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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Seventh Day Slumber - The Anthem of Angels

Artist: Seventh Day Slumber
Album: The Anthem of Angels
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Label: BEC Recordings

Seventh Day Slumber have been busy. The Anthem of Angels is the band's fourth album in five years. This album is their first original studio album since 2008's Finally Awake. The band's last two albums were a Spanish album of previously released songs, and a worship album. The band returns to the form of the aforementioned Fully Awake on the new album, with the passionate lyrics and vocals, and rocking music.

The album is what it is, in the sense that is a Seventh Day Slumber album, you're going to get your run-of-the-mill rock tracks here and there, and the rest of the album is your more modern CCM music. Not saying this is bad, just what the band does. There are a few rock songs on here, that could get the adrenalin pumping, but most of the guitar playing is along the lines of an edgier adult contemporary band. The Drums are practically nonexistent, or at least never really featured prominently on the album. If you want a solid rock track like "Awake" from their last album your best bet is "Never Too Far Gone" which is one of the examples of the band's rockier side. The song is musically the highlight of the album. On their worship album the band experimented with some string arrangements (How Great is Our God) in the vein of the newer Skillet material, I was looking forward to more of that on The Anthem of Angels, but was sadly let down.

Lyrically, the album has some of the best, most passionate lyrics you'll hear outside of a church service. It is clear by listening to Joe Rojas lyrics that he has a deep love for Christ and isn't afraid to say it in his music. One lyric that sticks out to me is in the song "Knows My Name": "I'm trying to see myself the way you do/Sometimes it's just so hard/There are days that I'm ashamed." Sometimes I am ashamed to call myself a Christ follower, because I don't always give that name a good reputation, but God doesn't care if we slip up he still loves us, and knows our name. That's just awesome. Most of the lyrics are CCM lyrics, very straight-forward worshipful lyrics, with great passion and meaning to them. I have always loved Joe's lyrics and this album continues that pattern. Vocally, Joe doesn't stray too far from what he's been doing for years with the band. It's a very smooth, yet powerful voice. Joe makes you feel the passion and intensity of his words as he sings them, which is a very impressive thing.

Overall: Like I said before The Anthem of Angels is what it is, a Seventh Day Slumber album. Most of the albums sound very similar to each other, which could become boring to fans. However, they do what they do very well, and I still find myself getting excited for each new album, and furthermore thoroughly enjoying each album. I think that streak is coming to end with this new album though, there were a few songs that I enjoyed, but overall the album was too slow, and lost my attention on several occasions. Hopefully the band will come back next year with a new album and restore some of that more upbeat rock tempo.

Rating: 6/10

Recommended Tracks: "Wasted Life", "Never Too Far Gone", and "Knows My Name".

Reviewed by: Michael Small

1. Wasted Life
2. Love Came Down
3. One Mistake
4. Addicted to My Pain
5. Never Too Far Gone
6. Pieces
7. Crash
8. Back Where I Began
9. Knows My Name
10. My Life
11. How He Loves

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Thrice is not breaking up. If nothing has broken us up by now, I doubt anything ever could.

However, we will be taking a break from being a full-time band, and the upcoming tour in the Spring will be the last one for the foreseeable future.

Playing music for the past 13 years with Riley, Ed, and Teppei has been such a gift. We have been able to see the world, share music with thousands and thousands of people, and make records with a variety of talented and inspiring people. The four of us have been through many highs and lows and overcome them together. I value their friendship, and it has been a great priviledge to play alongside them for so long. They are truly an amazingly gifted group of people, and the ways we’ve grown together as people and musicians has been a joy to experience.

Along the way we have adapted to many changing situations, especially the growing families of both Teppei and myself, but it has been harder and harder for me with each step. I have three little girls now under the age of 5, and it is a huge strain on my family and I when I’m away for several weeks at a time. The way we’ve been doing things for a while is simply not sustainable for me anymore.
I don’t know what the future looks like for Thrice, or for any of us individually. I do know that I would love to make more music in the future with them, as well as play some shows or short tours, but for the time being, I need to step out of the role of full time touring/recording musician, and will do so after this tour. I will continue to make music in various capacities I’m sure, and continue in my work as a Worship Director at Mars Hill Church in Orange County.

I know this will be very disappointing news to many people, and for that I am truly sorry. The amount of support and love we’ve been given in our career is staggering and overwhelming. I know I’m biased, but I think we have the best fans in the world.

This upcoming tour should be a lot of fun. We are planning for it to be somewhat of a celebration of the last 13 years and I’m sure we’ll be breaking out a bunch of songs that have been buried in the archives. I hope to see you out there to celebrate with us.

I never expected to be able to do any of this, let alone do it for 13 years, with such amazing bandmates, such gifted and hard working crew and management, and such incredible and loyal fans.
Thank you all.

