The Amity Affliction


Written by: BL on 14/08/2010 01:57:27

A lot of good music comes from Australia I tend to find. The Amity Affliction have been no exception with me having followed them since their early beginnings from their second EP to their last album "Severed Ties". Incidentally Parkway Drive, another Australian band, released their new album at a similar time to this followup record "Youngbloods". Having been somewhat disappointed to say the least with the Parkway record and not bothering to listen to it again, I turned to Amity Affliction to try and raise my spirits. Luckily for me they didn't disappoint, "Youngbloods" is simply just a solid record for any modern post-hardcore fan. Let's take a good look at why.

The first thing is that The Amity Affliction have managed to continue keeping their brand of electronics tinged post-hardcore quite unique - you'll struggle to name many bands that share the same exact sound. On your first listen they may not immediately blow you away because it's still genre confined, but the great appeal lies with their simple but honest approach to strong arrangements based on good melodies and hooks. As well as personal and quite well written lyrics carried by excellent clean vocals and passionate screams courtesy of Ahren Stringer and Joel Birch respectively - both having improved significantly since last time round. Songs here are easy to get into and easy to engage with, the sing scream dynamics are predictable for the most part but are well worked enough to never get stale while the electronics serve as enjoyable backing melodies - nothing gimmicky like a lot of other bands. The most important part is how it all comes together time and time again, a good mark of consistency.

"I Hate Hartley" is a perfect opener because it wastes no time in setting the scene with some raw screaming leading into a good chorus with a catchy guitar lead. "Anchors" takes it above a notch with a far more melodic chord progression, but has the necessary heavy sections to tips things back and forth nicely. "H.M.A.S Lookback" is a stronger track than the following one, "Fire Or Knife" just simply based on the strength of the clean vocals present. But those are nothing compared to what's about to come for the real personal highlights come with "Youngbloods", "Dr Thunder" and, "Olde English 800". All three share great guitar melodies, some crunchy rhythms, and the best choruses of the album. The latter two in particular: "Dr Thunder" makes great use of electronic effects (like the choir in the breakdown) while "Olde English 800" is a more emotional and darker track that never leaves your head once you hear it because the vocal melodies are so well written (I particular love the passage towards the end with the lingering piano).

The show doesn't end there though as "No Sleep 'Till Brisbane" carries on from the earlier precedents, a big chorus with slightly heavier guitars during the verse and the bridge. "R.I.P. Foghorn" starts off slower with a more haunting lead guitar slowly meandering before Birch's screams kick in. Stringer yet again adding some great cleans before the song ends on a meaty synth driven breakdown. The last song "Fuck The Yankees" has some nice nimble guitars in the verses and, you guessed it, another catchy chorus. This album just time and time again delivers some of the most enjoyable cleans I've heard, and this is more remarkable given that Stringer isn't the most technically impressive singer out there. And while I've not mentioned Birch's screams nearly as frequently, they never faulter throughout the whole record either and always sound intense and meaningful.

On the whole "Youngbloods" rewards those with an ear for catchy choruses wrapped around solid song craft. There are no flashy experimental elements, or cheap heavy retarded breakdowns, or even anything remotely trying to appeal to all the Attack Attack! and Asking Alexandria wannabes out there. So really in focusing more on writing these great songs instead of aiming to be the next fad or trend, The Amity Affliction have made a superior record in my opinion to a lot of these other post-hardcore bands trying to make a name and a quick buck, good on them.


Download: Youngbloods, Dr. Thunder, Olde English 800
For the fans of: Haste The Day, House vs. Hurricane, Of Mice & Men (minus the over 9000 breakdowns)
Listen: Myspace

Release date 18.06.2010
Boomtown Records

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