Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Album Review: 'Let The Ocean Take Me' by The Amity Affliction

>> In the world of metalcore/post-hardcore/(whatever you want to call it), it is hard to distinguish yourself as a band that deserves attention. This is due to the the basic formula of guitar riff + screams + high pitched clean chorus + breakdown = song that a majority of those bands utilize. There are some bands out there that attempt to change this formula and succeed (see August Burns Red). There are also bands that keep this basic formula but throw in other variables such as different instruments or music styles to produce catchy, heavy songs. 

>> I consider Australian metalcore quintet The Amity Affliction one of these bands that does it differently, and their soon to be released album, Let The Ocean Take Me (LTOTM), is proof of this. LTOTM, which drops in the US on June 10th via Roadrunner Records, consists of 10 songs that flow very similarly to The Amity Affliction's hits such as "Open Letter," and "I Hate Hartley," but the band has managed to insert nuances into this new album to set it apart from previous releases and other metalcore albums. The two songs that were released as singles prior to the album's release, "Pittsburgh" and "Don't Lean On Me," both have a classic The Amity Affliction sound that will please the ears of current fans. You can check out the music video for "Pittsburgh" below. 

>> These classic The Amity Affliction sounding songs share space on this album with songs that show range in the band's abilities and tastes. "Never Alone" is a song on this album that really proves this point. The beginning guitar riff, with the mix of synths, gives the song an 80's glam rock feel that at first is a bit confusing. But after listening for a while it becomes infectiously catchy, especially when Ahren Stringer, the bassist and clean vocalist, comes in with the chorus that repeats throughout the song. "Never Alone," keeps this 80's vibe except for the breakdown, which could be argued as the heaviest breakdown on the album. Another song that mixes musical styles together well is"The Weigh Down," which has a pop intro that could be played on a top 40 radio station. 

>> Lyrically the album follows the same themes that past The Amity Affliction albums have discussed. These topics include depression, suicide, and self harm. Joel Birch, the vocalist and lyricist for the band, has personally dealt with these issues, which is why they are always at the forefront of their songs. Birch has stated that he continues to struggle with depression and that the lyrics he writes help him to cope just as much as they help their fans. Some might say that hearing songs that continually focus on the same topics would cause them to lose interest in a band, but with the amount of passion that Birch and the rest of the band put into each song it is impossible to not find yourself at least giving each song a chance.

>> In previous albums Birch would write about others and himself, but with LTOTM it seems he wanted to focus on his dealings with his depression in the hopes to share with the fans that he is just like them and that they are going through the same struggles. This is seen in in the single "Don't Lean On Me," in which Birch mentions how many fans reach out to him with their depression. He goes on to tell the listener that they shouldn't confide only in him because he is going through the same thing and sometimes has a hard time with the burden of all of these confessions. He wants to be there for those who reach out to him but he also doesn't want to be the only one who is there for them. You can check out the music video for that song below.

>> Other songs touch on Birch's run in with alcohol dependency ("Pittsburgh"), following in his father's destructive footsteps ("My Father's Son"), and thanking friends for helping him through his depression ("Death's Hand"). There is also an interlude in the middle of the album that features a phone message in which someone is pouring their depression-ridden heart to a friend. It perfectly sums up the themes touched on throughout LTOTM

>> Let The Ocean Take Me is by far The Amity Affliction's best work to date. It encompasses the melodic metalcore sound they have developed in the past few releases while also stretching their boundaries by mixing different music styles such as 80's glam rock. If you are a previous fan of The Amity Affliction or a fan of metalcore music, I highly recommend listening to this album. It sets the bar for musicianship in the genre while keeping the same features that make metalcore what it is. You can pick up the album on June 10th via iTunes.  

Let The Ocean Take Me International Release Dates:
June 6th - Australia 
June 9th - United Kingdom 
June 10th - United States

                                                                                                                                               - Zach Zima

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