Anberlin: Looking Back on Their Career

Empty Lighthouse is a reader-supported site. This article may contain affiliate links to Amazon and other sites. We earn a commission on purchases made through these links.

For 12 years, the guys of Anberlin made the most of their career with seven studio albums and multiple sold out tours.

They captured fans with honest, from-the-heart lyrics while remaining down to earth and making sure their work received nothing less than one hundred and ten percent of their effort.

Even though music has been the center of their lives, the members of Anberlin began to realize other passions each of them held and what that meant for the future.

At the beginning of 2014, the band announced their decision to take one final run across the globe and through the states before putting an end to their career together.

While this was unfortunate news for Anberlin fans, the guys were glad they were able to part ways on good terms with each other, knowing they would be leaving behind something that will live on forever.

During the last couple years of the 90s, lead singer Stephen Christian, bassist Deon Rexroat, and guitarist Joseph Milligan were in the band saGoh 24/7, which later brought on drummer Nathan Young after the original drummer left. A side project which would become Anberlin was formed and the band signed on with Tooth & Nail Records.

They released their debut album Blueprints for the Black Market in 2003, which carried their lead single "Readyfuels." Soon after, Anberlin began the simultaneously tiring and exciting life of being on tour with very little money and a van as their home.

The following year, Anberlin began writing their sophomore album, Never Take Friendship Personal, which was released at the beginning of 2005. "Paperthin Hymn" became the most successful single from Friendship, earning the band further recognition when it made Billboard's Top 40.

After going through several rhythm guitarists, which also included Nathan Strayer of The Mosaic, Christian McAlhaney came on board for the remaining Anberlin years.

During this time, the band's third album, Cities, was only weeks away from release, an accomplishment that lead singer Christian has marked as more mature than their first two albums.

Not long after Cities, Anberlin came out with Lost Songs, which contained acoustic versions of Anberlin songs and different covers they took on, including The Smiths' "There is a Light That Never Goes Out."

New Surrender came as the band's fourth album, as well as the first album they did not release under Tooth & Nail Records. Instead, they were signed to Universal Republic Records. Anberlin re-released "The Feel Good Drag," an original track on Friendship.

This song was revisited by eliminating certain pieces and adding in new elements to help enhance its melody. A noticeable aspect of New Surrender was that it contained songs with a more poppy sound, which aroused mixed feelings from fans.

However, the band did return back to their darker, moodier sound with their fifth album Dark is the Way, Light is the Place, a project that was brought together through exchanged emails as each member continued to create his own work and ideas that were all eventually brought together as a whole.

During the time of Vital & Devotion, Anberlin's sixth studio album and the album re-released under a new name with additional songs, the guys began to look at the bigger picture and what that meant for the band. Family was something that remained important to each of them, but was also something they were unable to focus on all the time due to touring and creating music.

With that in mind, the subject began to emerge among the band, and they mutually came to the decision that it wouldn't be long before they called it quits.

Anberlin's final album, Lowborn, was released the summer of 2014. They played a number of dates on Warped Tour, their first time since 2008, and shortly after, The Final Tour commenced.

They started off overseas in the UK then flew back to the states with their last two shows both performed in Florida, where Anberlin first originated.

While there have been many band breakups in the past that consisted of drama, disagreement, and hostility, Anberlin were able to celebrate the 12 years they had together and the end to a significant part in each of their lives.

They remain proud of the work they have accomplished, with every album symbolic to the different eras they went through and saw as a band.

Ever since the end of The Final Tour, there have been occasional posts from the band's social media pages with announcements such as the release of a photo book titled "We'll Live Forever" and a vinyl box set. As far as the members themselves, they each have plans for their futures. Joey Milligan has opened up his own recording studio in Austin, TX. Nate Young is opening up a coffee shop in Florida.

Deon Rexroat and Christian McAlhaney are still working together on music, and Stephen Christian is also continuing with music, but on his own. A future reunion remains a hanging question, but for now the guys are more than content with how their time together has come to a close.

And whether that reunion happens or not, Anberlin will always remain in the hearts of fans.