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: In the Midst of Lions
Album: Shadows
Release Date: November 22, 2011
Label: Facedown Records

Shadows, is a fitting name for In the Midst of Lions' third album, because on this album they are ready to come out of the shadows and into the forefront of the Christian metal scene. Shadows is the band's third album in as many years. Where the band finds time to write/record between tours is a mystery to me, but not only do the find the time to make new music, they also find a way to keep getting better.

Musically, I expected the same kind of generic deathcore style that the band had on the last album, but this albums delivers a much more technical and polished sound. It was more original than anything I've heard from In the Midst of Lion before, and definitely had me excited about the album after the first track. One thing that really jumped out to me was the wicked drumming skills of Alex Livingston. The drums are pretty prominent on this album, and may be some of the best drum work I have heard in all of 2011. The guitar playing is sick, and like I said more technical, and much tighter than I've heard before from the band. Some of the songs took on more of a straight-forward metalcore sound, but they didn't sound like they were from the cookie cutter. There's some cool use of some atmospheric background noises, most notably in "False Idols", which is also one of the standout tracks from Shadows. The band has grown so much as musician in these three short years, and this album shows that growth 100%.

Vocally, Matt delivers some amazing vocal patterns, and one thing I love is he enunciates his lyrics and you can actually understand what he is saying, which is rare in the deathcore scene in my opinion. His screams are deep, and guttural growls which fit the music perfectly, and he tosses in some of the more traditional higher screams as well, like on "Cry of the Oppressed", and it shows his vocal range so well. Lyrically, the band has produced some of their best work. The song "Overcome" is lyrically the best song on Shadows with lines like: "Give me strength/Remove this doubt from my mind/I have built these walls of
weakness/Remove this doubt from my mind/Break down these walls!/Break down these
walls and leave nothing behind." the song is about being ashamed of oneself, and God saying I still love you and don't be ashamed we all have bad times, "erase all doubt" and know that I will always be here for you. That is truly powerful and shows just how deeply our God loves us. This album is full of passionate, inspirational, and original lyrics.

Overall: Shadows is by far the best album In the Midst of Lions has released, and shows such great growth from the band in their short existence. The album is absolutely the best I've heard in the deathcore/death metal scene this year, and is easily in contention for the best album of 2011. Their record label has a void to fill with the departure of For Today, and In the Midst of Lions could very well be the band to fill that void. On Shadows, the band shows that there are sick of being in the background and are ready to take the "mainstream" metal scene by storm and show they are a force to be reckoned with. If Shadows is a sign of where this band is going and what we can come to expect from them there will be several excited metalhead, myself included. The only bad thing I can say about this album is that it's only ten tracks and leaves you craving for more from In the Midst of Lions.

Rating: 8/10

Recommended Tracks: "False Idols", "Overcome", "Cry of the Oppressed", and "New Beginnings"

Reviewed by: Michael Small

1. False Idols
2. The Call
3. Take Your Place
4. Overcome
5. Cry of the Oppressed
6. New Beginnings
7. An Offering
8. Hardened Hearts
9. Prepare the Way
10. One for All

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