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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As you may have heard, the Bushnell, Illinois-based Cornerstone Festival have recently announced that this year's would be their last (the announcement can be read here). To help support the final Cornerstone (and perhaps keep the festival alive), a donation campaign has been launched, with rewards such as limited edition posters, complimentary tickets, this year's program, and other things, which can be viewed at the Cornerstone website. In addition to the campaign, the current lineup of bands for this year have been announced, and the list can be viewed here.
mewithoutYou - Ten Stories

Artist: mewithoutYou
Album: Ten Stories
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Label: Independent

It's been three years since mewithoutYou last released an album, 2009's experimental folk album It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright!. The band had said that on their newest album they'd include elements from this album as well as 2004's Catch for Us, the Foxes and 2006's Brother, Sister. Usually when bands say they're going "back to their roots" I don't believe them, because most times it's not true. mewithoutYou's newest album Ten Stories is the exception of this rule. With this being the band's first completely independent album they had all of the artistic freedom to make the best album they can, and when they say they're combining three albums and three styles into one album, they meant it.

Personally, [A-->B] Life, and Catch for Us, the Foxes were my two favorite albums by the band, but the other albums grew on me and I love them just as much. I was hoping for more influences from Catch for Us, the Foxes (CFUTF) on this album, but it seems mostly like the music comes from Brother, Sister and there are a couple of songs that seem like they could have been on It's All... The album starts out with the "sequel" song "February 1878" which is one of the songs on the album that sounds the most like the band's earlier material, and starts the album with a bang. The next few songs bounce between the styles of the band's latest two albums, with the softer edge to the music, and Aaron singing more than his spoken word/screaming vocal style. There aren't too many songs on here that are strictly folk like the last album, but the song "Cardiff Giant" starts out very folky, and then about 2:40 into the song Aaron screams the last few lines further blurring the lines of the distinct sounds of the band's albums. The band finds a way to blend all of these rather different styles of music within the album, and sometimes within one single song, like they did on "Grist for the Malady Mill". Not only do they blend the styles, they do so flawlessly and make it feel like it's one style, more like this is musically the album that mewithoutYou has been building to over the last ten years. 

The album is more-or-less a concept about a circus train wreck. The lyrics for the songs revolve around a few main characters like the tiger, rabbit, elephant, fox, and bear. As with every song Aaron and the boys have done the lyrics are clearly a metaphor for people, and are deeper and more thought provoking than anything else you'll hear. The entire album is one continuing story, with each song becoming more a chapter in a masterful story than a song on an album. Reading through the lyrics, it's more like reading a classic children's story than it is reading song lyrics from 2012. One of my favorite lines comes from "Grist for the Malady Mill" in which it says "And don't it just break your heart to hear of so much pain?" To me this is kind of like hearing about all the pain and suffering that Jesus went through for us, and it should break our hearts to hear of His pain, and to know He endured that pain out of His love for us! Most of the albums lyrics cannot be taken out of context because like I said they're part of an ongoing story from the first line of "February, 1878" to the last word of "All Circles". Perhaps the best line of the entire album comes from the song "Fox's Dream of the Log Flume" in which Aaron says "...though,some with certainty insist that 'no certainty exists'..." Every single day I hear people say that God does not exist, and they are always certain of this "fact", and I think that is exactly the point the line and song are trying to make.

Overall: mewithoutYou has been releasing excellent albums for ten long years, and they've finally released their masterpiece. The combining of different musical styles and influences in such a masterful and flawless fashion is a welcome breath of fresh air, in an industry that wants to spit out the same album over and over again. The lyrics telling the story of humanity through animals remind me of the book Watership Down, and shows that Aaron is one of the best lyricist of our times, and puts some much time, thought, and passion into each and every word he puts into a song. There are also two guest appearances by Hayley Williams of Paramore, adding to her impressive list of guest appearances in faith-based music (she also appeared on a song with The Chariot), although she mostly does backing vocals, or provides a more more feminine harmony to the songs she performs on, the songs would not be the same without her, and I applaud the band on their choice of female guest vocalist.

I was hesitant of this album, after what was to me a disappointing album in 2009, but the band has found itself, found its ideal sound, and made the best mewithoutYou album ever, and perhaps the best album of 2012.

