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.
, 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?