Wednesday, July 23, 2014

King of The Lowborn

"The King is Dead, Long Live The King." It seems appropriate with this post. Tuesday marked the end of an era in Christian Alternative. There are a few bands out there that define the genre they are in. Petra defined Rock for a Generation, and to a certain level still does, and not in name alone (their name in Greek is Rock) but on inheritance. Many of today's Christian Rock bands grew up listening to Petra and their music shaped their sound. That tends to happen in a 30+ year career. Alternative Music hasn't been around that long, but still it has its royalty. The Emperor or Deity of Alternative would have to be The Choir. Reaching the 30 year mark, and still making top class music, they will not easily cede the throne to an upstart.

The band we say goodbye today isn't that old, but 12 years seems like an eternity in Christian Music with bands hanging it up after five years. Crossing a 10 year mark should be a minimum for respect. Especially if that is your only claim to fame. Fortunately for +Anberlin it isn't. +Brandon Ebel and +Tooth & Nail Records didn't merely strike gold this time, they mined platinum. I have their debut album in my possession Blueprints For The Black Market (2003), but no other complete albums in my collection. I intend to change that. I have been a big fan of the band since Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version) [+video] [+digital booklet] (2010), and the band has been a fixture at the Platinum Vinyl Awards since its inception. Many things can be said of Anberlin, but Pretender to the Throne is not one of them.

Lowborn is a tough album to peg, on first listen I said, "This isn't as good as Devotion or Vital [+digital booklet] ". But then, a funny thing happened on the way to 4.5 Emerald obscurity. I listened a few more times, and started thinking about not how the album sounded, but how it felt. The album feels complete, like they are tying up loose ends. It also is more melancholy and less rocking, which at first made me disappointed, but I was drawn in by the variety of styles. It is also to me the most "Christian" of the recent albums. Bands such as Anberlin, Creed, Evanescence and others have been greatly successful at sharing the Christian Faith in a way that slips seamlessly into the mainstream consciousness. While there is a rock number in We are Destroyer and Dissenter, the rest of the album is slow to medium tempo ballads by Stephen Christian with an ethereal alternative sound. The rockers will be disappointed, but lovers of music will be in Heaven, where "everybody wants to go, but nobody wants to die".

After much listening. I have decided to confer on Lowborn a Perfect 5 Emerald Rating. It is a fitting farewell. Anberlin, the King of The Lowborn. Your subjects will have to be content with Anchor and Braille for now. Like the Arthurian Legend, I have no doubt you will return when the time is right (you bet there will be a reunion). Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.