Anberlin – Vital

Anberlin

Recently, I was with a friend of mine trying to get a pair of subs working in my car. We were doing a lot of wiring, I don’t know much about it, so I bugged him with a lot of questions. I ended up learning a lot just by watching him do all the work and from his answers to my silly inquiries. A few days later, a new series started on TV called Revolution. For those who don’t know, the premise of the show is that everything has stopped working. Everything electronic; completely kaput. Not long after I started following that show, I was texting a friend of mine, and mid-conversation she informs me that she accidentally shocked herself while changing a light bulb. That then insinuated a large string of really bad electricity-related pun jokes from me. There have actually been a lot of things related to electricity that have been popping up randomly in my life recently. It wasn’t until this evening that I actually sat down and realized this pattern existed at all.

“I wanted this to be just electricity, just vibrant – that’s how we came up with that title, ‘Vital,’” ’s vocalist Stephen Christian stated, when they teased fans with their lead single, “Self-Starter”.

So my pattern continues.

My favorite of release from has always been their sophomore release, Never Take Friendship Personal, but the general consensus of the fanbase is that their peak release has been Cities. When they released New Surrender, I liked it, but I found it to be their weakest album, as I hardly return to it and only find a couple songs memorable. They did redeem themselves, however, with their next album Dark is a Way Light is a Path, which I found to be a stellar release, but it still didn’t reach the same stature of my two favorites. Two years pass, and as a new album was on the horizon, many fans began wondering if they will ever be able to top something as good as the highly regarded Cities.

It may be too soon to tell, but in my opinion, Vital has done exactly that.

Vital is exactly what Stephan Christian said they wanted it to be. It is vibrant. It is electricity. has brought back the youthful energy of NTFP, combined it with the maturity and class of Cities, and then on top of that, they added a completely new component of electricity to their music that fuses perfectly with the aforementioned elements. Then to top it all off, they follow through with something else that was promised: this is indeed their heaviest album to date.

Their sound has received a complete overhaul, but at the same time remains the same band they have always been. Synthesizers and keys are used in almost every song to create excellent grooves and graceful melodies. The guitar work is grittier than ever and give several tracks the edgy sound that has been lacking for quite a long time. The seventh track on the album, “Desires” displays this in particular, and is probably the heaviest track they have crafted. “Little Tyrants”, “Self-starter”, and “Someone Anyone” are not far behind in terms of heaviness either. Their drummer, Nathan Young, has shown obvious improvement with each record. Every album I’ve noticed it, and he continues to improve and impress in Vital by driving the music with fun, hard hitting, and complicated beats, percussion, and fills.

Despite the excellent quality of the music, to me Stephen Christian is what makes who they are. His voice is known for being incredibly unique, and Vital proves that. The second track, “Little Tyrants”, is one of the catchiest tracks on the album (“Intentions” being the most), and that is largely due to the way Stephen sings the pre-chorus. As is tradition, they conclude the album with an “epic”. Though “God, Sex, and Drugs” is not my favorite conclusion that they’ve done, Stephen shows off more of his vocal ability hitting notes on both the top and bottom of the spectrum. The song’s style reminds me a lot of how his side project, , sounds.

As I’ve listened to Vital, I have picked the album apart, analyzing every piece. I particularly was looking for things I didn’t like, anything negative at all. In all sincerity, I’ve found essentially nothing. Every track serves a distinct purpose, including the two slower songs “Type Three” and “Innocent”. It flows seamlessly from beginning to end, and begs you to press replay. At times I could think of it as nothing but pure audible bliss. It really does have a spark to it, a current, an electricity, that you can feel pulsing through your veins. has successfully created an album that will immediately please fans of both their old and new work, and at the same time, Vital will attract brand new fans. I won’t go so far as to say that it blows the esteemed Cities out of the water, but I believe Vital has taken a careful step into first place as the pinnacle release of their career.

