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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Into the Maelstrom

Artist: My Heart To Fear
Album: Into The Maelstrom
Release Date: February 4, 2012
Label: None

Summer music festivals are some of the best places to discover talented new bands. No matter how small your band is, there is always some sort of crowd, and of course the potential for new fans to be made. Two years ago, at the annual Purple Door Arts and Music Festival, held currently in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, I remember walking onto the festival grounds with maybe 50 others at 10 AM (while most other festival goers were catching up on sleep), to check out a band I'd heard a lot about; the Williamsport, PA post-hardcore quintet, My Heart To Fear. Their set was impressive, and well earned, after winning a big local battle of the bands competition to get that opening slot. A year and a half later, things have changed for the band. While still maintaining their hard work ethic to succeed in their regional music scene, the band have had some member changes, and most notably a stylistic change, in a much heavier direction.

The transition to melodic metalcore has brought with it My Heart To Fear's second full length album, titled Into The Maelstrom. Rather than more of the band's prior lengthy songs, like "The War," the songs of Into The Maelstrom feel more straight to the point, while holding onto a full sound structure to convey the anthemic, sometimes angry, lyrics. Breakdowns, heavy growls, and catchy clean sections fill up the majority of the album, while a new element is added in as well; electronic effects. On songs, such as the bone-shattering opener, "Blood Money," and "Hell or High Water," the synths add a haunting depth to the breakdowns of the songs, while on "Encased in Glass," the synths do a good job of layering the instrumentation, keeping things alive and moving, on top of the verses and a clean interlude. However, throughout the album, they start to grow a bit insignificant, and feel both distracting and overused, just being there simply for the sake of being there. As a result, a few songs start to take on similar structures, but that doesn't necessarily hinder any of the album's strong points.

Out of the pack of 10, Into The Maelstrom garners some strong highlights. The aforementioned "Blood Money" is a solid opener, that really sets a blood-pumping pace for the rest of the album. The clean vocals of lead vocalist Trevor Pool and drummer Luke Brady are really shown off on the album's driving title track, and especially "Misery Lights" as well, which longtime fans will recognize as the band's live staple, "Elmira." "Life Under The Stairs" adds in some more diversity, found specifically in the guitars in the last minute of the song, which sound something like The Chariot, in their chaotic nature. To close the album, the band take the heavy route, on "Whore Da Culture," which is both musically and lyrically sound, a cry of change against the judgmental, unloving nature that some "Christians" have taken upon themselves.

Overall: Into The Maelstrom is a solid release from My Heart To Fear, a young, energetic metalcore band who aren't afraid to throw some more diverse elements into their formula. Although sometimes the synths do get repetitive, the majority of the album is certainly enough to get listeners moving, whether it be in the live setting or in living rooms. My Heart To Fear still have some work to do, but the bold spirit of the band shows potential for them to flourish in the heavy music scene, and I can only see it occurring sooner than later, something proved by Into The Maelstrom. All I can say is the band have grown since that small Purple Door performance, and I am looking forward to what they do next.

Rating: 7.5/10

Reviewed by Brooks Ginnan

  1. Blood Money
  2. Dear Mr. White
  3. Encased In Glass
  4. Hell or High Water
  5. Into The Maelstrom
  6. Legends Never Die (GLV)
  7. Life Under The Stairs
  8. Misery Lights
  9. The Witching Hour
  10. Whore Da Culture
(Buy Here)

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