Review Summary: if you need any idea of what well written, well produced and well executed post-hardcore sounds like, look no further than Amity Affliction’s ‘Youngbloods’.
The Amity Affliction are yet another Australian band following the metalcore/hardcore trend infused with catchy scream/sing-alongs and chugging riffs. Evident on Youngbloods is a keen sense to emulate everything that’s makes up the average post- hardcore listen (breakdown heavy, gang vocals, screaming/singing) and add their own signature sound to it. It is evident that a lot of work has been put into this record in order for it to be all it can be, however ‘Youngbloods’ can come across a bit too recycled and repetitive.
With Youngbloods, The Amity Affliction have decidedly focused their sound around the dual vocal capabilities of frontman Joel Birch and singer/bassist Ahren Stringer, at the expense of more challenging instrumentation. Album opener ‘I Hate Hartley’ is full of vocal effects, gang vocals and the noticeably improved screams and singing, whereas the guitars are simple, the bass is hardly audible and the synths add little to the overall mix. This can be said for the rest of the album, where a majority of chorus’s and bridges involve easily digestible power and octave chords.
Another downfall to this album is the overly repetitive nature of the songs. Whereas on ‘Severed Ties’ the Amity Affliction threw in some variation with the instramentalish ‘so you melted’ and the fun cover of ‘love is a battlefield’ , Youngbloods track by track becomes more recycled and repetitive. Guitarists Clint Splattering and Troy Brady seem more inclined to write clean melodic leads over a chugging rhythm guitar which sounds great the first time but they use it over and over again. Take the song ‘RIP Foghorn’ which for the course of the whole song bar the breakdown in the middle uses these clean leads.
Other than that, ‘Youngbloods’ stands firmly head and shoulders above releases by contemporaries Mandalay Victory and House vs. Hurricane. The production is outstanding, and lyric wise the songs seem to have an inspirational tone to them – “but I’ve got friends, by my side, i got hope, in my eyes and dreams to aspire to and the whole wide world to watch below”, hardly cryptic, but it does manage to keep the record enjoyable. Lyrical themes are a bit heavy, with opener “I Hate Hartley’ suggesting suicide and the atheist sounding ‘Fire or Knife’, however with the aforementioned inspirational tone the songs they aren’t too depressing.
‘Youngbloods’ is a record which has everything that could possibly be put into a post-hardcore record, with the Amity Affliction signature sound. Yes, the album does have flaws, yet it’s still a fun and enjoyable listen. The album is a great example of what well produced and well executed post hardcore should sound like.