Over an explosive decade long career, the Florida-based sentimental men of Anberlin took the alternative rock scene by storm, reached a vast audience, impacted lives, candidly delivered seven studio albums and sold out multiple tours around the globe with their down to earth dispositions, heart-felt lyrics, moody strains of new wave and jams to mourn the loss of a loved one if you’re looking for a good cry while still cracking a coy smile throughout the process. The gang collectively acknowledged that there was more to living than being alive back in 2014 when time tore them apart and the truly classy announcement of the release of their last album, ‘Lowborn’, along with the decision to take one final run across the globe as a farewell ode prior to eternally closing the casket on their lifework as a band left diehard fans in shambles; did I mention that I indeed have their band name tattooed across my foot? Let’s retrace our steps and take a stroll down memory lane with the guys who provided a voice for the voiceless and left a touch of everlasting charm in our hearts.
I have to hand it to Tooth & Nail Records for snagging a group of passionate souls that express themselves creatively with such a level of raw emotion that goosebumps still rise on my skin the moment I muse upon catching one of their live shows full of infectious melodies and contemplative narrations. From Anberlin’s 2003 debut studio album, ‘Blueprints For The Black Market’, which came bursting out of the woodwork with Stephen Christian’s stunning vocals, lyrical expressions of positive thought processes, and an overall energetic brand of alternative rock that laid the foundation (or blueprint) for yeaas of musical memories to come to 2014’s, ‘Lowborn’, the natural ear-pleasing showcase of their progression engulfs their discography with each new release.
Anberlin’s 2005 sophomore album release, ‘Never Take Friendship Personal’, is full of mesmerizing guitar riffs, infectious intricate instrumentation, and stellar songwriting that began to mold the heavenly being’s foundation in the world of music which became even more inflexible the moment their 2007 third studio album, ‘Cities’, tugged at the heartstrings of listeners delivered a shining musical gem full of sentimentality that swiftly served a message that in turn fans reciprocated and sent godspeed wishes to all that the gang was after. After a label change, the guys released their highly anticipated third studio album back in 2008, ‘New Surrender’, which stole the show with build-ups that leave you on the edge of your seat and songs that nestle in your head.
‘Dark is the Way, Light is a Place’ was the guy’s fifth studio album release which carried a wealth of dirty industrial beats and an aura of enlightenment that harmoniously veers away from the typical Anberlin sound and reflects the maturity of consciousness of the band on a whole. Truth be told, Anberlin’s sixth studio album, ‘Vital’, was certainly another revolutionary surprise that is truly a defining piece of art for a band that we believed couldn’t possibly outdo themselves. The final track, “God, Drugs & Sex” kicks off with a the thick atmosphere of a distorted church choir and complements Stephen’s astounding vocals with an unrestricted glance into the impassioned thoughts stirring throughout Planet Anberlin.
I will state with zero hesitation that the mixture of sonically pleasing soundscapes, swells of emotion and sharp, cascading guitar lines mesh together to the birthing of one hell of a concert (without the obnoxious crowd surfers) performed by a band that has stayed true to their roots and developed a reputation over the years for sounding just as crystal clear live as they do in studio recordings and gifting fans with a memory far more potent than a simple live show. Although Anberlin and their music will indeed live on forever, let’s catch up with what’s currently going on in the lives of five guardian spirits.
Stephen Christian, the former lead singer, who openly expressed that he was grateful for his entire experience but would have had a mental breakdown from extreme exhaustion if the band continued on, has worked with many charities and nonprofits and has been spending quality time with his family while deepening his roots with his community and taking on a position of Worship Director in Albuquerque, NM. Mr. Christian is also the founder of Wood Water Records which is the home to Stephen’s long time side project, Anchor & Braille, in which Stephen released three eloquently personal studio albums full of airy vocals and mellow tunes to relax to. Former Acceptance guitarist and longtime Anberlin band member, Christian McAlhaney, is recently engaged and protects the planet as a vegetarian environmentalist.
The man who provided an integral aspect of Anberlin’s sound on the drums, Nate Young, has made leaps and bounds brewing freshly roasted coffee beans in former Underoath guitarist, Tim McTague’s, garage and opened up King State coffee shop in Tampa, FL. Co-founder and former Anberlin guitarist, Joseph McKinley Milligan, has worked on several different production, engineering and mixing projects and is running a full-time production at Orb Studios under the name of ‘Suedehead’ in Austin, Texas. And last but certainly not least, after two years of writing and patience, former Anberlin band members, Deon Rexroat and Christian McAlhaney, recently released two songs from their new band, Loose Talk, on Soundcloud and have their first show booked at The Local 662 in Saint Petersburg, FL on May 20th, 2016.
The message of Anberlin’s break-up came in the form of a three-minute video posted to the band’s website that was full of life and surely fell far from flat. The art of Anberlin’s breakup exemplifies the majesty of actively living a simple life and gracefully acknowledging and owning up to when your time has come to an end. I hereby declare a toast to a noteworthy band who certainly emotionally influenced a season of my own life and are individually finding a sense of adventure within four walls and new endeavors; cheers.