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Customer Reviews

Fantastic enhancement to an already near-perfect record!

Almost a year ago to the date, Anberlin released their sixth album, "Vital". This album would be the one that would (finally) shut every fan up about the band releasing a "Cities Pt. 2". The album is on par with the greatest of their work, and now the band is back with the super-deluxe edition, "Devotion". The iTunes version of Devotion includes an 18 song album including Vital's original 11 tracks, plus 4 b-sides and 3 new songs. The iTunes version also includes live audio of Anberlin's acoustic performance last year in Williamsburg. Is all of this worth your money? SPOILER ALERT: Yes. Very much so.

First we'll look at the extended edition of Vital, with the seven additional tracks being the focus. While most bands would stick additional tracks and b-sides at the end of the standard album, Anberlin has placed them within the original Vital track listing, creating a now 18 song album that flows remarkably well. The newly recorded tracks ("City Electric", "Dead American", and "IJSW") were easily the most exciting thing about this release to me and they do not disappoint. "City Electric" fills the pop-rock anthem void that the original album might have had. It's a nice change of pace from the heavier tracks around it and fits well between "Other Side" and "Someone Anyone". It's likely the weakest (if you can call it that) of the newer tracks, but it'll still have you singing along. "Dead American" is heavy, combining some of the rawer, more ambient guitar tones of "Dark is the Way.." with the newer electronics of Vital. This song is definitive Anberlin in every way, with its fast-paced verses building into an absolutely explosive chorus that'll stick with you for days. It's one of the most aggressive tracks the band has ever written, as well as one of the best. (In fact, had they written it in the original Vital sessions, it might have been as good of an opener as "Self-Starter") On the other end of the spectrum, "IJSW" is the most experimental track Anberlin has ever written. The song is very ambient, from its mellow verses to it's astonishingly gorgeous chorus, and the entire song is heavily electronic. It's different for sure, but if it's an indicator of where the band is heading, I can't say I'm not on board. It's absolutely beautiful.

The b-sides ("Unstable", "Said Too Much", "No Love to Speak", and "Safe Here") all fit well within the track list and are such high quality that you forget their b-sides at all. "Unstable" is probably the most familiar since the band has released a music video for it and it's included in the iTunes version of the album. The electronic-laden power ballad showcases Stephen's vocals beautifully, and it's a wonder it wasn't included on the first version of Vital. "Said Too Much" is another heavy-hitting rock track with a classic Anberlin sing-a-long chorus ("Stay, stay! Stay where I can see you!"). It's not quite as memorable as "Dead American" or most of the other tracks on Vital, but it's a more than worthy inclusion here. The softer "No Love to Speak" is a real grower. The song itself isn't incredibly compelling at first, but it's beauty really hits after repeated listens, and the production is absolutely outstanding. "Safe Here" is the last of the b-sides, as well as the strongest. It's a relatively straightforward Anberlin song that just incorporates the best of what Vital has to offer as far as aggressive tracks go.

The live album contains 13 songs spread out across all six of Anberlin's albums. It contains a relatively interesting mixture of mostly mellower Anberlin tracks that translate PERFECTLY in a more stripped down setting. And Stephen's vocals... if you've always wondered if Stephen Christian is as good live as he is in the studio, this is going to be a serious treat for you. His voice has never sounded better than it does on these tracks, and the slower tempo allows him to experiment more with it at times. As far as the songs themselves go, I'll go over a few highlights. Perhaps the biggest highlights are actually the less expected songs on here. "Alexithymia", despite being an unorthodox inclusion, is where the band sounds the best. "I'd Like to Die" is a great inclusion here, as the beautiful "Dark Is the Way.." b-side never got the attention it warranted. "Naive Orleans" will definitely satisfy fans that have been around since "Blueprints for the Black Market" and it's a highly nostalgic entry here. But the showstopper here is undoubtedly "Dismantle.Repair.". As if the song wasn't already good enough, this version, which consists solely of Stephen Christian and a piano, is chill-inducingly beautiful. It's one of those things you just have to hear. The only downside to the live album is the undeniable fact that some songs have to be missing. The exclusion of "Paperthin Hymn" is most obvious, while I found myself wishing "(The Symphony of) Blase" and "Pray Tell" were included here as well. But you can't have everything.

In conclusion, this entire album is worth getting whether you have the original version of Vital or not. It may be the biggest and most rewarding collection of music Anberlin has put out as it gets you both nostalgic for the past and excited for the future. I'm so proud of how far this band has come and absolutely cannot wait to see what comes next.


Love this album, can't wait to buy this! Awesome Job, you guys did it again!

This right here is what people call AMAZING!

All the songs on this album are amazing! I love the acoustics and bsides! I'm sure the new songs are just as great as everything else!


Formed: 2002 in Winter Haven, FL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Hailing from Orlando, Florida, Anberlin formed from the ashes of various other area projects. Led by the soaring vocals of Stephen Christian, the positive-thinking Anberlin also included Joseph Milligan (guitar), Nathan Young (drums), Joey Bruce (guitar), and Deon Rexroat (bass), and presented an alternative pop/rock sound that, while inflected with the earnestness of emo, was closer to the mature stylings of Third Eye Blind. A five-song demo garnered Anberlin the attention of Seattle-based indie...
Full Bio
Devotion, Anberlin
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Alternative, Music, Rock
  • Released: Oct 15, 2013

Customer Ratings