Review of Anberlin's Vital - Song By Song

Review of Anberlin’s Vital – Song By Song

Next up is Intentions which begins with a crunchy guitar riff and a catchy synths melody, bringing to mind again the sound of Depeche Mode and other 80’s rock bands with a slight modern twist. Stephen’s vocals are ominous and mystifying in this song, and feature some of Stephen’s best vocal work on this album. Intentions, like Someone Anyone, is a high energy track which is almost certain to be a fan favorite in concert. While lyrically simple, the songs has a great replay value and is insanely hard not to love and replay over and over again.  This track is almost certain to be another big hit with fans and I would not be surprised at all if it was chosen to be another radio single later on down the road.

Innocent begins very toned down and again brings to mind Stephen’s work with his side-project Anchor & Braille. The lyrics are simply phenomenal yet again and are certainly some of the most intimate that Stephen has written for Anberlin. It is very close to the acclaimed fan-favorite Inevitable in this regard. It is easy to see why Stephen had considered dropping this song from the album, worrying that it was too unlike the other tracks to fit in well enough. Innocent fits in amazingly well though and it is certainly a great thing indeed that it was put on the album. It brings forward a unique side to the album and gives an uninhibited glance into the impassioned thoughts working inside the mind of Stephen Christian.

A while ago, another low-quality clip went around of a new Anberlin song. “A liar! A liar! That’s what you made of me” could be heard, and it seemed clear to several to be part of the chorus, which it is. This song ultimately ended up being a small portion of Desires. Desires wastes no time in getting the album back into full gear, opening up very fast and strong as Christian asks “Now who are you to be the death of me, stealing what life you need?”. Again, the lyrics Stephen has written prove to be phenomenal. With lines such as “The knife that’s rusting in my back is proof enough for me / That you’re a one time catastrophe” the song quickly brings to mind the lyrical stylings seen on Never Take Friendship Personal. In addition to this, Stephen’s vocal range is allowed to shine extremely well on this track. Whether it’s his shouts in the chorus or the occasional vibrato, Stephen’s vocals astound. Also tacking on to the song’s raw appeal is another amazing guitar solo featured in the song. The overall guitar work does not disappoint as many fans worried it might have when it was revealed that synths would be used much more on this album. This track in particular is one of my favorites and is sure to be ranked as one of their best.

Don’t Bite, or Type Three as it was recently revealed to be officially titled, starts off with an ominous and mysterious feel. The piano and synths in the instrumentation only add to the mysterious feel that the song has, along with Joey and Christian’s guitar work. Throughout the song Stephen’s vocals have distorted vocal effect added which does take some getting used to. Personally I would have preferred some rawer vocals on this track, but overall it still sounds very well put together.  Also, at the end of the bridge I was slightly disappointed that the fermata (the sustained note) featured in the live performance of the song did not make its way onto the recorded version. I feel as if that was a great aspect of the performance. Still though, the song does not fail to impress the listener with every detail included in this song; each detail adds something completely unique to it making it a track to certainly  be remembered on this album. From the very beginning, Type Three features an ever-increasing build up and several changes in tempo until the very end where it ends with it it’s own sort of “epic” feel that Anberlin has been known to end their albums with, yet there’s still more to be heard.

<< Read Part 1

>> Read Part 3