Rating: 10/10

Recommended Tracks: "February, 1878", "Elephant on the Dock", "Fox's Dream of the Log Flume", and "East Enders Wives"

Reviewed by Michael Small

1. February, 1878
2. Grist for the Malady Mill
3. East Enders Wives
4. Cardiff Giant
5. Elephant in the Dock
6. Aubergine
7. Fox's Dream of the Log Flume (Featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore)
8. Nine Stories
9. Fiji Mermaid
10. Bear's Vision of St. Agnes
11. All Circles (Featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore)

(Buy Here) 
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This week, North Carolina metalcore quintet To Speak of Wolves will be releasing their sophomore album, Find Your Worth, Come Home. We had the chance to chat with new frontman Gage Speas about the process of writing the new album, music videos, and more.

Brooks Ginnan (CRR): You guys are on a headlining tour right now, how has that been going for you?
Gage Speas (To Speak of Wolves): It's been a ton of fun! We got to hang with our label mates Wolves At The Gate for a few days. Plus Harp and Lyre are good buds of ours, so it's always fun touring with those dudes. Also, we've been playing some new songs and kids seem to be liking them so that's great.

CRR: The new album is out this week, how long has it been in the works since you joined the band?
Gage: Well, we were working ideas and stuff for a while, probably like six months or so. As soon as I joined the band, I started writing lyrics for the record. So by the time we got in the studio, I had a lot to choose from and work with.

CRR: Lyrically. how much of an emotional process was it to write Find Your Worth, Come Home?
Gage: That's a great question. Some songs were a lot harder to record than others. There were times I'd be tracking vocals and balling my eyes out. I really wanted to open myself up. I wanted to be honest. I feel like a lot of music today is lacking honesty and passion. When we were in the studio, all I did was work on lyrics. I took old journals with me so I could go back to that time in my life of being broken.

CRR: How was it to have both Micah (of Oh, Sleeper) and Levi the Poet on the album?
Gage: Dude, it was a dream come true! I worked for Oh, Sleeper before I joined To Speak of Wolves. Those dudes got me in the band. Micah is a big brother to me and is my spiritual mentor. So to have him write a song with me was so awesome. Levi and I pretty much grew up together. I used to sleep on his floor, haha. It's been awesome to watch each other's careers grow. For him and his sister Bree to open themselves up for that song was a huge blessing. Suicide is never an easy thing to talk. They made that song what it is.

CRR: What do you hope a new fan or first time listen gets out of hearing Find Your Worth?
Gage: I hope they feel connected to it in some way. I want people to hear the passion in the music. Today, most bands sing about how much they hate girls or how tough they are or what ever. I don't want to put people down with my music, I want to rebuild people.

CRR: The first of the two concept music videos that were released (for "Je Suis Fini") had an interesting story line. Can you elaborate on the significance between the concept and the two songs chosen for the videos?
Gage: The director thought of the idea for the videos. He presented it to us and we thought it was awesome! We picked the two songs because we thought they show both extremes of the record.

CRR: Any last things you'd like to mention about To Speak of Wolves in the coming months?
Gage: Yeah dude, we are playing a bunch of festivals this year. Also, we are on the last half of Scream the Prayer, so I'm really excited about all of that! Come hang out and stage dive with us! Thanks for your time.
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Artist: To Speak of Wolves
Album: Find Your Worth, Come Home
Release Date: May 17, 2012
Label: Solid State Records

There's a feeling that some get while listening to a new album that holds greatness; hope for a band that fit all the pieces into place to create something of a magnum opus, packed with an emotional intensity and well crafted music to capture attention. I had this feeling on my first listen of Find Your Worth, Come Home, the sophomore release from the North Carolina quintet, To Speak of Wolves. If you're not familiar with the band, they play a form of metalcore (if you can even call it that), that isn't quite as abundant these days, with sounds of quick, punk-esque drumming, ferocious, feeback-laden riffs, and vocals, from new vocalist Gage Speas, that range from commanding growls to clean vocals that break the mold of high and whiny, drawing comparisons to bands such as Underoath, The Chariot, and Norma Jean. That's only the start.

Find Your Worth, Come Home is noticeably different from the band's debut, Myself < Letting Go, and it's not only because of their new vocalist. The band have shifted their sound, making it more cohesive, keeping the melody in a way that flows better with the aggressive sections. This is show particularly well in "Je Suis Fini" and "Dialysis Dreams," which are two of the album's most memorable songs. A different route is taken on "A Simple Thought That Changed Everything," which is filled with strictly clean vocals in a heavy, ambient rock setting, while "Oregon" feels like Balance & Composure mixed with Underoath, a combination that works well, giving the listener a breather from the frantic tempo of the majority of the album.

"Hivemind" and "Stand Alone Complex" kick off the album with a fiery passion, never really letting up on their energy, and when transferred to a live setting, are only guaranteed to have the audience in a sweaty frenzy. The aforementioned "Dialysis Dreams" is an emotional trip, and is an extremely relatable song for those who have faced the loss of friends or family, the theme also being tied into the closer, "Rearview Memories," which features Levi the Poet and his sister Bree Macallister, both who convey the emotions behind the loss of their father, truly touching stuff.

