Anberlin released their final album this year, followed by a farewell world tour.
They have been a band for 12 years. The rock group formed in central Florida in 2002 and have released six innovative and sincere albums that have affected fans in deeply emotional ways. lowborn, the band’s seventh full-length, is their last release.
The end of Anberlin is not sad but hopeful. There is no animosity or drama, but rather a celebration of what these five musicians have achieved both in the studio and onstage. “Usually breakups happen quickly and suddenly, an implosion of sorts,” McAlhaney says. “What is unique about the end of Anberlin is that we discussed where people were at in their lives, what that meant for the band, and then made plans for the end on our own terms.”
lowborn reflects true artistic freedom for the band, who felt liberated from any sort of expectation or pressure. “I wanted to enjoy the creative process one more time, with no restrictions, no one breathing down my neck for a single,” Christian says. “Just unadulterated creative freedom.”
The musicians started collecting new material at the end of last year. The idea was not to crank out as many songs as possible but to actually focus on crafting solidly good ideas that melded each musician’s individual tastes and influences. “We were really honest with each, probably more so than in the past,” Young says. “You have to come to a point where, with different opinions, there’s no right or wrong. There was a fearlessness which was really freeing and exciting for all of us. To just not have to think about anything else except what’s the best thing for the song.”
Instead of recording the album together, the musicians did their parts with separate producers they each selected. Young recorded drums with Matt Goldman in Atlanta and later went with Rexroat, McAlhaney and Milligan to Lakeland, FL to work with Copeland’s Aaron Marsh. Christian recorded vocals with the band’s longtime collaborator Aaron Sprinkle in Franklin, TN.
Some of the album’s lyrics address the band’s end and history. “I know there are going to be a lot of questions as to why we decided to break up and I explain it all in the song ‘Atonement,’” Christian says. “And I want to make sure that the our fans and friends know that we will always remember them, and the moments spent with them were some of the greatest of my entire life. I tried to convey that in the song ‘Harbinger.’” Another track, “Stranger Ways,” first appeared in demo form in the band’s farewell video earlier this year.
This album brings Anberlin full circle as lowborn will be released on Tooth & Nail, the first record label to which Anberlin was signed. The group’s 2003 debut, Blueprints for the Black Market, and their two subsequent releases, came out via the label. “I remember feeling the excitement of pulling into the city of Seattle to record our first record, into the great unknown of whatever the future might hold,” Christian says. “Now I feel the excitement of the great unknown that the future holds, both experiences are life changing.”
Each musician has plans for the future after Anberlin, some concrete and some vague, some musical and some not. Those plans, in various ways, will be revealed in the coming months. For everyone, this is a celebration of what has been achieved rather than the mourning of a loss. “This is the end of an era of my life,” Rexroat says. “A long and great era. It also means a new beginning. It’s overwhelming to think about filling all my time with something new, but it’s also exciting.”