It may come as a relief to a lot of you that The Amity Affliction’s fifth record has dropped, with songs such as ‘All Fucked Up’ and ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’ already making shockwaves.
Formed in 2003, TAA originally had a much more grassroots style, being featured on the North Coast Hardcore Volume 1 album in 2005 along side Against, Wish For Wings and more. They had their first real sound change with drummer Lachlan Faulkner and bassist Garth Buchanan left the band in 2007, being replaced with Troels Thomasson, Chris Burt and the addition of keyboardist Trad Nathan. This evolved them from being a hardcore band to a post-hardcore band in the broader sense. Just quickly, for those who don’t understand the difference: Hardcore is punk based, with thrash metal speed, and the first genre to go from having a middle-eight to a breakdown. Post-Hardcore heavily influenced it’s sub-genre, Emo, and focuses more on a cleaner sound, cleaner vocals and is lyrically more introverted.
Severed Ties (2008) saw the drummer change a final time to Ryan Burt, and had guest vocals from Michael Crafter, Mathew Wright, JJ Peters, Helmet Roberts and Lachlan Watt. Severed Ties reached number 26 on the Australian Album Chart, and was backed up two years later by Youngbloods, which debuted at number 6 on the ARIA charts. Both albums were suitably heavy, appealing to fans of Hardcore and Metalcore, seemingly having the formula to success. When Chasing Ghosts was released in 2012 through Roadrunner Records, there was a notable change in their sound, being more ‘produced’, and not quite as heavy, with Ahren Stringer’s clean vocals being much more prominent. The keyboard had became a larger part of their sound in the album, as Trad Nathan left, and Ahren took over. So now you have a Post-Hardcore band, that has more singing, and more keyboard. For a lot of their original fans, this album was seen as just being a one off sound change test.
Dive-bomb 2014, the year that killed popular heavy music, came with a disappointing pop when Bring Me The Horizon released “Drown”, Parkway Drive released “Vice Grip”, and Crown the Empire released “The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways”.
The Amity Affliction fell in line, releasing “Let The Ocean Take Me”, which is more vanilla than a nun’s sex life, and about as heavy as helium, with the keyboard synth giving the album a dance feel. ‘Don’t Lean On Me’ is particularly on my shit-list for most homoerotic, so-called heavy/alternate song of the decade.
Will the newest album ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’ break the mould and change their style again? Will they go back to being heavy? Whether their style changes or not, it will still go to the top of the charts, because the pop-rock style of post-hardcore is has been the flavour of the last few years, pushed forward by music's widest demographic - teenage girls.
My prediction: TAA’s new album is going to be about as heavy as Falling In Reverse.
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