Overall: Find Your Worth, Come Home is a story of life, struggle, and ultimately redemption, and is written in such a poignant way that really tugs on the heart strings. While it's only their second release, To Speak of Wolves have truly crafted an album that shows musicianship and a maturity that surpasses their few year span as a band. Vocalist Gage Speas displays great versatility again and again, backed by frenetic instrumentation (a la Norma Jean or Underoath) that has become less and less widespread in the current state of the heavy music scene. Look for To Speak of Wolves to make big waves in 2012, and far beyond.

Rating: 9.5/10

Reviewed by Brooks Ginnan


  1. Hivemind
  2. Stand Alone Complex (featuring Micah Kinard)
  3. Vertigo
  4. Broken Birds
  5. A Simple Thought That Changed Everything
  6. Nostalgia Seeds
  7. Je Suis Fini
  8. Oregon
  9. Dialysis Dreams
  10. Voidwaker
  11. Rearview Memories (featuring Levi the Poet and Bree Macallister)
(Buy Here)

To Speak of Wolves Post "Je Suis Fini" Music Video

To Speak of Wolves have released their new music video for "Je Suis Fini," which can be viewed below. The video is based on the concept of Plato's Allegory of the Cave, and the second part of the story will be released in another upcoming video. To Speak of Wolves' new album, Find Your Worth, Come Home, will be available in stores and online on May 22nd through Solid State Records.

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Artist: Demon Hunter
Album: True Defiance
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Label: Solid State Records

Chances are, if you're reading this, you've most likely heard of Demon Hunter. In fact, if you've been into any type of Christian rock music over the past ten years, the band should ring a bell, as one of today's iconic, pioneering metal bands, led by frontman Ryan Clark, with his vicious screams and haunting, melancholy clean vocals. Now, two years after the release of the band's explosive album The World Is A Thorn comes True Defiance, the sixth studio album in the band's momentous ten year career. Following up such a quality album, I was a bit nervous of what to expect with True Defiance, and after my first listen, my general thoughts were a little underwhelming.

Quite honestly, if you were a big fan of The World Is A Thorn, True Defiance will be a hit or miss, or perhaps a grower. The album takes the classic Demon Hunter sound, along with quite a bit of heavy production, and adds in a bit more of a modern metal edge, with some riffs that hint at a quasi-djent influence and chuggs that any metalhead will love. That's not to say that this is a bad thing, as True Defiance is a solid album, with a collection of songs that certainly don't all stick with the same formula. Take the opener "Crucifix" for example; a distorted intro leads into an overall heavy song that is certainly worthy of the repeat button on your iPod, full of good grooves and bridge of a breakdown layered with a guitar solo of typical DH-fare. The subtle djent-influence (which seems to be popping up all over the metal scene these days) peers its head on "God Forsaken," which is also marked by a clean cut of melody by Clark's vocals and a solo, which while of good fashion, feels a bit odd with a clean, bluesy feel in the middle of all the heaviness.

"My Destiny" and "Someone to Hate" both abound in a thrashier sound, with a few experimental elements, such as a higher screams used on the former, and an off-time signature utilized on the structuring of "Someone to Hate." True Defiance's ballads also seem to follow the classic Demon Hunter formula, with Clark's haunting vocals adding a melodramatic feel to the mix, especially in "Dead Flowers," which also implements some synthy-keys, an '80s influenced solo, and a rather climatic chorus (bringing to mind the band's Christmas single "The Wind"). Another rather interesting ballad, only included on the deluxe edition, is "I Am A Stone," which finds Ryan Clark only backed by an orchestra, an interesting pairing which really draws attention to the vocals, which really hold their ground throughout the song, a strong performance.

Despite it's strong points, True Defiance does falter at times. Some of the songs do blend together, notably towards the end of the album, before "Dead Flowers," not showing as much creativity, as the sporadic songs of The World Is Not A Thorn. Another thing to mention is that, at times, the album feels overproduced, with backing programmed effects that, while not consistent, are distracting and unnecessary.

Overall: Demon Hunter's plunge back into the scene, True Defiance, is certainly solid, but not perfect. The album has its moments of greatness, like the heavy grooves of "Crucifix" and haunting balladry of "Dead Flowers," but are also contrasted with lackluster sections as well, such as (inconsistent) overproduction and a few songs that really don't make as much of a lasting effect as hoped for. Lyrically, True Defiance continues the themes of defying (no pun intended) the ways of this world, and standing up for what you believe. If you enjoy Demon Hunter, or any modern metal (less core), you will probably find something to like on this album, but those who particularly liked the raw-sounding direction of The World Is A Thorn may find something lacking this time around.

