Record review: Anberlin – lowborn (2014, LP)

Anberlin

Having already decided to disband after this album and one last tour, Florida alt-rock outfit Anberlin have nothing to lose in 2014. With six albums under their belts, the band – formed in 2002 – should be taking this chance to throw caution to the wind and go all-out in one last blast of statement-making rock fury. However, lowborn was pieced together by five musicians recording their parts separately with different producers, and while the sound quality hasn’t suffered as a result, it’s a formula that has produced a fairly robotic and over-polished piece of work that surely only hardcore fans of the band are going to appreciate. Every good album should start with a cracker then take it up a notch, but the plodding opening one-two of ‘We Are Destroyer’ and ‘Armageddon’ fall well short of the epic stadium pop-rock anthems they are meant to be. Elsewhere, the overwrought balladry of ‘Birds of Prey’ provides another forgettable moment among many forgettable moments. While ‘Dissenter’ reveals the first hint of potential perspiration by the band, as singer Stephen Christian lets rip with a vein-bursting, effect-ridden vocal, it’s nowhere near buoyant enough to stop the nine other tracks dragging it under the surface of mediocrity. Overall, there’s really nothing wrong with this album; there’s just nothing particularly right (or even memorable) about it either, so it’s with a whimper that Anberlin exit stage right. (Tooth & Nail)

For mX

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