The Amity Affliction
Chasing Ghosts


4.0
excellent

Review

by BroManCaptainGuySirDylan USER (19 Reviews)
September 7th, 2012 | 47 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: On album number three, Brisbane’s The Amity Affliction cement themselves at the top of the genre.

In a genre notorious for breakdowns, played out synth and auto-tuned clean singing, The Amity Affliction always stood out among others from the genre. The constantly over populated Metalcore/Post Hardcore scene was growing tired but didn’t appear to be slowing down. If anything it was gaining forward momentum, with the more accessible cleanly sung, almost pop-punk like choruses and the gateway into heavy music preaching to newer fans and yet, The Amity Affliction were different. They had a certain charm about them which made them stand out from the competition. From then on, it was apparent that The Amity Affliction were something special. That, given the time, they could go on to do great things.

Such was with the release of 2010s Youngbloods, and the group’s popularity only grew more from there as they arguably became one of the biggest bands in the Australian metalcore scene. While the album was good, great even, it lacked a little direction. That’s not to say it was all over the place. Quite the contrary; it was a solid and above all, fun record to spin on occasion but it could have assisted their sound if they took advantage of a more direct and focused approach to their songwriting. So is the case with Chasing Ghosts. Frontman Joel Birch has always been adept at screaming but he really shines when he combines his harsh vocals with his ability to write confronting and meaningful lyrics. Birch’s lyrics are taken from his own experiences dealing with depression and the contemplation of suicide. The record’s eponymous title track opens up the themes of the whole album based around a character who has taken their own life, and the impact it has on himself and those around him. In Birch’s own words:

"I wrote Chasing Ghosts as a narrative based wholly around someone that has committed suicide and has passed onto the other side. It's a story that I hope people will see for what it is; an example in song of why you should turn to someone close and talk instead of taking that last fatal step towards death prematurely.”

The album continues on these themes in different ways, from the perspective of a grieving friend (R.I.P. Bon) or the impact it has on a complete stranger (Geof Sux 666). Birch excellently handles a delicate subject without coming across as excessively moralistic or sanctimonious. His lyrics are perfectly executed and backed by the talented vocals of Ahren Stringer. While Stringer’s singing can sound a touch overproduced at times it’s no doubt that he has an incredible voice and is one of the best clean vocalists in the genre, and the way he plays off Birch’s screaming is one of the reasons the band really excels. Despite his occasional singing in parallel with Birch, Stringer primarily takes center stage during ‘Open Letter’ and ‘Greens Avenue’, especially during the choruses of each.

The synth sections really shine in how they’re used in a less forced, less direct manner. ‘Open Letter’ has an almost trancelike bridge which is reminiscent of the early works of contemporary Aussie band, House Vs Hurricane. Moreover, ‘I Heart H.C.’ has a fast, yet, elegant sounding piano scattered throughout it that adds to the overall song, rather than detracting from it, which is the trap so many bands fall in to. Keyboard and dual vocals aside, the main drawback to the album is the guitars, while perfectly adequate, are a little uninspired at times. The chug-chug of Drop C echoes throughout the whole ten tracks, with rare occurrences of variation. It’s not bad by any means, and it definitely gets the job done, but it does leave a little to be desired when it comes to distinguishing songs from one another. On the other hand, credit must be given towards Ryan Burt’s performance behind the kit. His powerful drumming reinforces an already tight band of musicians, and really adds a backbone to their sound.

Some would say that the band have regressed, because while it does sound a lot like ‘Youngbloods part 2’, it lacks much of the melody and catchiness of said record. You’re not going to find something akin to ‘Anchors’ or ‘Dr. Thunder’ on here as vocal hooks aren’t as frequent or distinct and the closest thing you’ll get to a sing-a-long chorus would be in ‘Greens Avenue’ or even the title track. However, the album flows much smoother then their previous work, taking a much more subtle route, putting more emphasis on atmosphere and melody rather than churning out typical ‘mosh-core track part 1 of 10’ repeatedly.

