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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Artist: Fallstar
Album: Reconciler. Refiner. Igniter.
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Label: Come&Live!

Two years ago, I made a great discovery of a new "missionary label" that was in its beginning stages, known as Come&Live! Since then, C&L! has gone on to partner with a wide array of bands, one of which are the Oregon-based melodic/post-hardcore band Fallstar. On their latest album, Reconciler. Refiner. Igniter., the band blends together gritty rock-like choruses, along with a barrage of intense yelling and a good amount of screaming. Vocalist Chris Ratzlaff shows off a great range as well, with anything from some very low growls, to higher screams reminiscent of Jimmy Ryan's (Haste The Day-era).

Reconciler. Refiner. Igniter. starts off with some swelling, ambient guitar work that sounds like something from Secret & Whisper's Teenage Fantasy, before switching into some driving riffs and double-bass on "Hunters." Some droning gang vocals chant "I will follow You always" and a spoken part both make appearances on "Black Clouds," while the title track contains some redemptive lyrics and a similar song structure as the opener. Other songs like "Horse Without A Rider," "Face The Floor" and "Lurchers" seem meant for a live setting, are full of energy, and the latter has a few breakdowns to go along with it.

"Saratoga Springs" takes on more of a rock-driven sound, with a chorus that for some reason brings to mind, Queens Club? The punk-natured drumming and tempo of the song is refreshing to hear, and makes the track a highlight of the album. In the breakdown, you can also hear Ratzlaff inhaling for breath after each scream, a technique not too far away from some of what The Chariot's Josh Scogin does. A testimony of some sort is told on "Drunkaholics Anonymous," but is hard to hear over the music that plays over it. The closing two songs, "Contortionist" and "Windows," close out the album on a surprisingly heavy note, rather than on a slower one.

While Reconciler... is not a bad album, it does suffer from a few things. One is the production quality. The drumming and guitar riffs come across as a bit raw, as well as some of the screams. As a partial result of that, the album is also one that will most likely not be one that you love at first listen, but instead takes some time to really sink in and make a good impression.

Overall: One of Come&Live!'s first albums of the year, Reconciler. Refiner. Igniter. from Fallstar is an interesting listen. Paired with strong lyrics is plenty of yelling, screaming and singing, but in unique song structures, that don't all revolve around the typical run of the mill scream-sing-scream-breakdown song format. I hear influences of a wide variety of bands on this album, that all come together for an album that is not an immediate favorite, but takes time to sink in. Although suffering from some less than great production, Fallstar get their music and message across in a way that is effective, whether it be in your face screaming, or melodic singing.

Rating: 7/10

  1. Hunters
  2. Black Clouds
  3. Reconciler
  4. Horse Without A Rider
  5. Saratoga Springs
  6. Lurchers
  7. Drunkaholics Anonymous
  8. Face the Floor
  9. Contortionist
  10. Windows
(Download Here)

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1 comment:

  1. this record is incredible! i love the rawness!