Best of 2016 Playlist

November 17, 2015

The Amity Affliction - "Shine On" Single Review

The Amity Affliction spent their summer on promoting their first DVD "Seems Like Forever" on Warped 2015, and the fall touring with SECRETS, Chelsea Grin, The Plot in You and Cruel Hands. Next on their schedule is a tour with A Day to Remember, Motionless in White, and The Ghost Inside. But before that, they've surprised us by releasing new single, "Shine On". To buy it on iTunes click this (link).

The band has slowly begun to step out of their comfort zone, and experiment with new sounds. This song is the newest example of the band's move towards a more accessible version of their usual melodic hardcore. Following bands like We Came as Romans, Bring Me The Horizon and Of Mice and Men into the world of arena metal, The Amity Affliction ditches the rhythmic verses, melodic choruses, and gang vocals for a children's choir, and one of the most mainstream choruses we've heard from a hardcore band.

Now, mainstream music can be integrated into hardcore music. But there's a right way and a wrong way. BMTH's "Throne" is an example of how to do it correctly. "Shine On" is an example of how not to do it. Half the song is very poppy, and radio friendly rock. The other tries and fails to mix in TAA's brand of metalcore. Frontman Joel Birch's contributions don't seem to have purpose, other than to keep the song in hardcore territory. His voice doesn't carry any weight, and falls flat. 

Lyrics about as generic as they come, the song also fails to stand out in the sea of other self-empowerment songs. And the choir vocals... Anyone else think they borrowed the kids from AHS: Hotel to do the intro? Creepy isn't it? Well maybe not creepy, but unnecessary. Unlike the youth vocals they utilized in "Pittsburgh", which fit in well with the song's tone and theme, they have no place here. They don't mix well with Birch's unclean vocals either. 

But the worst part about the opening choir vocals is that they drown out the nice guitar intro. If they'd upped the emphasis on the instrumentals, this song would come off so much better. But with production and mixing zeroed in on vocals, we don't much. The lead guitar is at times audible, but the effects on Stringer's voice don't help in that department.And where his vocals have bordered on whiney in the past, they bring new meaning to overproduced in this track. 

The "breakdown" sounds like something Of Mice and Men, Issues, Memphis May Fire, or any other Risecore band would have written. The typical china cymbals and chugged guitar riff is so overused to say the least. Lots of hardcore music fans have expressed distaste for generic breakdowns at some point. Those breakdowns which follow the 1-2, pause, 3-4 beat, are backed by double bass kicks and 1,2,3,4 cymbal smashes, those are the ones we're relatively sick of. And while we do enjoy the expected post hardcore style (you know what we're talking about) breakdown, again, there's a right way to do it, and a wrong way. Want to hear a good breakdown? Listen to the bridge in "I Am" by Hands Like Houses. Now that's a breakdown.

Nice try boys, but maybe you shouldn't follow the fad. The Amity Affliction ventures into dangerous territory with their new single, and fall victim to so many common mistakes. "Shine On" is awkward, at times clumsy, and sounds like a rejected BMTH demo. This is meant to be a powerful anthem song, but it comes off as a bad crossover attempt. TAA really screwed up on this one, which is a surprise since they normally hit the important marks. 

We do NOT recommend this for fans of the band's previous songs. Anyone who enjoyed We Came as Romans self titled album, and probably Bring Me The Horizon's "That The Spirit" will enjoy this. But if you're looking for the TAA that gave us "Chasing Ghosts" or "Anchors", don't waste your time on this song. 

Rating - 5.5 to 6/10