Review Summary: The Amity Affliction are a post hardcore band from Australia, who have been one of the biggest bands down under for several years. The 2010 release Youngbloods was a huge hit, giving them a bigger following in the U.S.
TAA have been one of my favorite bands ever since I heard Severed Ties. The way that Ahren Stringer and Joel Birch trade off vocal styles is what drew me to love their sound with the instrumentation being more of an after thought for me. I've grown to love the guitar work of Troy Brady and the drumming of Ryan Burt so I appreciate every aspect of the band now. I was looking forward to this ablum ever since I finished listeneing to Youngbloods for the first time.
Overall, the sound remains the same from Youngbloods. There are, however, a couple differences. First of all, one of the things that made Youngbloods so effective was the fact that there was not a lot of auto-tune on Ahren Stringer’s voice. While it is bearable on Chasing Ghosts, there is a little more auto-tune on his voice which can get very annoying at times. On Youngbloods, Ahren was used often, but when used, it was at appropriate points on the record. His voice it terrific, but he is used a little bit too much on CG and it gets really old really quickly. Breakdowns, there is no two ways about it. Every post hardcore/metalcore/hardcore album will have them. The key to breakdowns, is that they have to be unique and used either sparingly, or at appropriate parts of the songs. Youngbloods was the perfect example of how to use breakdowns well. However, CG has one too many breakdowns for my liking and they are very boring. The one good breakdown on this album is the one on the track “Geoff Sux 666.”
With that being said, CG is a fantastic record. Auto-tune aside, Ahren Stringer can really sing. The melodic leads of Troy Brady along with the atmospheric synth go perfectly with Stringer’s voice and the result is some of the most powerful chorus’ that I have ever heard in post-hardcore. Songs like “Flowerbomb,” “Bondi St. Blues,” I Heart H.C.,” “RIP Bon,” and “Geoff Sux 666” are perfect examples of what a powerful chorus’. The biggest chorus has to be on arguably the bands most powerful track ever, “Pabst Blue Ribbon On Ice.” The drumming by Ryan Burt is absolutely fantastic. He likes to use more of a punk style of drumming and I like the diversity. He has always been one of the bands more undervalued members, but I feel that this album will get him more recognition. The band got rid of their keyboardist Trad Nathan prior to the recording of CG, and he is not missed much. The only problem I see about this is that they will have to use playback for the keys during their live performances. Anyway, the synth is terrific and adds more to the band’s sound. Troy Brady continues to provide powerful melodic leads, but adds a certain heaviness to the band’s sound that has been somewhat absent on previous records, matching the heavy theme of the album.
Joel Birch is the true mastermind behind this album. This was a hard album for him to write, because it is about suicide. He woke up in a hospital bed one morning due to a failed suicide attempt. He wrote this album as inspiration to someone suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts because he has been through it and knows the hurt that can come from it. While I don’t agree with the atheistic view he puts on the afterlife, I respect what the point of writing this album was and I pray that it will be an anthem of hope to those suffering from suicide. Meaning aside, he continues to produce the unique and powerful screams that make the band so unique. I love the fact that he and Ahren remain able to trade off vocal styles so well as they really are the reason the band is so good.
Severed Ties will always be the bands best album to date, but The Amity Affliction remain able to make one great album after the other. The Amity Afflcition remain one of the best post-hardcore bands of the decade, despite a few minor problems.