Review Summary: Tried, tested and tired.
Formulas often work. Pythagoras made a pretty good formula, The Smiths used a formula of honesty and inner reflection to make their music shine and Alice Cooper used a formula of shock to gain attention. Sometimes, however, formulas and plans fail to work as well as well as they appear on paper. On paper, The Amity Affliction is a great band. Their 2010 release entitled “Young Bloods” debuted at number 6 on the ARIA Charts, they have received countless praises from both Australian and overseas publications, and, as I experienced firsthand, they put on a great live show. This being said, a band must evolve to survive. Nobody wants to listen to the same record twice. This is, unfortunately, where I see The Amity Affliction’s downfall. Don’t get me wrong, I have sung along to “Anchors” in my car and even had “I Hate Hartley” as my ringtone. I adored The Amity Affliction.
“Chasing Ghosts”, the title track of the album, is uninspired at best. The electronic breakdowns feel forced, the guitar work isn’t anything we haven’t heard before. In general, the song feel tried, tested and tired. “Life Underground” begins marginally different to any predating Amity song, however it soon dissolves into the same old. Not to trivialise the issues that The Amity Affliction are trying to discuss, but the emotional backdrop that each lyric seems to require to have is nothing short of bland.
“RIP Bon” is again, just more of the same. The chord progression is the same, the structure of the song is the same, and the lyrical direction is, yet again, nothing new. It begs the question whether or not, since signing to Roadrunner, The Amity Affliction are being directed to continue with a formula that has seemed to work for three albums, that Amity don’t actually feel comfortable with anymore.
“I Heart HC” was the next song that actually stood out amongst the mess. While the song does devolve into the same formula, yet again, at least they’re trying something new.
I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I heard the words “I”, “heart” and “have” in this album. The Amity Affliction have targeted adolescents in this release through coercing as many emotional words as possible out of the lyrical material. Unfortunately, I do not fit into this adolescent market.
This album is like 10 shades of black. Sure, it changes slightly throughout the runtime, the album is essentially the same song 10 different ways. Ahren’s voice sounds overproduced, the album feels rushed and the whole formula essentially feels stale. Some people will love it, some people will hate it. I really wanted to like this album, if not for The Amity Affliction, but for Australian hardcore. Whether or not it is the abundance of Australian hardcore bands these days that have killed the scene, or this album is actually terrible, I will never know. If you’re looking for an album that sounds exactly like Youngbloods, you will relish this release. If you are looking for a matured, evolved and progressed version of The Amity Affliction, steer clear.