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: 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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