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: Hope for the Dying
Album: Dissimulation
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Label: Facedown Records

Seamlessness, flow, epicness, whatever you want to call it, Hope for the Dying has it on Dissimulation. Every single track flows into the next one. You can literally put this album in and you would not be able to tell when it switches songs. The continuity of the album is made possible with the use of symphonic strings. The band has used keys and like instruments before, but this is something different, something more. The overall sound of Dissimulation is at times a symphonic, death metal sound. The screams sound like the signature Hope for the Dying screams. There are quite a bit of clean vocals too, many of which are done by a female singer. The female vocals are somewhat overused at times, and lessen the mood and integrity of some songs. The awesome thing about these songs however, is that even though they flow so well, you can still take any given song and listen to it without feeling like part of it is missing.

The album starts with "Exordium," and the band just says "hey, we're using symphonic elements in our music and this is what it's going to sound like." The album's intensity builds through the songs "Vacillation," "Orison" and "Transcend," until it reaches the climax in "Perpetual Rain." The song includes strings, horns, blasting drums and searing guitars. After this song, the album starts to falter, the clean vocals become more persistent, and the album begins to lose steam. That's why I call "Perpetual Rain" the climax of the album. Each song is also filled with some great, God-loving and inspiring lyrics like: "The hatred you preach won't stand any longer/We've come to rectify/The years of abuse and pain/The bitter taste endured/Till we celebrate/Revere the glory of your demise."

Overall, if you add the further experimentation of the strings with the signature sound of Hope for the Dying, you get a breath of fresh air in the metal world, in the form of a great album like Dissimulation. There's a lot of positives to this album, such as the strings, the technicality of the guitars and of course the lyrics. However, there are also some negatives, like the overuse of clean vocals (especially towards the end of the album), and the overall loss of intensity at the end of the album. The album is a very good effort, and hopefully the foundation of what Hope for the Dying is becoming.

Rating: 7/10

Recommended Tracks: "Vacillation," "Orison," "Transcend" and "Perpetual Rain"

Reviewed by Michael Small

  1. Exordium
  2. Vacillation
  3. Orison
  4. Transcend
  5. Imminent War
  6. Perpetual Rain
  7. The Awakening
  8. The Awakening: Dissimulation
  9. The Awakening: The Veil Lifted
  10. Vile Reflections
  11. Derision
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