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The Amity Affliction - Let The Ocean Take Me Award winner

The Amity Affliction
Let The Ocean Take Me
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 26 May 2014, 2:43 PM

THE AMITY AFFLICTION is a Metalcore / PostHardcore act from Australia. Formed in 2003, the band has released three previous albums. “Let The Ocean Take Me” is their fourth, and contains 10 tracks. In the much maligned sub-genre of Metalcore, Metalheads are clearly divided. I have always maintained that an open mind is key to enjoying bands in this genre, for there is good Metalcore, and there is bad Metalcore. At its best, it is both edgy and melodic, and can easily satisfy fans of brutal breakdowns and fans of soaring melodies.  At its worst, it can be cheesy, repetitive and overly-formulated. As I enjoyed THE AMITY AFFLICTION’s previous album very much, I looked forward for the chance to review this new album here.

“Pittsburgh” leads us off here, a soft sort of introspective opening. When the vocals and instruments enter the fray, it’s a maddening mix of Joel’s intense screams, and a dancing melody, held together by the machine gun pacing of the bass and drums. The chorus really shines. It’s a splendid track. “Lost and Fading” is another gem.  It really flows very loosely and when you breathe it in, it is pure ecstasy.  I hear more melody in the new album, but it has not lost any of its edge and punch.  The powerful breakdown has you banging your fists but as it melts back into the chorus it is just sublime. I laud the use of piano that opens in “Don’t Lean On Me”, and this track just rolls over you with energy. The familiar vocal harmonies in the chorus are very recognizable, but the use of the vocals fry over the canvas of melody is just so catchy.  The band has always had a wondrous sense of grand hooks and soaring choruses, and they do not continue to disappoint here.

I appreciate the simple but pleasing opening in “The Weigh Down”, as it flows from a tough and powerful verse into a long, satisfying chorus. Some of the electronica in the background really strengthens this number in particular, and I find myself unable to resist re-playing this track, memorizing the lyrics, and singing along. “Never Alone” might be the softest and easiest listening song here, where the screamed vocals and punchy guitar riffs support the absolute bouncing rhythm of the chorus in perfect compliment. The despondent spoken words towards the end of the song really draw you in as well. This could be another band here altogether, and you can hear them stretching out more, encompassing more and more into their sound. “Deaths Hand” is another strong track that features more of the power and crunchy grind of the band, but with no less pleasing melodies. Rhythmically they again are able to offer something new, something different.

“FML” by contrast heads straight to your jugular with a fast past, driving approach. But once again they just outdo themselves with the piercing harmonies. There is just so much to like here.  Spiraling into a darker sound, “I Am My Father’s Son” provides an air of deep agony with a relentless rhythm and more traditional Metalcore power.  Still, the genius of the band often lies in the clear, sparkly harmonies in the chorus, and there is no exception here. I find it hard to fathom how well they keep doing this without it sounding forced or formulated.  As soon as you are used to the pace, another slower, more intentional melody rears its head with “Forest Fire.”  I love the simple approach to building the sound in this track.  As I hear it I picture myself going for a long drive in a convertible on a cool, breezy day.  It just brings pleasure to my ears, and I don’t think there is a more flowery statement that can describe what I am listening to. Closing the album is “Give It All”, which is a strong amalgam of the extremes that the band has offered thus far.  Indeed, the band really has done exactly that on this new album.

I don’t think there is any question that THE AMITY AFFLICTION has a more mature sound.  Their core sound is still very much alive, and there isn’t a bad or forgettable track on the album.  This feat is hard for any band to accomplish. Indeed, Joel and company are able to use personal experiences and literally translate them into music.  Many of the giants in Heavy Metal instead focus on riff-driven songwriting, which can get stale quickly because there are only so many riff combinations out there and we have heard most of them. THE AMITY AFFLCITION has aptly laid a bountiful feast of beauty and melody, with intense rhythms and brutality among it, and as well as any band I have heard in the genre lately. There is a lot to appreciate here if you allow yourself to simply enjoy the music, rather than trying to categorize or dismiss it because of the genre labeling. I don’t know about you, but I got into Metal to enjoy what I was listening to, and to find bands that were both hard edged and melodic. If this is you as well, pick up the album.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Pittsburgh
2. Lost and Fading
3. Don’t Lean On Me
4. The Weigh Down
5. Never Alone
6. Death’s Hand
7. FML
8. My Father’s Son
9. Forest Fire
10. Give It All
Lineup:
Joel Birch – Vocals
Ahren Stringer – Bass, Clean Vocals
Troy Brady – Guitar
Ryan Burt – Drums
Record Label: Roadrunner Records
     


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