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: Immortal Souls
Album: IV: The Requiem for the Art of Death
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Label: Facedown Records

Christianity and European death metal don't mix. Well if you're Immortal Souls you disagree. The band mixes traditional death metal with a creepy winter vibe to it to make what they call "winter metal". As the title suggest this is the fourth full-length album by the band, and is full of technical guitar work, and some amazing death metal screams.

Musically, the album is so technical in nature with some amazing guitar work. The band uses the instruments to give of the winter-esque atmosphere that would constitute as winter metal. The album starts with Act I of a three act musical number entitled "Art of Death Act I: Soulbells" as the title suggest there is a lot of Gothic church bells ringing with a guitar riff playing behind it, the same riff will be featured in the other two acts as well. The album immediately kicks into a face-paced, guitar driven track, "Evil Believer", which also features some killer drumming throughout. Aki uses his signature deep death metal growls throughout. About 2:00 into the song there is a very nice guitar solo, and then the song dies a little and Aki whispers something before the song kicks back into gear. The album continues on this chaotically rapid pace through the lead single "Nuclear Winter" which is an iconic death metal song, with the drummer going crazy at the beginning, and Aki's slow growls and then kicking into his more traditional style. The pace doesn't let up until "Art of Death Act II: The Last Journey", which features the same guitar piece heard at the end of Act I, this time without the bells. Then comes the track "Reek of Rotting Rye" which starts with a super heavy guitar riff, before the guitarist just starts to shred away, and the rapid pace of the album is back. "The Last Day on Earth" has a nice guitar riff in it, mixed with some super heavy drum beat, which makes it more like a deathcore song, than death metal but it still works so well with the rest of the album. The album finishes with "Art of Death Act III: The Requiem of the Funeral Eve" which once again has that same guitar piece in it, but this time it doesn't stop there the music picks up into this very melodic dark and heavy piece, and then it stops and there's this soft music playing again, the song becomes a bit of a roller coaster or more like a whirling snowstorm of slower melodic sections and chaotic metal sections before ending with the same bells that started the album.

The lyrics of IV use several elements of the wintry feel to bring the emotions of a dark time, like a cold winter's day. One example of the wintry elements being used as metaphorically to convey a much deeper message would be in the song "Nuclear Winter"; "After the fall where do you crawl when lights are dim/After the sin nuclear winter bleak is the and the end is nigh/After the fall a new winter dawn" it symbolizes the dark times of a sin-filled life, and how bleak it is for a person trapped in that dark, cold lifestyle. Aki's vocals are classic death metal vocals, but they sound so good nonetheless. His voice adds another atmospheric depth to the dark, cold, miserable feelings of a long winter.

Overall: This is a very good album from the best Christian European death metal band around. The technicality, and tightness of the album is superb. If you love guitar solos, you'll love almost every song on this album. I went into IV thinking it was going to be another Wintereich type album, but there is a whole new level to the talent on this album, thus making IV Immortal Souls best album to date.

Rating: 8/10

Recommended Tracks: "Nuclear Winter", "Last Day on Earth", and "Reek of Rotting Rye"

Reviewed by: Michael Small

1. Art of Death Act I: Soulbells
2. Evil Believer
3. Nuclear Winter
4. I Wept
5. Absolution
6. Art of Death Act II: The Last Journey
7. Reek of Rotting Rye
8. Last Day on Earth
9. Hypnotic Atrocity
10. Thoughts of Desolation
11. One Last Withering Rose
12. Art of Death Act III: The Requiem of the Funeral Eve

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