6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Dark is the Way, Light is a Place,
This review is from: Dark Is the Way: Light Is a Place (Audio CD)
A new day, a new debut by Altern rockers Anberlin and needless to say maturity is one thing which is definately noticeable compared to their last effort `New Surrender'. I did honestly have my doubts about this album especially upon hearing the single `We Owe This To Ourselves' and the free download of `Pray Tell' on Spin.com, I felt I was instore for quite a big disappointment but I reserved judgement till I heard the album as a whole. Turns out, `Dark is the Way, Light is a Place' is a master class in theatrics and emotional beatdowns with twists and turns which will literally tie you in knots. Christian's versatile yet unique vocals reign supreme on an album such as this and although the album appears to concentrate wholly on love and relationships (which is a bit of a downer for some), it is a truly heartfelt and honest endeavour.
`Impossible', was a perfect choice of single for the album, it may not seem like much upon first listen, but the beautifully layered strings, soaring vocals, polished off with a guitar riff bridge truly adds to the momentum to the song. `Take Me (As You Found Me)' is reminiscent of The Smiths and reminds me from something from `Strangeways Here We Come'. Beautifully composed acoustic, atmospheric, textured and as it launches into `Closer', an emotional beatdown you can't help but smile at the sheer ingenuity of the albums production. Mammoth choruses, heartfelt lyrics beautifully strung and woven together with atmospheric and almost ethreal soundscapes and it shows, this was an album Anberlin were destined to write. The centerpiece `You Belong Here' is a perfect example of this and very first thing I think about upon hearing this song is being on a rollercoaster. The highs and lows, the excitement and the heartache and to me, this song is a reflection of how I feel at this point in time. The introduction is very reminscent of Angels and Airwaves, piano led with distorted vocals launching into a crescendo which will simply drown you in sound, it is truly breathtaking. Musically, `To The Wolves' is the only indication NTFP is present in the whole album and the contrast works very well and divides the lighter undertones and heartfelt aspect of the record with monstrous guitar riffs plastered with probably the only singalong choruses on the album with "woah-oh's".
However, no album is perfect, `We Owe This To Ourselves', in my opinion was a poor choice for first single because for me, it's rather bland and repetitive, however much the interlude is almost haunting and chilling, for me it still doesn't stand out. `Pray Tell', another example, the awkwardness of the chorus makes it seem quite anti-climactic, it's like someone took a jigsaw piece and is taking a sledgehammer to it so it fits.... It shouldn't work and unfortunately for me it doesn't, which is a shame because the rest of the song is brilliant, atmospheric and inventive. But as always, Anberlin pull out one of their best for last, `Depraved'. Although it isnt one of their traditional closers Anberlin are well known for, it definately doesn't miss it's mark. Ethreal intro building to a bonechilling crescendo as you are forced to contend with a barrage of guitars, plastered over an almost hallowed tribal march, altogther sounds very haunting and ends the album on a (good) low.
`Dark...' in summary provides no new ground for Anberlin but instead pushing their boundaries as musicians with an album so conceptual that I believe, as Christian said, "I feel like we're on the brink of something... either world domination or destruction, but either way we're on the brink." Is it better than it's predecssors? New Surrender, yes. NTFP and Cities, maybe not, but it's definately worth investing in the CD!
Top Tracks: `You Belong Here', `Closer', `Impossible'