By Linh-Chi Nguyen, Courier Music Editor
Any band that attempts to maintain their sound while trying not to create repetitiously insipid ballads has usually found it difficult to keep this right balance in mind. This is indeed a remarkable standpoint of the band Anberlin; they present Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place with tremendous decency and progression.
If there is one thing lacking from this album, it would have to be its lyrics. Ever since the beginning of their awaited successful career, they have written substantial lyrics that never lack depth and meaning. As the band progresses through each and every album they have put forth, it seems they have lost their lyrical touch. In Dark Is the Way, Light is a Place, the lyrics are basically repetitive lines that start to serve as an annoyance rather than a playful effect. This deficiency in the meaning of their lyrics is found throughout most of the album.
The album opens up with “We Owe This To Ourselves” which starts off as one of the more explosive and heavy ballads on the album. This song seems like a pleaser, a tribute, to the ever-so-dedicated Anberlin fan base. It consists of the usual groundbreaking chorus against the infusion of humbling guitar and drums. In addition vocalist Stephen Christian’s keen voice eases the ears of many.
Christian’s mesmerizing voice continues on the hard-hitting single “Impossible”, which features a daunting chorus along with Joseph Milligan and Christian McAlhaney’s aggressively inventive guitar riffs. The album slows down with “Take Me (As You Found Me)” and “Down”, which is produced to showcase both Stephen Christian’s beautifully refined voice and the continuous layering of delay guitar and Nathan Young’s rhythmic drumming.
The songs “Closer” and “Pray Tell” highlight Christian’s soaring vocals and awe-striking guitar chords, which aren’t amiss in any of the songs on the album. It continues with two aggressive songs—“Art of War” and “To the Wolves”—which entail a brilliant storyline throughout. Both songs incorporate a more aggressive and sulking emotional vibe that highlights the band’s maturing potential.
The closer, “Depraved” couldn’t have been placed more perfectly. The culminating song sends Anberlin soaring through the highest caliber. It slowly builds with so much intensity and the line “Are you depraved/ Or are you deceived?/ Excuses are sad/ Stop saying please” is forever embedded in any listener’s mind.
American rock band Anberlin consistently stay true to their roots with every album to date. Each album is integrated with the defining elements that make Anberlin—Anberlin; however it never ceases to produce the same, recycled material. From the highly acclaimed Cities to pop album New Surrender, Anberlin has undoubtedly produced a seemingly different album every time. Dark is a Way, Light is a Place is definitely no exception. It seems as if Anberlin's approach was to make a more densely layered album and they succeeded with little to no downfalls.