New Surrender review by Anberlin

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  • Released: Sep 30, 2008
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (48 votes)
Anberlin: New Surrender
1

Sound — 9
Album number four for Stephen Christian and company and they show off their improved focus and intensity (notably with a new guitarist Christian McAlhaney.) While New Surrender brings nothing radically different to the Anberlin sound from Cities it certainly has improved. Alright well straight to it, opening track The Resistance starts things off with a bang showcasing heavy guitar riffs and raw powerful drums, sharp contrast between Christian's signature piercing voice and the sonic chaos that is the driving guitars under him. More or less reminiscent of Godspeed from their previous album cities, although with a new ferocity and intensity. From there on out the album is a sonic roller coaster exploring every corner of Anberlin's extensive sonic palette. Blame Me! Blame Me! is a highlight with a poppier sound but still retaining that edge that sets Anberlin apart from the fluff of most pop punk bands today. From there on Retrace, Disappear, and Younglife shine in the mellower department. While not particularly guitar heavy the arrangements are quite good, with skillful use of instrumentation. Then what's an Anberlin album without some electronica and synthesizers, Disappear is one of the highlights, they finally mastered the art of using synths to complement the song instead of being ridiculously annoying like on previous albums. Then sprinkled here and there are quite good songs that fit more or less into those categories. Then there is the epic, following the same formula as in previous albums there is always a long epic song at the end this time Misearbile Visu (Ex Malo Bonum). It sure sounds epic to say the least I mean latin, that's deep. Anyways it's again nothing out of the ordinary following along the lines of fin from Cities with a mellow beginning building into a climax and a stunning finish. Doesn't break the mold but it's still one hell of a song. All in all it's a nice sounding album, they really hit the points they set out to and managed to be really diverse but that's also one of the weaker points. The album is really ambitious with it's different moods but it just doesn't flow very well. Individually though the songs are pretty flawless.

Lyrics — 8
Lyrically they've departed from the tried and true relationship themes. While still it's present throughout the album, this time around they've changed it up a bit and matured a lot. Some songs recall his childhood, others recall his love freeing him, others it burying him. Nothing new, nothing out of the ordinary, it's solid songwriting and it does have shining moments here and there but again nothing special. While the delivery is really unique, Stephen Christian's voice is really suited well to the music, it is high but not harsh, it carries well above the instruments but still complements the song. While he does have a pretty voice his ace in the hole is his ability to let out a raw scream straight from his soul (can't remember if there's any of it on this album, it was definitely a highlight in previous ones). Solid work guys.

Overall Impression — 10
New Surrender is one of those albums that seems like it could be disc two on another album. In this case most of the songs seem like they would be right at home on "Cities". Highlights are definitely "The Resistance", "Blame Me! Blame Me!", "Retrace", "Breathe", "Soft Skeletons" and the final epic "Misearbile Visu (Ex Malo Bonum)". All in all a solid album and it's going to be exciting to see if Anberlin will bring about a new direction in upcoming albums as they have a solid foundation of great work on this album. Although I would've liked something different you can't complain when the end result is as good as this, if it were stolen I would definitely buy it again. Keep up the good work guys.

