Since the departure of lead guitarist/backing vocalist Troy Brady back in October 2014, the remaining members of The Amity Affliction including Joel Birch (lead vocalist), Ahren Stringer (clean vocalist/bassist), Dan Brown (lead guitarist), Ryan Burt (drummer) and Kyle Yocum (rhythm guitarist) have gone on to record their fifth studio album, This Could Be Heartbreak.
Critics have been quick to slam the latest release from this melodic hardcore band from Gympie, Queensland for the usual reasons…they’ve stuck too tightly to their formula for writing catchy metalcore songs with the same lyrical themes of depression, anxiety and suicide plus metaphors including the ocean and the weather. As for me, I never judge an album until I’ve listened to it myself. Here is my track by track review:
1. I BRING THE WEATHER WITH ME…This opening track was also the first single to be released from the album back in May this year. It begins with the chiming of a distant church bell and the sound of a heavy downpour from a funeral progression. Joel’s vocal delivery is really engaging and gripping with sharp, piercing screams with Ahren chiming in his lovely clean vocals on the chorus (Will you miss me when I’m gone? I am the storm that never leaves). It’s good to hear Joel trying out some clean vocals on this album, along with some gorgeous female backing vocals.
2. THIS COULD BE HEARTBREAK…The second single, which was released in July this year, features a catchy drum beat and melodic guitar riffs. It’s not quite as heavy as the first track but it’s still really powerful in the vocals department. Lyrically this song is about dealing with internal emotions and grief (The walls are shaking. The Earth is breaking. Breaking apart what you gave me. This distance between us, it always defeats us). The vocal arrangements are quite interesting on this track, shifting between foreground and background.
3. NIGHTMARE…It’s really encouraging to see the guys try something different and here Ahren takes more of a lead with his clean vocal delivery with Joel punching through with his screams on parts of the verses. Lyrically it’s about dealing with inner demons (Are you living in a nightmare, one that eats away your soul?).
4. TEARING ME APART…A more energetic track with some tight guitar riffs, minimalist synth lines, beautiful piano chords and solid drumming. Ahren’s clean vocals really soar on this track with passionate screams from Joel. Lyrically this song is about dealing with emotional pain (Oh it’s tearing me apart, all this pain inside. Liquor in my veins, panic on my mind).
5. O.M.G.I.M.Y…Oh My God. I’m Missing You. Another cleverly used acronym. The song starts with some lovely wailed vocals, light piano touches and urgent melodic guitar riffs. Lyrically this track is about dealing with the death of a loved one (My heart is breaking slowly…I’ve been searching out the window, in my world of pallid blue. And I keep checking my shadow, in an empty room).
6. ALL FUCKED UP…The latest single to be released from the album begins with a recorded voicemail message. It’s a much softer track than most of the tracks on the album with delicate guitar riffs, angelic female backing vocals and light drumming. Lyrically it’s about dealing with inner flaws, imperfections and the mistakes we make as humans (All the pain, depression, the hurt and regret. Lying to myself. I don’t think of death. All the ups and downs. All the petty concerns. My whole world’s imploding. I can’t find the words).
7. FIGHT MY REGRET…Opening with some catchy rhythmic guitar riffs and explosive fast paced drumming, this is another engaging slice of metalcore with epic screams by Joel. Lyrically it’s about letting go of the past and finding yourself again (I’ve lost myself before. There’s got to be more. I’ve been there I’ve done that. I’ll probably be back).
8. SOME FRIENDS…This is a much lighter and bouncier track with beautiful melodic guitar riffs and intense screams from Joel. Lyrically this song is about dealing with shifting friendships (Some friends will depart. Some stay the same. Some will fuel the anger. Some heal the pain. Some will help me up. Some tear me down. But what goes around comes around).
9. WISHBONE…Another really solid track with huge breakdowns, tight melodic riffs and pounding drums. Lyrically this song is about dealing with life’s pressures (My life is a broken record. Failure on repeat. My mind is a crippled horse. Running circles around me. My self worth has faded. And I have become jaded).
10. NOTE TO SELF…This is a really fast paced song with tonnes of explosive energy particularly in the verses. Lyrically this song is about not being afraid to show your true colours and be yourself (Show me some proof, that your black heart even beats. Show me your dreams, show me your fears. And let me hear your screams).
11. BLOOD IN MY MOUTH…The closing song is a really heavy track loaded with huge breakdowns and beautifully programmed melodic beats. There are some mellow sections interspersed between the verses which break up the heavier parts really well. Lyrically this song is about dealing with depression (There’s blood in my mouth and I can’t see you…I’m sinking now and there’s that feeling. That crushing weight. That leaves me reeling).
You can download and purchase the album This Could Be Heartbreak on the following sites:
Music video for “This Could Be Heartbreak”…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NO…
Lyric video for “All Fucked Up”…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZr…