Anberlin
Silverline


4.5
superb

Review

by Sowing STAFF
July 29th, 2022 | 100 replies


Release Date: 07/29/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Don’t you ever count me out.

Eight years ago, Anberlin left us with what was supposed to be their farewell album – the electronically-tinged, emotionally stirring Lowborn. As a full-length set of songs, I was happy enough with it; the melodies were catchy, the lyrics were heartfelt, and they did nothing to squander their legacy. However, as the grand finale for their entire career, it left me wanting. Lowborn was instrumentally/technically subpar, often feeling like a Stephen Christian solo record, and there were no epic moments like ‘Fin.’ or ‘MIserabile Visu’ to tie a bow on all of their achievements. It merely felt like a very good seventh studio album from an act that was beginning to run out of steam. Only folks in the band’s inner circle will know if that was actually the case – and to Anberlin’s credit they certainly made the most of any waning motivation – but when they returned last September to unveil ‘Two Graves’, my excitement simply could not be contained. First of all, the entire band absolutely crushed it with that track – a monstrously aggressive rocker that remains by far their heaviest moment – and second of all, they once again felt like a band with something to prove. When Christian screamed “Don't you ever count me out”, I could feel the adrenaline building up inside of me. Whatever Anberlin was working on, it was surely going to be incredible and well worth reuniting for.

With Silverline, that moment of truth has finally arrived – and it lives up to the hype. All five tracks here are excellent in their own unique ways – whether it’s a fist-pumping anthem, a melodic dopamine rush, or a heartfelt lyrical ode. On the heels of ‘Two Graves’ – which I maintain is an indisputable career highlight – we get ‘Nothing Lost’, a prototypical Anberlin song that packs a ton of energy, boasts an enormous vocal hook, and also feels like a keen observation of the band’s revival: “We can’t stop here / We didn’t come this far to only come this far” / “Say nothing is ever lost”. Considering that most fans will already be well-acclimated with ‘Two Graves’, ‘Nothing Lost’ feels like Silverline’s true welcome mat – a time machine back to Anberlin’s nostalgic late-2000s/early-2010s brand. ‘Body Language’ slows the tempo down and enters electronic pop territory reminiscent of Lowborn’s most mellow cuts, but also possesses their same infectiousness with its pristine production and infectious stutter-step chorus. ‘Asking’ is likely to be the most underrated gem here; it’s an absolute stunner that begins as a gleaming, sublime ballad underscored by lush keyboards and slowly transforms into something far more intense yet equally as beautiful. With lyrics conveying a desire to pull someone from the brink of mental collapse to a place of safety and acceptance, the song also adds emotional weight to the EP’s title: “I want to be the savior to your complex mind / I want to be the quiet in storms…silverline.” Speaking of lyrics, Anberlin sprinkles some truly thought-provoking lines throughout this extended play, from apathy/inaction being a detriment to relationships (“Silence in love will tear us apart”) to how violence, in the end, helps nobody (“If you want revenge, then you should dig two graves”). Anberlin’s ability to connect with their listeners has always been a major part of their music, and Silverline continues that tradition. The band delivers a swirling, powerful, and mesmerizing curtain-call in ‘Circles’, which does an astounding job of balancing their affinity for hazy, reverb-drenched atmospheres with sheer heaviness. Out of the five songs presented here, there was no other way that Silverline could have ended.

With Stephen Christian stating that this won’t be the band’s last EP, it seems safe to proclaim – at least for now – that Anberlin is back. Silverline is a more powerful and enthralling rebirth than Lowborn was a farewell, and that should excite anyone who is ready to embrace the second chapter of this group’s career. After eight years, they’ve proven that they haven’t lost a step – and if ‘Two Graves’ is any indication, they may have even gained a chip on their shoulder. As we unexpectedly wade further into Anberlin’s discography, there exists the distinct possibility that the best may be yet to come – a notion that would have been unfathomable just a few short years ago. How’s that for a silver lining?



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Sowing
Moderator
July 29th 2022


41803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I may or may not have been listening to this for a while, and I think the 3 new songs will grow and subtly sneak up on some people here. The bookends are pure aces. Anberlin is back and, in my opinion, just as good as ever. Hell of an EP.

ShadowNeko
July 29th 2022


331 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The sound production is great but man, this really lacks punchy guitar work and drumming.

I think Cities and New Surrender is much better than this. :|

Stephen's vocals are the only highlight.

ShadowNeko
July 29th 2022


331 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nothing Lost is definitely the best song on this EP. It's the heaviest imo and hits so right.

Project
July 29th 2022


5515 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

love the writeup Sowing. I fully agree about Asking -- Anberlin hasn't written a song with that kind of dynamics since Cities.

Sowing
Moderator
July 29th 2022


41803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No way is Nothing Lost heavier than Two Graves, but I do love the song



Asking is amazing agreed



I'm certainly inclined to agree that this, sort of like Lowborn, is lacking in the guitar and drumming department, but also sort of like Lowborn, they make it work quite well

Project
July 29th 2022


5515 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

the drumming on Asking is phenomenal and one of the reasons I love the track so much, but I see your point otherwise

Storm In A Teacup
July 29th 2022


40682 Comments


Looking forward to trying this all in one listen.

Feather
July 29th 2022


8398 Comments


Band was really solid at Furnace Fest last summer. Happy to see they are back making music and touring a bit.

Rant about how music should be released: Disappointed to hear the unlikeliness of full lps, but happy to hear they are going the ep route as opposed to the random one off singles route (ala Jimmy Eat World). Wish they had dropped this all at once though or just released one single ahead of time from it so I could hear it all fresh.

Sowing
Moderator
July 29th 2022


41803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah quality of the music notwithstanding, I'm never a big fan of multiple EPs in lieu of an LP, and even less so when 40% of said EP is available ahead of time. Anberlin is lucky I love them so much. ;-)

JakeStallion
July 29th 2022


617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

had this on repeat all morning. feels so good to have my favorite band back and in such top form. the middle 3 tracks are definitely gonna be growers (not that i dont already enjoy them immensely, just really need time to let them digest), but Asking is SO fucking good. that bridge gave me goosebumps on first listen

Sowing
Moderator
July 29th 2022


41803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed Jake. Nothing Lost didn't click until my second listen and I really didn't even like Body Language at first but then it grew over the course of 3-4 spins. Asking is incredible and a candidate for best song here alongside Two Graves and Circles. I do think my personal favorite is still Two Graves; I can't get enough of that aggressive edge. I could be wrong, but I feel like it's probably the heaviest song they've ever written (not counting Dissenter, which sounded really forced to me).

JakeStallion
July 29th 2022


617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i just did a full discog marathon last month (bonus tracks, demos, and all) and yeah two graves has gotta be their heaviest. those last few seconds are *so* deliciously chunky.

Sowing
Moderator
July 29th 2022


41803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed. I would do just about anything for an entire LP in that same vein. Just astonishingly good, makes me want to scream along every time.

That said, I really enjoy the variety here.

sharkmsc
July 29th 2022


409 Comments


Anberlin is back!

Lucman
July 29th 2022


5475 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Body Language and Asking are the highlights for me. I do not vibe with Two Graves at all and I'm firmly against Anberlin going in that direction. To me, it's Anberlin doing post-hiatus Thrice with the production choices that went into Dissenter. The rest of the ep I just feel unenthused by.

sharkmsc
July 29th 2022


409 Comments


Two Graves was sick and essentially my introduction to the band's music. Odd for sure but I'll start by listening to this EP.

Sowing
Moderator
July 30th 2022


41803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can't fathom lumping Two Graves in with Dissenter. Dissenter was forced and had an "oh shit, this album is way too mild, we need HEAVY song" vibe to it. Two Graves is free-flowing and the heavy moments come about organically. Dissenter has almost no natural melodic component; Two Graves is memorable and melodically dynamic even at its heaviest without needing to alternate intense-melodic-intense-melodic...the whole thing just breathes as one.



Anyway, as far as this being anyone's introduction to Anberlin, I can actually see that. It's not uncommon for bands coming off of long hiatuses or breakups to gain new fans. In this case they were out of sight and out of mind for close to a decade. There's bound to be music listeners young and old who've managed to miss their existence until now...that said, go listen to "Fin" now.

Lucman
July 30th 2022


5475 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I still think it has that forced quality to it. It's nowhere near as obnoxious, definitely, and I totally agree that the song breathes as one unified piece, but it really doesn't feel natural for the band at this point. Stephen's vocals sound strained and it sounds hollow compared to something like Godspeed and I don't hear how it's all that interesting melodically. It's a well run dry for me, I'm afraid. But super happy that folks are digging it, obvs.

Emim
July 30th 2022


32631 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oooh, stoked to listen to this. I've been playing the hell out of Circles lately.

Sowing
Moderator
July 30th 2022


41803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Godspeed is a certified banger for sure, but to me they're different styles of songs that don't necessarily warrant comparison. Stephen doesn't really scream on Godspeed; if anything he comes closer on Little Tyrants, which I think is an even better version of Godspeed and probably fits as more of an apt comparison. Still, the main moments of Stephen screaming that come to mind for me are the *original* The Feel Good Drag (not the neutered New Surrender version), Dissenter, Dead American, and Two Graves. Out of all those, Two Graves sees him at his most reckless and loud, with only The Feel Good Drag giving the song a run for its money in terms of natural flow/dynamicism. Anyway, I hope it grows on you; I think it's easily their best song since Vital dropped in 2012.



Emim, it's excellent. My song ranking would go Two Graves > Circles > Nothing Lost = Asking > Body Language, but they're all good and the only one that I could see longtime Anberlin fans even taking issue with is Body language because it's really poppy by their standards.



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