Best of 2016 Playlist

August 20, 2016

Featured Band - The Amity Affliction

One of Australia's best post hardcore/metalcore acts, The Amity Affliction have garnered a large worldwide fanbase. From the UK to the US, Canada and Europe, this is one band almost universally liked. Not just for their uplifting music but because the guys are very down-to-earth and genuine.

Click this (link) to buy their 5th album, "This Could Be Heartbreak" on iTunes. And click the following (link) to read our review!

Though they've only recently achieved success outside their native Australia, The Amity Affliction have been a fairly well known act since 2008. They made a name for themselves with their well balanced metalcore/melodic hardcore sound. Early albums are fairly standard as far as "Aussie-metal" goes. The band's debut, "Severed Ties" launched TAA to the forefront of the Australian metal scene. 

More recent albums have shown the band dipping into electronicore and mainstream rock, but the base of the sound is strongly rooted in metal. Unclean vocalist and primary lyricist Joel Birch writes very personal lyrics, usually dealing with depression, anxiety and suicide. Again, standard territory for a band of the "core" style. His low, throaty delivery of unclean vocals has improved over time, as have the vocals from clean vocalist Ahren Stringer. More often than not coated in a layer of effects or auto-tune, Stringer's voice isn't as strong as one might want it to be, but he gets the job done. 

Part of the band's success is due in part to their "radio friendly" metalcore. Their singles have choruses that fill arenas and get your head banging along to the beat. A prime example would be "Chasing Ghosts" or "Anchors" (from the album of the same title and "Youngbloods" respectively). Choruses, typically handled by Stringer, lean towards the alt. rock, and melodic side of the hardcore spectrum. A hard contrast to the breakdowns featured in songs like "Death's Hand" or "Open Letter". 

The lyrical themes have been the same since day one. And those themes aren't necessarily a bad thing, but they're certainly not a good one either. Birch's dark lyrics are quite poignant, and ring true for many. Unfortunately after 5 records, the act as grown stale. Not to say the band should abandon their roots. 

They should however find new ideas and concepts to explore, or find new ways to deliver the same message. "This Could Be Heartbreak" seems like a good place to start. Because, even with its faults, the album shows the band trying new things like experimenting with radio rock, and giving Stringer a stronger vocal presence. Music is, after all, art. Which is always up for interpretation. Unless you're Blood on the Dance Floor. Then you're just fucking garbage. 

Of course the looming question remains; could The Amity Affliction be turning into another one of those bands pushing aside their metal roots for mainstream acceptance? Or is this simply the band seeing what works and doesn't work with the blueprints they're already created. One can only hope for the best for album 6, even if 5 just came out. The general consensus among fans though appears to be discontent with the new sound. 

Recommended tracks for first time listeners include: "Pittsburgh", "The Weigh Down", "RIP Bon", "Life Underground", "I Hate Hartley", and "HMAS Lookback".