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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Children Of Fire

Artist: Oh, Sleeper
Album: Children of Fire
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Label: Solid State Records

The most compelling bands can always create music that really grabs the listener's attention. It's a fact. Oh, Sleeper are one band that have always proven true to that statement. In a world of unoriginal music that lacks substance, Oh, Sleeper just can not resist making metal that really shakes things up. Like on prior albums, frontman Micah Kinard's brutality shows, both vocally and especially in his honest lyrics. In fact, Children of Fire is another concept driven album, and like Son of the Morning, is driven through highs and lows in different musical fashion. Children of Fire is not just an album, but also a gripping story, of a darkened world with no apparent hope, with two main characters: one a so-called "religious zealot" and his daughter, an athiest, both of which who go through life-changing times in their life, one on a hopeful path, and the other not as bright (but I won't spoil the story for you).

On the musical side of things, Children of Fire is easily Oh, Sleeper's most dynamic album yet. Besides the highly technical guitar work and heavy breakdowns that we've grown used to from the band, this album also shows great diversity in its melodic parts, with two acoustic tracks, and plenty of great clean vocals from guitarist Shane Blay. Blay's vocals have gotten even stronger since Son of the Morning, and really shine this time around, working cohesively with Micah Kinard's commanding, ferocious growls.

To highlight only a few songs on Children of Fire is somewhat hard to do, but some of its strongest points come on these four songs: "Endseekers," "Hush Yael," "In The Wake of Pigs," and "Chewing The Stitch." "Endseekers" opens up the album quite literally with a bang (on the drums), leading into a breakdown, and even some gang vocals, which should make the song a live favorite. "Hush Yael" is a chilling song to accompany a dark story, and has dueling vocals between Shane and Micah. The album's two strongest songs however are "In The Wake of Pigs" and "Chewing The Stitch." The chorus of "In The Wake of Pigs" features a resounding "You are not alone in the eye of the darkest storm," which really carries the song. The guitar work of "Chewing The Stitch" is very melodic and technical, encompassing the powerful lyrics of "You are the new sign of proof, a calloused heart can still be reached. Stand and believe that it's true, you hold the voice to change the sea."

Overall: In a great year of heavy music, Oh, Sleeper only contribute to the list of quality releases with Children of Fire. One of the best metalcore releases I've heard in a while, the album is no doubt the band's most dynamic work to date, with a gripping concept, and music that accompanies the story's highs and lows. Children of Fire is one solid album that you don't want to miss, and hopefully you've heard it by now, but if not, do so.

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by Brooks Ginnan

  1. Endseekers
  2. Shed Your Soul
  3. The Marriage of Steel and Skin
  4. Hush Yael
  5. The Conscious Speaks
  6. Dealers of Fame
  7. Means To Believe
  8. In The Wake of Pigs
  9. Claws of A God
  10. The Family Ruin
  11. Chewing The Stitch
  12. Children of Fire
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