Vital
Rating: 5.0/5
5.0/5
Vital

Tracklist

01. Self-Starter
02. Little Tyrants
03. Other Side
04. Someone Anyone
05. Intentions
06. Innocent
07. Desires
08. Type Three
09. Orpheum
10. Modern Age
11. God, Drugs, & Sex

Full Album Stream

Buy The Album

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Anberlin has successfully created an album that will immediately please fans of both their old and new work, and at the same time, Vital will attract brand new fans."

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71 Comments

  1. David M David M says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    inb4 “angaylin” or anything else defamatory of the band

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    Isaac Wastman

    Isaac Wastman replied:

    2nd

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    Luke Amos

    Luke Amos replied:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12

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  2. David M David M says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    ANYWAYS.

    Good review. I can’t say I’m an Anberlin expert, but as someone who thought “Cities” was their best album, I hear a lot of that writing present here. Also. The first sentence is a bit…wonky. Try “Recently, a friend and I were trying to get a pair of subs working in my car” ? The clauses don’t necessarily mesh well with each other, along with the double-usage of “working”. Merely my two cents.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Thanks David!

    Hmm… I do see what you mean. Thanks for the input.

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  3. Mike Thigpen Mike Thigpen says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    You loving this band I can see why you gave it a 5.0.. This Sucks in my Opinion, but we all know what opinions are like.

    I gave it a try cause of your Review, Listened to #1-40secs, NEXT #2-23secs, OK #3-32secs once I heard his Voice on that I was Done.

    Good Review Though “MR. ANDERSON” Signed Agent Smith

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Haha fair enough, thanks, Mike. =]

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  4. Max Grundström Max Grundström says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I’ve yet to listen to this album. I liked that song you linked to me earlier, so I will definitely check this out when I can. You already know that I liked your review, and hopefully there won’t be any immature haters coming on here, although I sense a disturbance in the Force.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    hahaha Thanks Max… and yeah… I do too.

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    hamsterslayer replied:

    That made me laugh so hard lol.
    I am new to this website but based on what i know this is what is going to happen: some annoying fanboy/troll is going to start raging about how it’s ridiculous for this album to get a 5.0 and some crappy generic malcore album a 2 or 3. Then Lee is going to come to the rescue and tell him to STFU.

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  5.  hamsterslayer says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Nice review, dude. Never listened to them before but this stuff is really good. Based on your review, I should check out Cities and NTFP next. :)

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Thanks ham! Definitely do that!

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  6. Ryan Brackenridge Scottish says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    My least favorite was DITW,LIAP. But this album has me excited. My fav release is Cities. Nice review dude. Can’t wait to check this out.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Really? I loved that album for what it was! My least is for sure New Surrender and then Blue Prints for the Black Market I don’t listen to A LOT… but it is what got them started, so I like it for that.

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    Ryan Brackenridge

    Scottish replied:

    Yeah… Idk why, but my buddies who listen to Anberlin loved DITW,LIAP except me… New Surrender was good just overhyped imo. Also, the expectations were huge with new label at the time and right after Cities. But I love Christian as a lyricist. Have you seen them live? I haven’t but haven’t heard good things about em live. O__o

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Haha interesting… yeahh he is a phenomenal lyricist… he’s also probably my favorite vocalist as well.

    I have! When I saw them they were fantastic… He was spot on with his notes, and there was a ton of energy… Here’s a clip from the show I was at. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcBdxpqcVOY

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Crowd wasn’t…. great…. but it got better through the set.

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  7. Niki Yakovlev Niki The Russian Polar Bear says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Finally you wrote a good review, Jonathan :P
    Surprisingly this album didn’t get my luvs after the first listen. Felt like a messy record with nothing memorable on it. But then.. I saw that NTFP thingy ya’ll talking about and it got me good. Amazing album indeed.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    …. thanks. =P

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    Matthew C. Alexander

    Matthew C. Alexander replied:

    Really? His reviews are usually pretty well written. I find it very ironic that you would think his reviews are usually bad, yet praise the one full of typos. Funny.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Say what?