Rating: 7.5/10

Reviewed by Brooks Ginnan

  1. Crucifix
  2. God Forsaken
  3. My Destiny
  4. Wake
  5. Tomorrow Never Comes
  6. Someone to Hate
  7. This I Know
  8. Means To An End
  9. We Don't Care
  10. Resistance
  11. Dead Flowers
  12. What Is Left (deluxe only)
  13. I Am A Stone (deluxe only)
(Buy Here)
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We Are Creation are a collective out of Nashville that exist to create a passionate outpouring and atmosphere of worship. The band, fronted by The Anchor Fellowship's David Lim, have just released a new self-titled album through Come&Live!, and will also be leading worship on the main stage at this year's Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois. The album can be downloaded as a free gift right here, along with many other great releases, and for more information on We Are Creation, be sure to visit their website (which includes tour dates, chord charts, and more).
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Artist: Leaders
Album: Now We Are Free
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Label: Facedown Records

In 2011, the band formerly known as ALLorNOTHING went through some members changes as well as a name change. That new band came to be Leaders, Facedown Records newest signees. Hailing from California the band combines elements of new-age metalcore with old-school hardcore, and have blended these styles into their debut album, Now We Are Free.

Like I said, the band combines hardcore and metalcore elements, both musically and vocally. There are some songs which sound more hardcore, and some which sound more metalcore, but for the most part the album is a very good mixture of the two where you can hear distinct signatures of both styles without them overpowering or drowning out each other. One song that really stands out to me musically is "Deportes" this song meshes the two styles, and so hard it hurts! When you hear this song it just makes you want to go crazy in the pit. The song has a nice breakdown about 40 seconds into it, and then goes into this killer guitar riff that reminds me of old-school Haste the Day, and then goes into the fastest, most chaotic thing you'll hear this side of The Chariot. The band does not waste a second of the 28 minutes the album lasts. The fast pace of hardcore is definitely the driving force of the album, it starts with a bang and doesn't let up until the last note of "La Onda". As much as I do like the mixing of these two styles of metal music, the album does start to run together a bit. Maybe it's the fact that the album is on the short side for length or something else but it seems like when you're really getting into the album, it's done. "Te Necesito" does give the album a quick breather, before picking back up with a more metalcore sounding song aptly called "Leaders".

The vocals on this album are very good. Vocalist Lazarus Rios does an amazing job of combining the hardcore screams with the metalcore growls, and one thing I love about this album is there are little to no clean vocals. It is brutal, in your face pure screaming throughout! Lyrically, the band proves that Facedown Records always signs bands with strong messages of Christ and compassion. The first song the band released was "Convictions" which has some powerful lyrics "I won't give up on this so easily/So just keep trying to take this from me" Many times you will have people try to test your faith or "take it away" but we as Christians should not and will not give it up without a fight. Another great excerpt comes from the song "Deportes", "How many times will I tell you this is not where you belong?/This is the last time I will let you inside my heart." The Devil will tempt us day in and day out, but we must time he does not belong with us, and he will not be allowed inside our hearts where he can corrupt us to his pleasing.

Overall: There are several promising things on this album, especially for it being a debut album. Musically the album is tight, and fierce. It's fast-paced, energetic, and unapologetic. There's nothing that is going to set the world of metal music on fire and revolutionize the game, but there doesn't need to be. Leaders has found a way to combine two of the most popular styles of heavy music, and they make it seem easy. Vocally, Lazarus pushes his voice to the limits, and gives us our money's worth. I think too many bands these days are reliant on clean vocals to grab attention during their chorus, you won't get that with Now We Are Free. The album is an runaway train of pure metal brutality and it's not stopping any time soon. Hopefully, the band can build on this album and expand a bit and could be that new staple band Facedown Records is looking for after the departure of For Today.

Rating: 8/10

Recommended Tracks: "Convictions", "Deportes", "Leaders", and "La Onda"

Reviewed by: Michael Small

1. Overture
2. Conviction
3. Instance
4. Deportes
5. Send-Up
6. Te Necesito
7. Leaders
8. Real
9. Alone
10. La Onda

(Buy here)
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One of our favorite labels, Slospeak Records, are currently giving away a summer sampler over at Noisetrade, featuring free songs from Blood & Water, Sons, Owen Pye, Pioneer, and Golden Youth. The sampler can be downloaded below or right here.

