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: Blessthefall
Album: Awakening
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Label: Fearless Records

In 2009 Blessthefall proclaimed “We’re not dead!” and I believed them, replacing a lead vocalist is hard to do but they pulled it off. Here it is 2011, and they’re calling their new album Awakening, and this time I’m not buying it. The band has been the same for it’s entire career except Beau replacing Craig on the last album and the new rhythm guitarist on this album. Just like the members haven’t really changed, neither has the band.

The album opens with another little track much like the last album did, with the same four lines or so repeated a few times before kicking into the body of the album. Musically this album is about the same as the last album. It’s good, generic metalcore music. There’s nothing really special or stand-out about the music, they play what most scene bands play, and they do it well. Not saying the bands not talented, just that there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of originality in the music. Regardless, the music still does what it’s primary purpose is, and that’s get the listener pumped. Their breakdowns are very good, as they’ve always been. The band has also lost some of the keyboards/synthesizers from the first two albums, which in my opinion shows some of the weaknesses in the rest of the bands instrumental material. If you go the digital iTunes route you get the dubstep remix of “Promised Ones” by Big Chocolate. If you like dubstep, check this out, it’s a pretty cool dubstep remix of one of the better songs on the album.

Lyrically, the band has made improvements. They’ve gone back towards more faith based lyrics, which is a very good thing. The song “Promised Ones” to me shows some of this movement “Don't you know/We are the promised ones and nothing's in our way/They can try but/They'll never stop us/Tell all our enemies we're ready for the war/We've been here and we'll never die.” What it says to me is that tell all of those who oppose us who live under God’s law that we won’t back down from our beliefs and we will never die, because we've been granted eternal life. The band even touches on the fact they strayed away from what they once stood for on the song “The Reign”; “I swear that this time it's real/I promise that I will keep true/My heart belongs to you/My heart belongs to you!” Beau’s vocals aren't the greatest on this album, but they’re not horrible either. The clean vocals sound like every other band signed to one of the major metalcore labels out there. I enjoy the lyrics, but other than that the vocals are just average, and Beau seems to have lost a little something on his screams.

Overall: This album is a step down from their previous album, which was incidentally enough a step down from their debut album. There’s nothing special about this album, and it is easily forgettable. In the three and a half years since Beau has joined the band, they haven’t shown any real signs of growing as a band, they’re comfortable with the sound they have, and it seems don’t want to see it change from that too much if at all. It’s sad to see once a band gets some national attention that they fall into making the same album as before, and I feel this is what’s happened to Blessthefall. However, the album was better the second and third time around than it was the first, so maybe it’s one of those albums that will grow on you over time but I doubt it.

Rating: 6/10

Recommended Tracks: “Promised Ones”, and “The Reign”

Reviewed by: Michael Small

1. Awakening
2. Promised Ones
3. Bottomfeeder
4. I'm Bad News, in the Best Way
5. The Reign
6. 40 Days...
7. Bone Crew
8. Don't Say Goodbye
9. Undefeated
10. 'til the Death of Me
11. Flatline
12. Meet Me at the Gates

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