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    Katy Pacheco

    Katy Pacheco replied:

    I see the improper use of “than” like maybe once. But apart from that I don’t see this riddled with typos…

    I also edited this so this so I’m biased forever.

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    Katy Pacheco

    Katy Pacheco replied:

    Wow that feel when I forget how to speak English.

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    Niki Yakovlev

    Niki The Russian Polar Bear replied:

    i knows that feel that.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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    Max Grundström

    Max Grundström replied:

    “Finally you wrote a good review, Jonathan” lol. It almost sounds like you’re trying to give the guy a compliment.

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  8. Geoffrey Blosat Geoffrey says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Even though Anberlin is not my go-to band, I definitely enjoy listening to their stuff. From what I’ve heard of it, it’s able to balance out the catchy and edgy to which I love. Great review. This is a must buy!

    Nicely done sir :)

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Completely agree! I preordered it, was so happy to get it a day early. =]

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  9. Jonni Davidson Jonni says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Really enjoyed Cities and New Surrender to a lesser extent. I’m intrigued to see how this compares to Dark is the Way… since it never really grabbed me. Nice review, by the way. Always good to see Anberlin getting some love.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Thanks Jonni!!

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  10. Jairus Pascale Jairus says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Like the band, will for sure spin this, good words sir

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Thanks Jairus!

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  11. Austin Williams Austin Williams says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Omg wtf you gave this and Hands Like Houses amazing scores but gave a painfully average band a bad score?! I think this band is feces and you should realign your score to validate my opinion. I give your rotten egg of a review a 1/5 for effort. I’m so smug and you are all so dumb.

    Seriously though, this is one of your best reviews yet, buddy. Hopefully this album will rekindle my love for Anberlin. We’ve been a bit distant since Never Surrender dropped…

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Thanks man. I almost guarantee it will. =]

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  12. Dustin Dustin says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Just started listening to these guys a few months ago. I like everything they have done pretty well except Blueprints. I like what i hear so far. Nice work.

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  13. Marcos Marcos says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    I really want to like this album,but I’m afraid to hear it and be in disappoint.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    I don’t know what else to tell you dude. Check out other reviews… all of them are praising this for being stellar. Check it out.

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  14. Tim Tim says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    You probably already know I agree with your rating 100%. What a fantastic album. I don’t know if it’s Anberlin’s best, but it sure is a great contender for AOTY.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Oh, unless by some miracle something happens, this is my AOTY.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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  15. Nicholas Misiak Nicholas Misiak says:

    October 17th, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Love this record! Nice review Johnathan!! These guys have come a loooong way :)

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Thanks Nick!

    *Jonathan. (;

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  16. jaazer13 jaazer13 says:

    October 17th, 2012 at 12:49 am

    Their best release to date! Even tops NTFP! It’s like NTFP 2.0.

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  17. Luke Amos Luke Amos says:

    October 17th, 2012 at 6:44 am

    It’s amazing how two people can hear the same music and have two completely opposite reactions.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

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    David M

    David M replied:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

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  18. Daharka Daharka says:

    October 17th, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Really love this Site and the Reviews (part of the charm are the hilarious discussion with the Fanboy/troll Elite :D ). Always had a soft Spot for Anberlin, but everything they released after Cities was just okay. As the Reviews for Vital were nearly perfect on different Pages i was so stoked to hear this, but just disapointed (Although just listened to it once)! It starts strong but the Choruses lack punch and the later Songs just have that Elektropop Vibe that sound like theyre aming for the Charts. Probalby need some more spins to appreciate it. Good Review nonetheless.

    Greetz from Germany

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Hey man, thanks for check us out! For sure give the album more listens! My first listen I wasn’t overly impressed, but it got better and better and better.

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  19. Marc Marc says:

    October 17th, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Good review, it is nice to see that TNR just does not stick to the heaviest sounds. I like a variety and this CD is different enough for me to check out. Not been a big Anberlin fan in the past but this sounds way more interesting to me then their past efforts.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Thanks man! Check it out for sure!

