Feels as if they’re just trying too hard

You would be lying to yourself if you didn’t at least admit to knowing The Amity Affliction and perhaps even enjoying one or two of their rather formulaic metalcore tunes. The band have said that with this album they attempted to change the formula to keep it interesting for themselves, so let’s see what they have come up with.

Opening up with ‘Ivy (Doomsday)’ the first noticeable thing is the heavy use of synth and Joel Birch’s cleaner, more gravel styled vocal approach. Not too bad; if you enjoyed the last Bring Me The Horizon album, this sounds like an off cut from that.

‘Feels Like I Am Dying’ pushes the new sound even further, keeping their foot planted in the BMTH popcore land of big synths and drums that sound very programmed. While this isn’t bad, it already feels as if Amity is just trying too hard to make this new sound work.

They next attempt to claw back some of their old sound when ‘Holier Than Heaven’ kicks in and it will feel like a welcome return after the opening salvo of tracks leads any fan old or new to wonder what is happening. Ahren Stringer and Joel Birch’s vocals are more natural, and the song burns with a venom that feels missing on most of the album.

The middle of Misery just sinks back into over synthesized, directionless popcore. The band even throw some rather annoying vocal effects on the title track, a song that sounds like an ill-conceived remix of something that was terrible to start with.

Among all the worse-than-usual that has been Amity’s slow descent over the last couple of albums, there are highlights, however small. The aforementioned ‘Holier Than Heaven’ as well as the ballad- like ‘Kick Rocks’ that carries itself carefully along the new/old sound, and ‘Beltsville Blues’ feels like a homage to Aussie rock of sorts.

I always do my best to attempt to see the good in what I am listening to, because I feel that all music has a place somewhere and with someone. On this album though, The Amity Affliction have taken lazy lyric writing and an over-reliance on technology to try and recreate a sound that has worked for another band within their scene. But Bring Me The Horizon was a slow burn across albums that didn’t just rely on the shock and awe tactic of a single release and the hope it would carry them. It feels that The Amity Affliction has done just that here, and it will likely push more people away than welcome fresh fans. And as a fan of this band’s earlier output, that hurts a little to admit.

  1. Ivy (Doomsday)
  2. Feels Like I’m Dying
  3. Holier Than Heaven
  4. Burn Alive
  5. Misery
  6. Kick Rocks
  7. Black Cloud
  8. I.E.
  9. Drag the Lake
  10. Beltsville Blues
  11. Set Me Free
  12. The Gifthorse