Major/Minor Tour - Thrice, La Dispute, O'Brother, and Moving Mountains

I had the great privilege of attending the Thrice, La Dispute, O’Brother, and Moving Mountains show a couple weeks ago when the tour came through Portland. Thrice has been a long time favorite of mine, so this was quite an experience! Being my first non-hardcore/metal show in about 6 years, I wasn’t too sure how the night was going to go. I knew there would be a large lack of breakdowns, and no circle pits, but as I stepped foot in to the venue and the show began, I knew I was in for a great time.

Moving Mountains was the first band up, and they did a fantastic job of setting the mood for the night. Though they didn’t express tons of energy on stage, their incredible musicianship made up for that. Moving Mountains just released an album a couple months ago, and is one of my favorite albums of the year. Hearing them live definitely made me enjoy their album a bit more.

Next up was O’Brother, an alt-rock band from Atlanta, Georgia. O’Brother had an amazing performance, they played only 4 songs, but those songs were at least 5 minutes in length. I never really thought of O’Brother as a heavy band, but they sure sounded it! All the songs they played were from their new album Garden Window which just release on November 15th. They were definitely one of the highlights of the night.

The third act was Grand Rapids, Michigan post-hardcore outfit La Dispute. I LOVE La Dispute and thought their last album was a masterpiece. They had just recently released their new album Wildlife, and though it is a fantastic album I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t play some of the fan favorites from Somewhere At The Bottom…, like my personal favorite ‘Damaged Goods’. However, La Dispute brought great energy to the show, and absolutely killed it!

By this time in the show, I was so overwhelmed by how awesome the other bands were, I was a bit nervous to hear how Thrice was going to do. Well, let’s just say they did not disappoint at all.
Thrice opened with ‘Yellow Belly’ the first single off their new album Major/Minor. I immediately felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. Thrice sounded flawless, I have never in my life heard anything like it. Dustin Kensrue’s voice was raw, and emotional, the guitars were loud and thick, and Riley Brekenridge’s drumming was massive, and perfect. The show never felt like it ever let up, even when Thrice switched gears and focused on some of their softer songs. Hearing the new songs played live like ‘Promises’ and my personal favorite ‘Call It In The Air’ were easily my highlights of the night. To my surprise Thrice played quite a few of their older songs from albums like Artist In The Ambulance, Vheissu, and The Illusion of Safety. One of the neatest things that Thrice did on this tour was bringing out the non-profit organization Invisible Children, which alerts people about the child soldiers in Africa that have been unjustly taken from their homes and brainwashed to serve corrupt armies. Dustin said that IC had raised $17,000 over their initial goal, which was awesome to hear!

As the night went on and Thrice toned their sound down, we got a more intimate feel for Thrice and their passion. Songs like ‘Words in Water’ and ‘Of Dust and Nations’ had a lot of great sing along parts. Thrice’s last three songs were ‘Firebreather’, ‘The Earth Will Shake’, and ‘Anthology’. Towards the end of ‘The Earth Will Shake’ members of La Dispute, and O’Brother brought out drums and started banging on them to the beat of the ending of the song, it was the greatest moment of the night for me. Like most shows the headlining band gets called for an encore. Thrice played fan favorites ‘Phoenix Ignition’ and ‘To Awake and Avenge The Dead’. At the end of ‘To Awake…’ Dustin took off his guitar and grabbed the mic off the stand and jumped in to the crowed to finish off the night.


Thrice put on the greatest show I have ever seen/heard. Their live sound is flawless, but never loses the rawness of the experience. In a time where you see bands try too hard to put on a great live show, Thrice pulls it off without having to really try. They are veterans in the music world, and are some of the most humble people you’ll ever meet. I will never forget this performance, and hope that everyone gets to see this amazing band live at least once!

Set list:
Yellow Belly
The Weight.
All the World is Mad
In Exile
Call it in the Air
Cold Cash and Colder Hearts
Treading Paper
Hold Fast Hope
Words in the Water
Of Dust and Nations
The Earth Will Shake
Phoenix Ignition
To Awake and Avenge the Dead

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Preson Phillips, one of Come&Live!'s original artists, has recently released a brand new album titled Wrath. The album is now available on iTunes and AmazonMP3, and a physical copy is available here, with all proceeds going to Preson's church, Watermark. If you want to preview the album, Come&Live! are currently offering a small album sampler for free download, along with his two other albums, The Observant & The Anawim and Weep... He Loves The Mourners Tears.
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The Life & Death Of A Plea For Purging

Artist: A Plea For Purging
Album: The Life and Death of A Plea For Purging
Release Date: November 8, 2011
Label: Facedown Records

The A Plea For Purging boys are back at it again with their new album, The Life and Death of A Plea For Purging. I was shocked to find out that Plea was releasing an album so (seemingly) soon, after their last masterpiece, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and it seems like only yesterday that it was released. How would The Life and Death stack up with such a short space of time in between? Could they top their last effort, or would they suffer masterpiece hangover?

