Artist Of The Week - Anchor & Braille

It's been about three years since we've gotten an album from Anchor & Braille, the indie side project of Anberlin's Stephen Christian, but this week, on July 31st, the band's sophomore album will be released. The Quiet Life is a collection of haunting melodies and catchy percussion, certainly a maturation of sound since 2009's Felt. The Quiet Life is available now in stores and online through Tooth & Nail Records.


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The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell

Artist: A Plea For Purging
Album: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Release Date: 7/6/10
Label: Facedown Records

In 2009, A Plea For Purging released Depravity. It was one of my favorite albums of the year. Depravity was a concept album about the wickedness that exists in the heart of man. Musically, it had everything a metalhead would want to hear, ripping guitar solos, crushing breakdowns, relentless drumming and extremely heavy guitar riffs. Fast forward less than a year and a half later and A Plea For Purging are set to release their follow-up album, The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell.

The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell is another concept album of sorts, but this time around is focused on the teachers, preachers and prophets that lead the church astray with false doctrine. Lyrically, A Plea For Purging let these false teachers know that God is none too pleased with their actions and that His judgement awaits. This message is actually the very last words you hear in the closer "The New Born Wonder" before the album ends. "The day is near when everyone will stand before their Maker/Trust not in man/Trust in God/Your judgement is coming." This is a very heavy subject matter to say at the least. What adds an even more chilling atmosphere is the fact that it is spoken by a rather creepy sounding young girl.

Musically, A Plea For Purging create quite an ominous atmosphere to go along with their nearly deathcore styled heaviness. They utilize electronic effects, samples and vocal manipulation effects to help add to the eerie feel of the songs. I do have one small complaint about the album, which is the lack of guitar solos. This is one of the elements A Plea For Purging do so well and are known for. With the exception of a rather disjointed one in "Golden Barriers," the album is completely devoid of them. However, this is just a minor complaint. In all honesty, with the tone of the album, they probably wouldn't have fit in well anyway.

One aspect that A Plea For Purging have never used before, but are present in abundance, are clean vocals. Thankfully, Blake nails them. He sounds great in contrast to Andy's growls. Another surprise from the band is the complete clean singing in the ballad, "The Jealous Wings." There is not a scream to be heard. The atmosphere of The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, along with the vocals and melody, have an almost progressive metal sound to them. I can almost just picture Extol writing this for their album The Blueprint Dives.

Rating: 9/10 As much as I loved their prior album Depravity, I believe that The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell is an improvement. This is a crushingly heavy album.Thankfully, in place of monotonous breakdowns, the band utilize electronics and samples to create an almost industrial music style effort. This effect adds a depth that makes the breakdowns stand out, and more than make up for the lack of guitar solos. A Plea For Purging had a great formula before, but the experimenting shows to only improve it.

Reviewed by Matthew Alexander

  1. The Eternal Female
  2. Sick Silent America
  3. Shiver
  4. Golden Barriers
  5. The Fall
  6. And Weep
  7. Trembling Hands
  8. Finite
  9. The Jealous Wings
  10. The New Born Wonder
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