Anberlin
Vital


4.5
superb

Review

by Alex Beebe USER (126 Reviews)
October 17th, 2012 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: As loud as it is whimsical, Vital is irresistibly unique alternative rock, and truly is an album that just gets better with each track.

As a band, Anberlin recalls a time in modern rock music where ambitious musical ideas could be present in an artist’s sound as opposed to being forcefully overstated. The group’s sixth studio album Vital is a fine testament of their ability to seamlessly incorporate so many different genres and remain reserved about it, not emphasizing on one aspect in particular to define their sound, but equally catering to their music's varying features so that they all may correspond with each other and delivery music that has an strong, accumulated impact.

The ground Vital manages to cover is impressive to say the least. On this album, Anberlin delves into polished post-hardcore just as deep as they do with heavy alternative metal riffs, with the brisk pacing of the former working surprisingly well the churning crunch of the latter. This is a collection of songs that are thickly layered, and alternate between distinctly differing segments as the tracks progress. This is notable during the acoustic solo break amongst the glistening atmosphere of “Type Three”, and the pounding acceleration of the drum beat in the middle of the rich and soaring melodies of “Orpheum”, and these differencing elements are so impeccably melded together through Vital’s well-groomed production, that the songs ease beautifully into these segments without obstructing the flow in any way.

While this is a heavier album for Anberlin, Vital also sees the band experiment more heavily with electronic elements in their sound. While most alternative rock bands are fond of integrating synthesizers driven by a more darker and industrial mood ala Nine Inch Nails into their sound when dabbling into electronic territory, Anberlin have broken from that tired preference among their peers, and have separated themselves from the pack by instead choosing to work with extravagantly bright and colorful synths that one would expect to hear in an Owl City album.

These danceable, pop driven beats prove to be a great backbone production for the songs, and work as interesting introductions to tracks, such as the almost aquatic-natured backing jingles of “Other Side”. Anberlin really has struck a perfect middle-ground between the chugging alt metal heaviness and the innocent synths that act as their foundation. Tracks with more charging guitars right out of the gates such as “Someone Anyone” and “Intentions” tango surprisingly well with happy new wave vibes supporting them, and with very few inconsistencies at that.

What’s truly great about the songs on Vital is that they feel so free, like a swift breeze that you can’t help but embrace. This is music that is free of the confines and limitations of typical modern rock formulas, it doesn’t abide by any predisposed structures, it just immediately cranks the volume up right at the start and sweeps listeners up to the rafters in a massively visceral and unique atmosphere fit for an arena, that’s speedily guided at a hasty pace with the band’s heart for post-hardcore.

The album starts out both heavy and danceable, and just keeps increasing in a steady sharp momentum to ultimately attain a height of power that never lets up until the album is over. While most alternative rock albums on a straight-listen through can die in energy towards the last few tracks, Vital only becomes more urgent and grabbing. The last four tracks are booming with harmony and melody that casts listener’s into a vast fairy tale land of youthful bliss that has a staying power that lasts long after the album has finished.

Vital is a crisp journey of an album that has a wide range of appeal to fans of numerous genres, such as alternative rock, post-hardcore, heavy metal, and even synthpop. It’s an effective, and nearly captivating record that offers a different take on elements familiar to many, and fans of any type of rock music will find the album quite fetching, and be glad to be caught up in it.



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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....

    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...

    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 
breakingthefragile
October 17th 2012


2962 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So yeah, I know this already has a ton of reviews that share my stance on this album, but I listened to this and was so inspired by it that I just had to share my thoughts. Let me know how I did. Also, this is my 1000th comment. Yaaaaaaaay. Wooohoooo.

Ire
October 17th 2012


41820 Comments


WA OH

WAH OHHHHH

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 17th 2012


9064 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

How have you found the inspiration to write 43 reviews in 6 months? That's incredible.

Ire
October 17th 2012


41820 Comments


yeah and not in a shitty kiss discog way. what a cool guy

breakingthefragile
October 17th 2012


2962 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks Hood. I just really love doing this. It's a great hobby that I want to some day turn into a profession. 43 since April isn't THAT impressive though, now, PaperbackWriter, that dude is a marvel. Almost 80 reviews since Feburary, makes tons of band and album edits, tons more advice contributed to others, he's pretty badass.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 17th 2012


16785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Writing a ton of reviews isn't always a good thing though. Just look at bulldog (those who remember him will recall 100 reviews in less than a year, none of which exceeded mediocrity). I can't talk too much because I (especially in the past) reviewed way too often, but a lot of the time I'd rather see someone put out 2-3 phenomenal reviews per month rather than churn out sheer numbers. In your case and paperback's though, the quality is there so I suppose it doesn't matter but most people can't pull off good reviews in huge numbers.

Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

YoYoMancuso
October 17th 2012


11187 Comments


great review alex, pos'd

paxman
October 17th 2012


4084 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Will pos when spelling and grammatical errors are resolved

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 17th 2012


9064 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree with you Sowing. Personally, I'm jealous of anyone who can write a review a week and keep their quality at a high standard- I sure as hell can't. Also, RIP Bulldog, I miss him.

Storm In A Teacup
October 17th 2012


13191 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Half my reviews are cringe worthy.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 17th 2012


20063 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I've written like 40 reviews in 2 months lol

Digging: Trophy Eyes - Mend, Move On

Storm In A Teacup
October 17th 2012


13191 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"a time in modern rock music where ambitious musical ideas could be present in an artist’s sound"

What?

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 17th 2012


20063 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Storm you should just review this too.

TheSupernatural
October 17th 2012


1268 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

There are barely any examples in the entire review. It sounds more like how a label company would try to sell an album, rather than a review of it.

breakingthefragile
October 17th 2012


2962 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@TheSupernatural Are you seriously fucking kidding me right now? Are you stupid? There are examples
ALL OVER THIS REVIEW. I go into the specific details of so many individual songs here as the cited
examples for the reasons why I think this album is as good as it is. Fuck you, idiot.

sixdegrees
October 17th 2012


17514 Comments


damn

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 17th 2012


20063 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Lol was just gonna say he mentions like 5 different songs in the review there are most definitely examples and good ones at that ;)

Pos'd bro this doesn't deserve the 2 negs it got...keep it up!

sixdegrees
October 17th 2012


17514 Comments


responds well to criticism

Yes
X No

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 17th 2012


20063 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

yeah fragile your response was a little harsh lol but it was a good review.

breakingthefragile
October 17th 2012


2962 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm always open to criticism, but I'm not gonna tolerate somebody saying I didn't do something when I clearly did. I'm not gonna take stupid shit like that.



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