The Life and Death of A Plea For Purging kicks off quickly with a creative, 8-bit sounding guitar and drum part, that is simply perfect. After the tasty 8-bit intro, the heaviness comes in and kicks you down. The first track, "the life," has powerful lyrics that hit me immediately. They tackle an important issue in a Christian's life: forgetting who got you this far by allowing yourself to get caught up in the rat race. "music city" also moved me. I could feel Andy Atkins' love and homesick emptiness he feels towards his home of Nashville while he's away on tour. A thought not lost on me when considering what these people do to entertain us. The song also features a pretty unique shout-out to fellow hometown bands as well.

Maybe it's just me, but I hope not. The lyrics featured in The Life and Death are heavy, powerful, and meaningful. Even if you're only a few tracks in, it feels like Plea's most important work. "heart of a child," which features an amazing vocal appearance from Chad Ruhlig (of Legend/ex-For The Fallen Dreams), definitely brings Matthew 18 to mind. It's almost an anthem for us to hold tightly to the childlike mentality and innocence that Jesus spoke of. Towards the middle of the album however, things slow down a bit, and we have "skin & bones." It has a slowed down, somber mood, and the singing is handed off to guitarist Blake Martin. He can never sing enough for my tastes, and thankfully we get a few more glimpses of it on this album. I do think an exception on the album's deepness is "room for the dead." I say this because it is a little weak, lyrically speaking. It's also an anomaly because it's a great song. I know it's a strange thought, but it's true. Regardless of my feelings about the lyrics, it flows so well.

Overall: The Life and Death of A Plea For Purging answers my questions poised earlier. Does it stack up to The Marriage of Heaven and Hell? It's better. A tough feat, but they accomplished it. Masterpiece hangover? Not at all. This is a complete record with a ton of bang for the buck. With an astounding 14 tracks that clock in at around 53 minutes long, you can't go wrong. Pick this up.

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by Gary Peterson


  1. the life
  2. music city
  3. heart of a child (featuring Chad Ruhlig of Legend)
  4. miss fortune
  5. my song (featuring Chad Johnson of Hundredth)
  6. skin & bones
  7. room for the dead
  8. a fight for peace
  9. hell at our backs
  10. words misread
  11. hands & feet
  12. "living the dream"
  13. the death (featuring Chad Urich of Venia)
  14. the setting sun
(Buy Here)

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Artist: Righteous Vendetta
Album: Lawless
Label: Red Cord Records
Release Date: November 8th, 2011

Righteous Vendetta was a band that really flew low under my radar. Their first release The Dawning just didn’t grab me, and I just kind of gave up on the band. But then came along Lawless the newest release from the Cody, Wyoming hardcore/metal outfit. Upon my first listen I noticed huge improvements all over the place. I was instantly grabbed and wanted more.

The album starts off with a pretty generic intro, but that doesn’t mean you should just give up all hope right there. The rest of the album really takes a turn for good, and is not just full of cliché breakdowns. This is an album full of soaring guitars, and fast paced drumming, but never feels over used. At first listen one of the ‘turnoffs’ for me was the clean singing, but as I listened more and more it became a strong factor in to the album. Sometimes I think that bands tend to just not use a clean singer for the sake of trying to be as heavy as possible. Thankfully, Righteous Vendetta does not try to abandon musical diversity for the sake of being heavy, and the clean vocals do not sound generic or overused.

Lyrically this album is BOLD! There is no doubt that this band loves Jesus Christ, and wants to see his name be glorified. It’s refreshing to hear a band like Righteous Vendetta take the time to reflect on God, and write with the intention of praising him. With that, I never feel like the lyrics are overly spiritual and in your face about their beliefs. I also appreciate that the lyrics aren’t cheesy and they really come from the heart without losing creativity.

Overall: This album is for sure a great listen. In a time where heavy music can be a bit boring and old sounding, Righteous Vendetta keep things solid. Though not anything groundbreaking, this album definitely pulls out some surprises. One of my favorite moments of the album was last song ‘The Psalmist’. It really closed the album out beautifully. Pick this album up if you’re in to bands like For Today, Gideon, or Altars.

Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by Tabor Brown

1. From Zion
2. Inheritance
3. John, the Revelator
4. Reason
5. Lawless
6. Prelude to Destruction
7. Signs
8. The Chosen One
9. For The Skeptic
10. The Psalmist

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This just in from Facedown Records:

A Hope for Home pre-orders for the new album In Abstraction are now available. We're featuring a "build your own bundle" pre-order option for this album, so be sure to add a limited edition blue or grey vinyl version of In Abstraction to your order.


Check out "Calm", the newest song to be released from A Hope for Home on their Facebook page. 

A Plea For Purging Release "Heart of A Child" Video

A Plea For Purging have just released the first music video off of their upcoming album, The Life and Death of A Plea For Purging,, which is for the song "Heart of A Child," which can be viewed below. The band are currently on a headlining tour with No Bragging Rights, Gideon, and Take It Back!, and dates can be seen here. The Life and Death of A Plea For Purging will be available on November 8th, and can currently be pre-ordered here in a variety of bundles, including limited edition vinyl.