Anberlin
Vital


4.5
superb

Review

by Ecnalzen USER (17 Reviews)
October 19th, 2012 | 23 replies | 1,233 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Further proof of the theory that Anberlin can do no wrong.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

One of the things we have learned to depend on from Anberlin over the years is that they usually always have a strong opener and a glorious, epic, extended track to end each album. The only exceptions really are Blueprints for the Black Market and Dark is the Way, Light is a Place. Blueprints just doesn’t have one (although Readyfuels is a fantastic opener) and “Depraved,” to me, doesn’t really fit the criteria. Never Take Friendships Personal’s title track is the weakest, paired with the strong “dance, dance Christa Päffgen” to counter balance it and Cities has the excellent “Godspeed,” coupled with the popular and well executed “(*Fin)” on its side. New Surrender has my favorite tag team though with “The Resistance” and the near flawless “Miserabile Visu (Ex Malo Bonum)” in its corner. Vital puts up a fight as well with upbeat “Self Starter” and the somewhat simple, atmospheric ender “God, Drugs & Sex” to top it off. I don’t know when the guys came up with the idea or if it just kind of happened by accident, but I hope they keep them coming.

The band dives much further into the electronic sound than on any previous release and also writes some of the heavier songs we have heard (an odd sentence to write, but so it goes). While Vital feels like new territory for the band, it’s still Anberlin. From a band that’s been this consistently great for the last 10 years, what else could we ask for from them? Like I said, Vital has a lot more rockers all in one place than previous albums. Usually the band only has one or two aggressive tracks (the opener and then another thrown in around the halfway point) and then splits upon the catchier pop/rock (usually leaning a little more towards this side) and the softer, mellower tracks. However, Vital shows a much more melancholy side to the band than previous works. The album is pretty much void of the ridiculously catchy, bouncy and lighthearted sounds of songs like “Adelaide” and “Impossible.” It’s a fairly big departure from the band’s usual sound, but it seems to works in their favor for this release.

Songs like the opener “Self Starter” and the “Godspeed” reminiscer “Little Tyrants” start the album off with a kick. Both songs are pretty fast and furious affairs that have all the instruments going full blast except for the slightly subdued verses. “Little Tyrants” has some really nice guitar parts (the pre-chorus especially) throughout and also treats us to a guitar solo (which we haven’t had the pleasure of for a while). It also showcases Stephen Christian sporting a more aggressive tone than usual on the chorus. He was always good at hitting a yell or a scream at the tail end of a vocal line, but this is the first time I’ve really heard him trying to keep it going over an entire section. It works for the most part, but it could use a little fine tuning. The strong chorus of “Other Side,” with its slower pacing and thickly distorted guitars, followed by lead single “Someone Anyone,” continues the trend of the harder hitting rock songs. Last, we have “Desires,” which has one of the heaviest, most aggressive intro/chorus riffs I’ve heard Anberlin produce in recent memory. I also found it impressive that the synthesizers were used in some of these tracks and didn’t detract from the heavier, hard rock sound found on them. It actually added to the experience. I had heard they were experimenting with synthesizers more on this record, but I was mostly expecting it to be found on the pop/rock songs.

The synths/electronics make their appearance on most of the tracks, which is another pretty big change for the band since the most they were used before were just a couple tracks from Cities (“There Is No Mathematics to Love and Loss” and “Reclusion”) and “Disappear” from New Surrender. It spices up the band’s sound and doesn’t feel like a gimmick, especially since they have experimented with it in the past. “Modern Age” is probably the best of the more pop/rock, synth-heavy songs, followed closely by the slower paced “Orpheum.” “Modern Age” has a somewhat simple, yet infectious intro to it, which Christian then solidifies with his excellent vocals when the intro is used again for the chorus. “Intentions” and “Other Side” straddles the line of the aggressive, mellow and synth-pop/rock sounds quite well, using synth heavy intros and light verses, while “Other Side” utilizes a heavy sounding chorus and “Intentions” takes charge with a catchier chorus and an aggressive bridge that almost comes out of nowhere. “Type Three” and “Innocent” are my least favorite, but are still solid, synth-dominated mellow tracks, while “Innocent” (along with the verses on "Desires") shows a lighter side to the album. And as always, Stephen Christian gives another stellar vocal performance throughout each of the tracks. He just might want to work on his more aggressive tone if that’s something he wants to continue doing for future releases.