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TO SPEAK OF WOLVES Debut 'Hivemind' at Revolver

Third track premiered from sophomore album, Find Your Worth, Come Home

Available in stores and online May 22 on Solid State Records

Spring U.S. headlining tour announced

May 2, 2012 -  With their ferocious new album, Find Your Worth, Come Home - set to drop in just under three weeks, North Carolina hard rock rioters TO SPEAK OF WOLVES are set to premiere another hard-hitting song - the album's leadoff track, "Hivemind," streaming now exclusively via heavy music tastemaker Revolver.

Listen to 'Hivemind' at now:

"'Hivemind' was the last song we wrote for the record," explains drummer Phil Chamberlain. "In fact, we actually wrote it in the studio after we were done arranging the rest of the songs on the album. We wanted a song that was fast and a little chaotic, but also short and sweet to open the record, and that became 'Hivemind.' Lyrically, the song is about coming from a broken home and wanting to make everything better, but you can't."

Fans can get a chance to preview the band's new material on TO SPEAK OF WOLVES' U.S. headlining tour, set to kick off in just a few days. Presented by Evolve Over Hate clothing and Substream Music Press, the tour stretches from May 4-June 2 with support from HARP & LYRE. Joining the bands on select dates are Solid State label mates WOLVES AT THE GATE (May 8-14), as well as FALLSTAR (May 18-21), LIONS! TIGERS! BEARS! (May 22-26), and SET THE SUN (May 28-Jun 2).

Find Your Worth, Come Home sees the band's revitalized lineup reaching into darker, heavier and faster territory. The sophomore album is follow-up to TO SPEAK OF WOLVES' heralded 2010 debut, Myself < Letting Go, which catapulted the band onto the national stage with its road-rash riffage and soaring, arena-worthy choruses. Relentless touring alongside likeminded bands such as UNDER0ATH, AUGUST BURNS RED and BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME underscored the fact that the Greensboro, NC quintet were a force to be reckoned with. The band quickly became a beacon within the hard rock and metalcore scene, despite – or perhaps because of – their unwillingness to become yet another facsimile spewing forth endless breakdowns and Auto-Tuned choruses. TO SPEAK OF WOLVES refused to do either, and fans loved them all the more for it. While fans will continue love those same aspects of the band's musical personality, Find Your Worth is an album of rediscovery, one that freshly stamps what TO SPEAK OF WOLVES is about, from its title on down.

Now, driven by the dominating vocal presence of Speas, TO SPEAK OF WOLVES are ready to blow the doors wide open. “This record is something that we're incredibly proud of," Chamberlain says. "We couldn't be more stoked and proud of what we've created with this album. We are excited and can't wait to share it with everyone!"

Evolve Over Hate & Substream Music Press Present: 
Find Your Worth Tour with TO SPEAK OF WOLVES, HARP & LYRE
May 6 Richmond, VA @ Kingdom
May 7 Lexington, KY @ The Aura
May 8 Goshen, IN @ The Goshen Theater *
May 10 Chicago Ridge, IL @ Bobby Mcgee's *
May 11 St Louis, MO@ Cicero's *
May 12 Joplin, MO @ Solace w/Harp & Lyre *
May 14 Wichita, KS @ Eagles Lodge *
May 17 Boise, ID @ The Venue
May 18 Centralia, WA @ Quesadilla Factory **
May 20 Camas, WA @ Revolution Room **
May 23 Las Vegas, NV @ The Sanctuary ***
May 25 Canoga Park, CA @ Cobalt Cafe ***
May 27 Albuquerque, NM @ Amped Performance Center
May 28 Amarillo, TX @ Vintin ****
May 30 Victoria, TX @ Downtown Bar and Grill ****
May 31 Athens, TX @ Church of Nazarene ****
Jun 1 Dallas, TX @ Sons of Herman Hall ****
Jun 2 Oklahoma City, OK @ Frontline Church ****

**** With SET THE SUN

Additional Upcoming Dates:
May 4 Stony Point, NC @ Redeemer's House
May 5 Raleigh, NC @ Raleighpalooza!!!
Jun 15 Stone Mountain, GA @ ATLANTA FEST
Jun 22 Wilmore, KY @ ICTHUS FESTIVAL
Jun 23 Mineral City, OH @ Alive Festival
Jul 11 Oshkosh, WI @ Lifest
Aug 2 Gilford, NH @ Soulfest
Aug 7 Darien Center, NY @ Kingdombound Festival
Aug 11 Muskegon, MI @ Unity Music Festival
Sep 15 Shippensburg, PA@ Uprise Music Festival