It doesn’t feel like The Amity Affliction are trying to win over any new fans with the release of Chasing Ghosts, but the record is a commendable piece of work from one of Australia’s most consistent bands in the metalcore scene and highly recommended for fans of the band or the genre itself. Many bands these days could learn a thing or two from Amity, prominently that less, is in fact more, and you don’t have to be shoving music down people’s throats to get them to appreciate it. It’s difficult to convey to someone what it is that make The Amity Affliction so special. They aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary (especially in a genre that is already played to death), but they do it with so much more tact and expertise which makes it something worth listening to. On album number three, Brisbane’s The Amity Affliction cement themselves at the top of the genre.



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user ratings (264)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
InFiction
September 7th 2012


3705 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It seems I like this album a bit more than everyone else. Feedback would be awesome.

Digging: Ne Obliviscaris - Citadel

Captain North
September 7th 2012


6791 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I haven't heard this but Youngbloods was fucking awful. Kudos to them for the subject matter though...although the artwork is
pretty fucking crass wtf

teethoftheshark
September 7th 2012


21 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I don't completely agree, but very well written dude. The conclusion could do with a little bit of work though, but that's my only reservation. I wish I had this much to actually write about the album, clearly you saw a depth that I missed.

Anyway, good job!

InFiction
September 7th 2012


3705 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks teeth! Your review was quite well written as well, I just disagree. I find it easier to talk down on an album rather than praise it though.

dixoncocks
September 7th 2012


2639 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Seems the concept of this album is pretty sincere, great release.

Captain North
September 7th 2012


6791 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Ok, that album cover actually makes me really angry

InFiction
September 7th 2012


3705 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The artwork is pretty confronting, I'll admit. However, if you look close you'll notice no signs of a rope among other things. The theme is just suggested, not actually used.

Vooligan
September 7th 2012


3541 Comments


Nice review dude. I'm undecided about this, there's parts i really like but i keep getting bored within two or three songs :S

Captain North
September 7th 2012


6791 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

They used the image to be 'shocking' and edgy. They could have used an image that reflected the pain and sadness surrounding it, a gentler image, but no, they had to use a dumb brutish image. As someone who has a rather intimate knowledge of suicide, I find it pretty offensive.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
September 7th 2012


7432 Comments


Wow. The clean vocals on this are freakin' obnoxious. The music's far cry from refreshing too. I have absolutely no idea why it's so popular.

Digging: Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Rhythm

InFiction
September 7th 2012


3705 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As someone who has a rather intimate knowledge of suicide, I find it pretty offensive.

I've had my fair share as well, but you have to remember that the lead singer has also tried to kill himself before. The last thing he'd want to do is try to offend anyone. In any case, I'm sorry you feel that way, dude.

Captain North
September 7th 2012


6791 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

That's why it annoys me really, here's a guy putting forth what is really a good message and I'm glad he is, because its a popular band for troubled youths so hopefully it'll do some good. But that image...I dunno, it's almost a "this is cool" image which it shouldn't be.

NorwichScene
September 7th 2012


1498 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great concept album. Amity have always been about partying yolo attitude but this is more focused on the suicide aspect. I personally think its good and will help a lot of people realise this action is wrong.

When I hear Geoff 666 I always expect to get rick rolled...

Digging: From Indian Lakes - Able Bodies

InFiction
September 7th 2012


3705 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Captain North

Yeah, I can see what you mean by that. If not fully understood, it can convey the wrong message.

nononsense
September 7th 2012


3429 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Incedible review, bro! This album kills.

Hep Kat
September 7th 2012


15356 Comments


this band is ass. my wife is a little into them, but i think they're turrible

InFiction
September 7th 2012


3705 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@nononsense

Thanks dude! I really appreciate the feedback! :D

MMX
September 7th 2012


4838 Comments


Hey InFiction nice 4

Digging: Rancid - ...And Out Come the Wolves

sspedding
September 7th 2012


4780 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I get what people mean with the clean vocals. Sound so computerised. Still there's some great tunes on here and the lead vocalist really stepped up.

Digging: Devil Sold His Soul - Belong ? Betray

joshieboy12345
September 8th 2012


5371 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Very well written review. I agree completely. A lot seem not to like Ahren's cleans just because their overproduced, but you need to see these guy's live and you will see that Ahren is a great singer. Open Letter and Flowerbomb fucking rock.



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