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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Living Sacrifice with The Famine, Becoming The Archetype, To Speak of Wolves, As They Sleep and Messengers
12/10/10 at The Bandwagon, Fort Worth, TX

When this tour package was first announced, I was beyond stoked. I had only seen two of the original six bands announced (which were Living Sacrifice and a very different To Speak of Wolves that were then touring on their EP). My joy was not diminished however, when it was announced that The Showdown would not be able to join this tour as originally promoted. I was sad that I would not get to see them, but the lineup was still so strong that it didn't hurt the tour package at all.

My new concern was that the tour wouldn't come to my DFW area. Thank God that worry was put to rest pretty quickly as the tour was to be coming to town with a bonus - Messengers and The Famine! Messengers are a hardcore/metal/thrash band that had just recently put out a very good EP (Anthems) on Strike First Records. I was amped to see them live as I really enjoyed their debut. The Famine is another good metal band from the DFW area that I had admired for some time, but had not had a chance to actually see play. Needless to say, I felt pretty blessed to get to see such great bonus additions to the show.

First up was Messengers. I'd say that's a darn good lineup if Messengers is your opening act! Messengers performed about eight songs, with the last being a No Innocent Victim cover of "My Beliefs." Even though they are a local act, the crowd seemed mostly unfamiliar with their set. That is to be expected though, since they had only put out their EP a little over a month prior. They put on a good show with vocalist Chad Paramore doing the bulk of the work. If you are looking for technical prowess or an extremely rehearsed performance, look elsewhere. This is NOT a knock on them. They sound good live and I enjoyed watching them. They are just true to their "thrash-y" roots.

Next up was a great technical death metal band from Detroit called As They Sleep. I was unfamiliar with this band until my good buddy Steve Sloan from IVM (Indie Vision Music) told me about them. He had known about them prior to their recent signing with Solid State. They band only played five and a half songs. I say "a half" because after their setlist, they quickly worked up the Texas crowd with an energetic and faithful Pantera cover, only playing roughly half the song. Again, this band had a small case of the "stand-arounds". Now, the vocalist (Aaron Bridgewater) cannot be lumped into this category. He was all over the place. They sound really good live and are very technical. So technical, in fact, that it seemed like their drummer (Tony Lukitsh) had slight difficulties playing some parts. Now that can be due to numerous reasons, one of which I happen to believe is the fatigue bands probably incur from being on the road. Combine that with the technicality of the music and I'd say he or anyone has more than a good excuse.

To Speak of Wolves were up next. I had seen TSOW about two years ago when they were a totally different lineup. They were great then and they still are. The band is nothing but pure energy. These guys are EVERYWHERE! That had a short but sweet set. They packed a lot into it, seeing as how the bass player (Will McCuthcheon) jumped into the crowd, bass-less, and started moshing, and their fill in vocalist (Mason Minnick of Red Morning Voyage) lost a shoe (don't ask, haha).

Now, the best part of the show: Becoming The Archetype. I can honestly say with no sense of "fanboy-ism" that BTA stole the show! I never considered myself a huge BTA fan. I mean, sure, I had enjoyed some of the stuff I had heard and wanted to maybe pick up some CDs some day, but I was in no rush. That changed the first minute they played. They are so technical and tight sounding that it's unfair to other bands. They are explosive and highly entertaining. Jason Wisdom (vocalist/bassist) never stops moving. Words truly do this band no justice in "describing" their live show. I hate knowing I'm selling them short. The saddest part of the show was the fact that they only played about five songs. If you have not seen them, go! I will be at every BTA show I am blessed with the opportunity to be at. They have a new album coming out in March entitled Celestial Completion. I will be getting it!

Now, was The Famine's time. They are solid live and represent their studio efforts pretty faithfully. One thing that really sticks out to me is frontman Nick Nowell. That dude is a riot. If you've ever seen their studio videos, you'll know what I'm talking about. Whenever he's done with music, I think he can do standup, he's that funny. The band ran through songs mostly from their debut full-length, The Raven and The Reaping. Though, they did play one new song, the amazing "Ad Mortem," from their highly anticipated new album, The Architects of Guilt, due out on February 15th.

Last and obviously not the least were the legendary Living Sacrifice. I had become a recent fan of theirs after seeing them live at a guest appearance on last summer's Scream The Prayer (tour). I had enjoyed their music in sections through the years, but for whatever reason never made them a staple in my collection. That changed after the first time I saw them live. The bands gets "it". They know what to do and how to do it when it comes to live shows. Like them or not, seeing them live will make anyone a fan. They're as solid as a unit as any band performing today. They utilize a great light show as well as smoke to fully draw you in. The way they closed out the night was truly amazing. Even thinking about it now, I smile. They capped off the night with a ridiculously awesome performance of "Reject" from their Reborn album. That song is already high enough in energy as it is. Add in Jason Wisdom from BTA and Will McCuthcheon from TSOW swapping vocals on the song, magic. The place went CRAZY! I could see Living Sacrifice hundreds of times and not grow tired of them. What a way to end an already amazing night!

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  1. I totally agree: BTA are very approachable and sensitive to their audience. My first LS show, I was blown away by their monolithic presence and sound. I love the brotherhood, perfectly evinced by the co-op on "Reject," with Garza on the drums! One-of-a-kind show - good review

  2. Been following LS since the days at Club 412 (ya... I too am getting old). They have been a staple to me for years. What amazed me was the drummer from "The Famine" filling in for Lance and doing an amazing job. That guy is as brutal, explosive, and technical as any drummer's ever been, and Lance is a phenomena all his own. I admittedly can't stand emo kids and fairie dancers, but the music remains ours. After 20 years, LS still brings the metal onslaught.