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MUSIC REVIEW: THE AMITY AFFLICTION – Misery

| 23 August 2018 | Reply

Label: Roadrunner Records

Release Date: August 24, 2018

Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by: Rachel Craig

The Amity Affliction is a force in Australian metalcore, gaining a huge amount of recognition from their last full-length album This Could Be Heartbreak. The band is releasing their sixth album Misery, which is a move toward a mellower, pop-punk influenced and electronic sound. This has garnered some criticism from longtime fans who are used to their heavier side, but I think some change is healthy for any band to grow. This is also the first album from The Amity Affliction since the departure of drummer Ryan Burt, with Defeater’s Joe Longobardi stepping in to provide drums on the album. The album starts off with the two singles so far, “Ivy (Doomsday)” and “Feels Like I’m Dying.” These are an introduction to what listeners can expect from the rest of the album, including Joel Birch’s harsh vocals contrasting with Ahren Stringer’s clean singing and the addition of more electronic elements. I recently heard the band perform “Ivy (Doomsday)” live at Vans Warped Tour and it easily falls into the band’s usual setlist with a catchy chorus and heavy breakdown. However, I’m not sure how well the rest of the album will flow with the band’s other material. The two songs also have music videos that are parts of a gripping short film called “Misery.”

Several songs on this album grew on me quickly, including “Holier Than Heaven,” the synthesizer-heavy title track “Misery,” “Kick Rocks,” and “Beltsville Blues.” The Amity Affliction are known for being honest about mental health and addiction through Birch’s hard-hitting lyrics. This album still stays true to their emotional influence through his vocals as well, which are very refreshing. Birch switches between his classic screams and clean vocals on multiple tracks, and it doesn’t feel forced. It’s a nice change from Birch and Stringer being on opposite ends of the spectrum as vocalists. This is my favorite part of Misery, but I feel like some of the emotion is lost on some tracks that need to be heavier instrumentally. Guitarist Dan Brown does have his chance to shine on Misery, including a guitar solo on “Set Me Free.” I would love to hear more solos like this from The Amity Affliction, especially for their live shows. The album concludes with “The Gifthorse,” named after an Australian punk band whose frontman Shane Collins died earlier this year after a battle with depression. It’s probably my most favorite song on this album, since it builds slowly with soft guitars and contemplative lyrics, and then explodes into Birch’s melodic screaming: “There’s a message at the bottom of this bottle and it’s calling out to me.” At first glance, Misery feels like a huge step away from The Amity Affliction that fans know, but I feel like it’s a natural progression. I’m always a supporter of bands trying new things and I can see how they would want to stray into some fresh material. The album has grown on me after a few listens, and I’ve found several songs that will become all-time favorites. As a whole, it’s not the best album from The Amity Affliction (I highly recommend Let The Ocean Take Me for some great metalcore anthems), but it shows growth, creativity and even sobriety – both literally and figuratively.

Tracklisting: Ivy (Doomsday) – Feels Like I’m Dying – Holier Than Heaven – Burn Alive – Misery – Kick Rocks – Black Cloud – D.I.E. – Drag The Lake – Beltsville Blues – Set Me Free – The Gifthorse

THE AMITY AFFLICTION LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

MISERY – ITUNES

Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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