25 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Moozze
    Listening to it right now. It sounds good, the typical anberlin sound is still there. Which is a good thing ofcourse!
    Gollum15
    What happened to the old Anberlin???I loved their two earlier albums Blueprints for the Black Market,and Never Take Friendship Personal,but then Cities came along which was a terrible recreate of Coldplay(other than Godspeed) and now this album has pretty much turned me away from Anberlin,which was pretty hard to do!!!
    Jinksy
    I think i have to agree with the loss of some passion of the old ones, but on the other hand their continues to be improvements in their song-writing abilities. I think it compliments the other albums well, i am just hoping for a more 'passionaite' 5th album.
    Omar_Jesus
    I thought it was a really good album the vocals were really strong in this album. I expected more heavier type of songs in this album they had more of a soft sound in this album but overall i really liked this album. they did a really good job with this one which i expected.
    boxcar_smasher
    i was really surprised the released another album so quickly after "cities" and i was scared that "new Surrender" would be a total bomb. I was completely blown away by the album. It's not a grand or epic as "Cities" but it has the feeling of "never take friendship Personal" and i can't complain about. It's just a good album all around and they are an amazing live band as well
    Adventology
    GoldSoundzUKNZ wrote: i'm not too keen on it. they seem to have lost a little bit of the energy and effort from previous albums. still pretty strong, especially with stephen's vocals. disappear and resistance are two of their best tracks ever. still prefer the old feel good drag though.
    I agree. Cities and Never Take Friendship Personal seem to be... more passionate. Also, the songwriting for the last few tracks on New Surrender aren't anything new so I'm not very impressed. It sounds pretty, but originality is important too. The new Feel Good Drag has less passionate vocals but the layering work is better. Overall it's a better track but I prefer the emotion in the original.
    TheDave1552
    Geez, Anberlin is one of my favorite bands and I didn't even see this release coming! A year and half since Cities I think, and I wasn't even expecting another album so soon. In any case, while I do consider this album to be fairly decent, I think it's missing something. Cities and Never Take Friendship Personal (which I still consider their best...) really stood out for me as soon as I started listening to the tracks. On New Surrender it appears that they've lost some of the aggression that I found to be obvious on their previous albums. Perhaps it was their change of record label, or maybe it was the time they took on the album, but I believe that they've lost something to their music. It's still Anberlin of course, and it's still good, but I think they've taken a small change in direction. Hopefully they don't change too much in the future.
    soccerxguitarxc
    I love Anberlin...so of course I love this album. It may not be their absolute best [Cities is best], but its still so amazing. And I do agree, Feel Good Drag isnt as powerful as it was the first time.
    inferi596
    i love the new album, it's powerful and different yet they still stay true to themselves lyrically and through their music. miserabile visu is probably my favorite though it's seriously a dark song. the resistance is a great intro too.
    stumaster18
    Definitely not as good as their previous albums... I suggest downloading it first if you're a fan.
    Rob_b_543
    I much preffered the old version of the 'feel good drag'. the new version doesn't have any of the energy or the 'f*** yeh factor' (i don't know how to explain it lol) that made the old one such an amazing song.
    Spoony_Bard
    Killer band, I'm surprised they made the front page of UG. They're definitely one of my favorites. I've seen them live 5 times, and they don't disappoint.
    ratedpg
    Great album, I think it's more different from Cities than the review says. But just take it in as something brand new and I think Anberlin delivered once again, as they always do.
    GoldSoundzUKNZ
    i'm not too keen on it. they seem to have lost a little bit of the energy and effort from previous albums. still pretty strong, especially with stephen's vocals. disappear and resistance are two of their best tracks ever. still prefer the old feel good drag though.
    justinrobbins7
    I really liked Cities upon release, and I wasnt TOO big a fan of them before that one...Ill for sure give this one a fair shot.
    seemurdoch
    Adventology wrote: GoldSoundzUKNZ wrote: i'm not too keen on it. they seem to have lost a little bit of the energy and effort from previous albums. still pretty strong, especially with stephen's vocals. disappear and resistance are two of their best tracks ever. still prefer the old feel good drag though. I agree. Cities and Never Take Friendship Personal seem to be... more passionate. Also, the songwriting for the last few tracks on New Surrender aren't anything new so I'm not very impressed. It sounds pretty, but originality is important too. The new Feel Good Drag has less passionate vocals but the layering work is better. Overall it's a better track but I prefer the emotion in the original. I agree with the both of you. I don't know why everyone is saying that this is a fantastic album. It is certainly not. Anberlin used to be my favorite band for years. But this album is not them. Their being to 'christian'. Their not mean or angry enough. Neither thoughtful. I loved their older stuff because Stephen's lyrics makes you think. But this one he just says things that we already know. Their not being themeselves. I want their anguish back! This album is just plain corny and I've already heard this before from loads of Christian bands. And what's up with "Breathe"? Why is it so popular? It's the worst song on the entire record! "Disappear" and "Miserable Visu" are amazing though. The only good ones on this album.