Anberlin continues their trend of making high quality albums and further experimenting with their sound. It just further adds to my, and probably many others, theory that the band is capable of no wrong. As of now, I feel that this is their strongest offering to date and like all their other albums, it will remain in my regular rotation long after its release date.



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user ratings (640)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ecnalzen
October 19th 2012



6495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Also, here are links to a couple of the bonus tracks that are scattered around depending on where you bought the CD. I have yet to find the Best Buy bonus tracks.

Unstable: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sT1vqDVOkQ

Safe Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALvgjxl6Lic


Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 19th 2012



19642 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

review flowed well, pos man

KILL
October 19th 2012



71372 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

sukcs

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

YankeeDudel
October 19th 2012



9311 Comments


seriously all these reviews damn

Digging: Rites of Spring - Rites of Spring

KILL
October 19th 2012



71372 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

dw theres more to cum!

KILL
October 19th 2012



71372 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lol

YankeeDudel
October 19th 2012



9311 Comments


this is trve

Ecnalzen
October 19th 2012



6495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Atari.

Yeah, I know. I was going to wait a while since so many have been posted in the last week, but I just went ahead and finished it. I don't think it's much worse than when Coheed's album came out last week, lol.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 19th 2012



19642 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

no problem I know what you mean hehe. I'm actually really digging the new coheed so I might be reviewing that soon too.

Ecnalzen
October 19th 2012



6495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I haven't listened to the new Coheed. I bought it when I got Vital, but I haven't really gave it a chance yet.

Cygnatti
October 19th 2012



21350 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I dun like coheed :/


FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 19th 2012



9033 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I feel like this review takes too much time name-dropping songs, but so does by Ty Segall review so it's all ok

Ecnalzen
October 19th 2012



6495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Songs from the previous albums?

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 19th 2012



15801 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The review is good and I pos'd, but I know what FramDaHood is saying. The opening paragraph, while nicely written, can be a little difficult to read without pausing because you're constantly going through song names. That's fine though - my issue is more with the fact that your song descriptions rely too heavily on comparisons to old Anberlin tracks...what if the reader hasn't heard Cities and has no idea what "Godspeed" sounds like? The occasional comparison is fine - encouraged, in fact - but I feel like it's slightly overused here.



Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

YoYoMancuso
October 19th 2012



11006 Comments


these guys are opening for Smashing Pumpkins tonight. Never heard them in my life

anyway review was good, pos'd

Ecnalzen
October 19th 2012



6495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Makes sense. It's kind of hard not to since I am so familiar with all of their stuff. I get it though, I also need to appeal to people that aren't as familiar with them as I am. I'll try to rework my descriptions and make that look a little less cluttered in the first paragraph. Thanks for the feedback.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 19th 2012



15801 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I mean people who aren't familiar with the band, like YoYoMancuso above, might not get quite as much out of your descriptions because they're rooted within a knowledge of the band's prior discography. I do the same thing, and I'm not by any means saying you shouldn't, it's just better in moderation.

Outside of the two short sections where I feel like you are name-checking songs, this is a good review.

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 19th 2012



9033 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah I agree with that and, as someone who has listened to Cities at least 20 times in the past 5 or so months, I totally understand all those comparisons, but even I felt lost trying to recall the songs from New Surrender, which I've heard 6 times maybe. It's not a wrong assumption that this review will mostly be read by Anberlin fans but I had around 5 people tell me on my review that they planned on checking them out because of the review. You gotta remember them too.
However, introductions basically suck no matter what, so you do what you gotta do.

Ecnalzen
October 19th 2012



6495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Alright, I did some editing. I didn't change much in the first paragraph, but I split the opener/ender sentence up so it wasn't such a long read.

I took out a few song-droppers in the 2nd paragraph, put in more descriptive details on the songs, broke it into two paragraphs so it wasn't so long, and then shifted around a few sentences to keep the flow going.

If Hood, Sowing and anybody else wants to take another look and give some more feedback, I would appreciate it.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 19th 2012



15801 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You probably wouldn't have had to even change anything, it was more advice for the future. The review, with or without the editing, is pretty good.



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