The post-grunge quartet -- now adding guitarist and fifth member Justin Rimer -- took time to regroup with their families after relentlessly touring in support of their first two albums. The respite helped the bandmembers return to form just in time to taste the devastation of Hurricane Katrina firsthand. All are natives of the Gulf region, and many witnessed friends and family members cope with the storm's destruction. This, combined with the band's self-proclaimed moniker of being music industry underdogs, fueled the album's title and its undaunted resiliency. The lyrics take you through a journey of loss, betrayal, and the inability to control your surroundings. Songs like "Arms of a Stranger," "World So Cold" and "Lie to Me" tell of unreliable relationships and letdowns. Rimer and co-producer Skidd Mills (Saliva, Skillet, Sister Hazel) kept the album edgy, defined, and certainly loud. Like fellow Wind-Up acts Creed and Evanescence, 12 Stones walk the line between Christian and secular rock. Without overt references to godly subjects, however, Anthem lands more firmly on the secular side of the line. The only setback is a straightforward post-grunge sound that distinguishes itself with little more than glittering guitar work. To that end, the lack of reinvention limits 12 Stones to a tiring yet potent sound that is interchangeable with any number of bands peddling similar alt-metal fare (like labelmates Seether, for starters).
AllMusic Review by Jared Johnson