Anberlin is a band that has been around for a good amount of time, but they’ve never really gotten a lot of mainstream recognition. Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place aims to fix that after a somewhat disappointing major label debut New Surrender, simultaneously appeasing fans’ demand for the Anberlin music they know and love while attempting to draw new fans in with solid rock music that any music-lover can enjoy. Anberlin’s history may suggest they are a Christian band, which may be discouraging to some, but check out the last four paragraphs of this interview and you will see that this isn’t the case; they just happen to be Christians who enjoy making rock music for the masses together. Thank God for that, because they do it extremely well. Vocals from Stephen Christian, lead guitarist Joseph Milligan, drummer Nathan Young, bassist Deon Rexroat and rhythm guitarist Christian McAlhaney combine to form a formidable force in the rock industry, and their newest album is no different.
Anberlin’s new album is consistently impressive all the way through, so narrowing down the best tracks is not easy work, but the first song you absolutely have to listen to is “Impossible.” The first single off the new album got a lot of fans excited about Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place, and with good reason. Constant strumming and a consistent drumming beat characterize the song as an automatic hit, and then Christian’s vocals add the final dynamic factor to it. Check out the entertaining albeit odd music video.
“Closer” gets my vote for the Best Song Award, and is one of Anberlin’s greatest songs of all time. There are few things better than seeing one of your favorite bands express emotions this strongly and dramatically. Christian’s vocals shine here, as do the heavy guitar-strumming and pounding drums. The song is a constant crescendo, beginning with soft, wavering vocals and ominous guitar. The breakdown of the song is initiated by Christian’s ensnaring invitation: “Come closer…” which gives way to thrashing guitars and drums. It momentarily lets listeners catch their breath before erupting into the climactic finish with high-pitched guitar work. An epic song like this shouldn’t be missed.
“The Art Of War” is a slower song that has a lot more depth than the slightly more simplistic ballads before it on tracks 3 and 5. This sentimental song focuses on the impact a lost loved one has on facets of everyday life, declaring, “Because of you, I’ll never write another love song.” Near the end of the track, the guitar takes over and characterizes the song with a more desperate edge. It’s a heartfelt tune accentuated by that slightly desperate touch, and it’s a quality addition to an already stellar album.
“To The Wolves” is a fast-paced, fist-pumping, head-thrashing rocker featuring one of the best lines on the whole album: “Who needs enemies when we’ve got friends like you?” The chanting in the background gives the song a fun feel, and overall, this song just makes you want to get up and unleash your inner rock star, especially when the guitar solo hits.
These are the absolute elite tracks on Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place, but every song is quality. For example, “Down” features some soothing Spanish guitar and “Depraved” ends the album on a truly epic note. Anberlin’s newest release is great from start to finish, and is their best record yet in my opinion. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Anberlin live when they went on tour with Taking Back Sunday, and they put on a great show that fans of Relient K, Switchfoot, Saosin, Underoath, The Starting Line and The Almost. I can only imagine what seeing them now that they have all these killer songs added to their arsenal would be like.
Final Score: 8/10
Rank: 3rd (six total albums)
- We Owe This To Ourselves
- Take Me (As You Found Me)
- You Belong Here
- Pray Tell
- The Art Of War
- To The Wolves