Album Year: 2007
Genre: Post-Hardcore / Metalcore
Location: Brisbane, Australia
The little scene kid inside of me just sprung at the chance to review this classic from The Amity Affliction. This release shaped what I think of the post-hardcore movement of the 2000s. The pure unscrupulous and raw aspects of the entire release combined with unique synthesizer techniques blew my mind the first time I heard this EP. The texture of this EP includes acoustic guitars, fast/technical breakdowns, incredibly blended lead guitar riffs, and drum fills that sore in each track, giving it an extremely new age and unique feel for its time.
When most people think about synth in metalcore/post-hardcore music, they often think of the over exaggerated forms in songs like “Catfish Soup” by Attack Attack! or “Swords, Dragons and Diet Coke” by The Devil Wears Prada. In songs like these, the synth takes over the entire texture of a certain section of the song, completely compromising its heaviness and melodic shape. What The Amity Affliction does differently is take these complex and interesting synth melodies and layer them behind the guitar tracks, drum patterns and vocals. This gives the release an extremely deep and complex texture that takes a few listens to actually comprehend all of the musical elements going on.
So aside from the EP’s diverse originality, the instrumentals are performed with intrinsic beauty. Each breakdown, chorus and bridge is reliant towards the entire effect of the track. They rarely repeat ideas and always offer incredibly diverse guitar and vocal melodies. The clean vocals counter the rawness of the screams by offering no distortion or ability to deepen the vocal ideas. These “pure” clean sounds allow the vocals to carry the listener’s ears throughout the form of each track.
To top off the album, the band sneaks in a bonus track that is a refrain to the theme of the entire EP. The Amity Affliction has been criticized for its intense lyrical and physical depictions of suicide in their music. Recently, the band’s latest full length, Chasing Ghosts, depicts a man being hung from a tree by a noose; this idea is something that many people felt was not justifiable. I believe their intentions are more to shed light on the topic, not undermine this extremely powerful matter of life. They accompany these ideas with powerful screams, choruses and beautiful melodies to play with the idea that it is a serious matter and that the general public does need to be aware of this hot-button issue. Their lyrical content also supports this theory.
This EP is simply a masterpiece. I believe it severely changed people’s ideas of what metalcore can and should sound like. Their musical integrity is not to be doubted. They are masters of their craft, creating tunes that are both infectious and melodic. I really enjoyed going back to my days in middle school days where I listened to this EP along with their first full length, Severed Ties, over and over again. The nostalgia simply poured out of me in this review. If you are looking for a band that I believe is one of the pioneers of present-day metalcore/post-hardcore, look no further than The Amity Affliction.
For Fans of: Underoath, Haste The Day, Alexisonfire, The Devil Wears Prada, As I Lay Dying, To Speak of Wolves