Review Summary: A worthy swan song that provides proper closure.
When all is said and done, Lowborn
exists as the perfect album to close the storybook on Anberlin’s consistent career. It may not be a perfect album in general, but after a career that spawned the masterful Cities
and many other brilliant works, it’s admirable how the band chose to not play it safe and deliver to us an album that nearly matches Cities’
mature depth. Everything that includes instrumentation, vocals and lyrics is fantastic across the board and some songs even have beautifully unexpected atmospheric touches. The band essentially crafted an engaging rock album that proves to be memorable, catchy, touching and a fitting swan song.
“We are the destroyers” Stephen Christian powerfully exclaims, as the glorious synths and guitar work rages on in “We Are Destroyer.” The band’s impressive lyrics also shine through here as Christian preaches how the human race is slowly but surely destroying our own world and how we often complain about our petty problems. Over the course of Lowborn
, the listener will get the sense that more of an emphasis lays in the vocals and lyrics which are without a doubt the strongest aspect of the record. On the surface, a song like “Armageddon” exists as nothing mind blowing with its synthpop vibe, but Stephen’s soaring vocals and fantastic lyrics really make for an engrossing experience. Lowborn
really shows how far vocals have come with this band and it’s only appropriate that both vocals and lyrics get turned up a notch for a final album. Make no mistake that Anberlin certainly didn't miss the target with this one.
However, despite the vocals and lyrics undoubtedly being the high point of Lowborn
, the band’s instrumentation also acts as a beast of its own. Everything across the board shines through as exceptional and “Velvet Covered Brick” exists as the perfect example. Anberlin’s chemistry as a band does not disappoint in the slightest here with incredible drumming in the chorus as well as soaring guitar work and subtle bass work. However, the only real problem with the instrumentation is how the listener really can’t pick out the bass on the slower songs, but it’s just one small gripe. Throughout the album, the band added subtle ambient and atmospheric touches that elevates Lowborn
as one of their best records. The tear jerking, awe inspiring “Atonement” will forever remain as one of the band’s best songs for this reason and the listener will be floored. The soaring ambiance in the background coupled with Christian’s passionate delivery and heartfelt lyrics will really touch your heart. The way he powerfully exclaims “Don’t wanna be here without you/I need to know you believe in me” is stunning and the very polished production of the track makes for an incredible cathartic experience and it is for this reason that “Atonement” without a doubt should have been the song to close out their career.
However, instead of “Atonement" being the closer, we get the less epic yet still just as emotionally affecting “Harbinger.” Without an intro reminiscent of “Twinge” by Chevelle and yet another soaring, atmospheric vibe, the song essentially is a love letter to Anberlin’s fans. The numerous harmonies that repeat over and over “We’ll live forever” really hits home and the song certainly acts as the band saying goodbye to all of their fans. The lyrics expressing the band's need to move on provides the perfect goodbye as the awe inspiring atmospheric guitar work and vocals rage on. It may not possess the epic qualities of “Fin” or have the closing qualities of “Atonement,” but it nonetheless gets the job done as providing closure for the band and their devoted fans. Lowborn
proves to be one of the band’s most mature outings with passionate tracks shattered throughout and with lyrics that often express how the band has let go of all of their troubles they have written about over the years, it makes sense for this album to be their swan song. Littered with catchy choruses, incredible vocals, top notch instrumentation and some of the band’s most mature lyrics, Lowborn
closes the storybook on Anberlin’s career with a bang. It is for these reasons that Anberlin will certainly live on forever. Farewell boys.