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: 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

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