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  20.  VN1X says:

    October 17th, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Bands (song writers) stop that fucking “Yesterday is gone” bullshit.

    Otherwise this sounds neato! :P

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    huh?

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    VN1X replied:

    Check the lyrics.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    I love his lyrics… not really sure what you’re talking about. haha xD

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  21. Sean Rutan-Heningham Sean says:

    October 17th, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Wasn’t a big fan of this. Haven’t really liked any of their releases since Never Take Friendship Personal, but this didn’t really wow me. Sounds like an average rock album.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    well… each to his own I guess.

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    Cameron

    RonStoppable_303 replied:

    just wanted to let you know.. you meant ‘learning’ instead of ‘learned’ in the first paragraph.. pretty sure anyway :) Just thought I’d mention!

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  22. Austin Williams Austin Williams says:

    October 18th, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Mmkay now that I’ve given it a full spin I gotta be honest here man…this doesn’t hold a candle to Never Take Friendship Personal or Cities. It clearly has more spirit than Never Surrender but man…the choruses are so bland. None of them are memorable. The songs always seem to sink after strong verses. Sigh. I guess I’ll just go listen to Cities again. What a huge disappointment, man. :( I should’ve known better.

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    Austin Williams

    Austin Williams replied:

    Shiza. I meant New Surrender.
    Shows how much I cared for that album, eh?

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    You are definitely in the minority here… sorry you didn’t like it dude.

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    Daharka

    Daharka replied:

    You Nailed what i was thinking, the Choruses just sound average, not bad but also not memorable!

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  23. jesuguru jesuguru says:

    October 18th, 2012 at 1:33 am

    “Desires” is not only the best song I heard on this album, but perhaps their entire discography.

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  24. Eric Eric says:

    October 18th, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Never thought I’d say this, but I think I enjoy this better than Cities right now (NTFP runs a distant third if you asked me) though I would like to go on record and say “Fin” is still their crowning achievement.

    Nice review.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Thanks dude! Yeah, that’s the ONLY thing, God, Drugs, and Sex doesn’t quite have the same caliber as a closing song as Fin did…. although it’s still a great song.

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  25. David David says:

    October 18th, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Great review man! I’ve loved these guys since their debut, and in my opinion, they haven’t topped that. I return to their debut more than any of their other albums. NTFP is second. In fact thinking about it, the choronology of their releases is in order of how i rate them. Until this one. It’s on par with NTFP i reckon.

    I can’t wait to see them when they come to the UK soon. I was gutted when they cancelled their UK dates to go support Smashing Pumpkins, but i can understand why they did it of course.

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  26. Jonathan Anderson Jonathan Anderson says:

    October 18th, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks man. Interesting… I haven’t met many people who felt that way about their albums!

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  27. Marcos Marcos says:

    October 19th, 2012 at 1:45 am

    Well,I’m really glad I checked this out,its so awesome. Not sure if AOTY material for me,but its one really amazing record.
    4.5/5

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Glad you like it Marcos!

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  28. John Skibeat John Skibeat says:

    October 19th, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Not my cup of tea, never have been. The synthetic vocals (“Type 3″ is a fine example of a vocal that sounds suspiciously like it’s been auto-tuned) are a major sticking point. Still loved reading your take on it though.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    I can promise you, having seen them live in a venue, and in an acoustic show at a store, he is the real deal. He’s voice is simply one of a kind… and beautiful. Thanks Skibeat! =]

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    His*

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  29. Tim Tim says:

    November 5th, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    This is quickly turning into one of my favorite albums of all-time. My brother loves it. My roommate loves it. All of my friends can’t get enough of it. It’s really disappointing to see so many people on this site not like it.

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    Jonathan Anderson

    Jonathan Anderson replied:

    Ditto dude. It’s easily one of my favorite albums ever as well.

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  30. Patrick Patrick says:

    November 9th, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    This band isn’t my genre at all but this album is seriously addicting. So far nothing in their back catalog has grabbed me like Vital has though.

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