Review Summary: Amity are past the sweeping sea's and have found their way home
Chasing Ghosts is the third album by the Australian post-hardcore band The Amity Affliction. The band are huge at the moment down under along with the likes of Parkway Drive (who are currently in the studio recording their 4th album).
The usual Amity sound is here although this time its more defined and focused. Cool synths and soaring hooks are provided once again courtesy of bassist and clean singer Ahren Stringer with Joel Birch's growling delivery setting the perfect dual combination.
The first single and title of the album sets the tone for this concept album. The song haunts with a catchy mix of riffs, post-hardcore sound, great (slightly over produced) singing but does need the use of synths and keyboards to stop it from being slightly bland. Regrets of the dead and ''are you haunted by memories past'' are just some of the lyrics about grieving.
The 2nd song ‘Life Underground’ is much better with more melody throughout. This is Amity at their best, lovely breakdowns, Joel's screaming is at its best and Ahren's hooks ''So selfish were my footsteps and so foolish are they now'' refer to Joel's attempted suicide when he was younger not realising at the time the impact it would of had on his family and friends.
‘RIP Bon’ is typical Amity, interchanging aggression and harmony ''I waited for you but you never came'' continues the suicide theme. This one refers to their friend who was sadly sucessful in his attempt. Obviously this has has a big impact on the band and their attitide of ''you only live once'' has been heard on their previous albums. The band are known for their great live shows, tattoos and their partying lifestyle.
‘Open Letter’ is my favourite song on the album. It is sure to be a huge live anthem for the band. The lyrics are sung with passion ''I'm not searching the sky for a reason to live, cus' i've found reason to live and the passion to give''. Nice breakdowns are shown here, this maybe Amity's best song to date up their with the likes of 'Anchors', 'I hate Hartley' and 'Fire or Knife' in my opinion.
'Greens Avenue' is a good song, in typical Amity style fusing mayhem and melody. ''If I hurt you, if I let you down, just remember we were close, we were down''. This is a song about learning from past experience, the meaage is that you may do stupid stuff in your youth but over time you will learn to be happy with the person you have become.
Amity always have a 'I Heart/Hate...' song on each album, this time its ‘I Heart HC’. This song has a piano introduction before returning to a hardcore front. I love this kind of music, those who are new to Amity and like bands such as Killswitch Engage, Deftones, Parkway Drive etc The Amity Affliction could become your new favorite band.
‘Flowerbomb’ is one that sticks in the head and i'm sure will be a fan favourite in a few months. The breakdowns and catchy clean sung choruses shine on this song. The drumming by Ryan Burt is great throughout the album but particually amazing on this song. Amity have truly found their sound on this album and its both accessible and satisfying to the listener.
'Pabset Blue Ribbon on Ice' is suprisingly about Lana Del Rey I think. From following Ahren's twitter is seems he has quite a crush on the singer songwritter. This is a fun song, where Ahren sings ''I love you forever''. Lana has a song titled 'This is what makes us girls' which the lyrics from that song make up the the title and track 8 of 'Chasing Ghosts'. A future duet with Lana seems unlikely.
The penultimate song 'Geoff sucks 666' starts off with a lovely keyboard tune then, as i'm sure most people have seen on YouTube, we all wait to get rick rolled. Gotta love Amity! Fortunately this is the full song, a decent effort and one of the highlights amoungst the many great songs on 'Chasing Ghosts'.
The album finishes with 'Bondi St. Blues'. Joel screams the emotional lyrics with intense passion and means the most to him. This song is about Joel getting out of hospital a few years ago and word had spread fast throughout his friends that he has tried to commit suicide. His friends helped him get back on his feet and realise what he had done was selfish and now he knows the impact it could of had on his family and friends.
While previous effort 'Youngbloods' had a strong impact and was a great album, 'Chasing Ghosts' furthers and reinforces the message making it more profound. Overall although this is a concept album about suicide and the front cover will anger some people who have been deeply impacted by friends or loved one's taking their own lives, 'Chasing Ghosts' is lyrically strongly against suicide. It is in fact an optimistic offering, having the potential to get listeners to understand suicide is wrong and not follow that path.