack of emotional connection and intensity is simply too great for me to ignore. The way a band vocalizes itself is essential. As the voice of Anberlin, I see Stephen Christian as the weak link. He can sing. He just doesn't convey any emotional response.

Lakes.
October 16th 2012


28693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

doesn't convey any emotional response? ...damn dude.
*fin has some of the best and most emotional vocal delivery ever, he practically makes the song. and i don't think he's vocally inferior on this album either, he sounds as great as ever.

kakemonster
October 16th 2012


2 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I have to somewhat agree with you on this review. My main gripe with Vital is that several songs do not have strong/catchy enough melody to keep you coming back for more listens, and that is partly due to the Stephen's vocal melodies. The main reason I've been a fan since Blueprint is Anberlin's ability to create bone-chilling choruses. On Vital this is unfortunately, more of a hit (e.g. modern age) and miss (e.g. other sider, intensions).

KILL
October 16th 2012


72086 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

bet this sucs

Digging: Steve Hackett - Out of the Tunnel's Mouth

savaah
October 16th 2012


497 Comments


i checked this one out band expecting something dark... and then something poppier happens fuck man

Lakes.
October 16th 2012


28693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dude kill jam this

savaah
October 16th 2012


497 Comments


ye all time

dathvada321
October 16th 2012


1443 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah KILL dont knock it till u hear it

Digging: The Ghost Inside - Dear Youth

Ecnalzen
October 17th 2012


6775 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't agree with the overuse of synths/electronica. They just occasionally used them until this album. This is the first time they have really "relied upon them," as you say.

savaah
October 17th 2012


497 Comments


don't you see this is disco music

KjSwantko
October 17th 2012


9446 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nothin wrong with Christian disco

TooLateToGoBack
October 17th 2012


1779 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude, no.

Eko
October 17th 2012


2119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

inb4 dev rages for electronica

recommended by reviewer section is kinda cool/interesting



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