The Amity Affliction – Youngbloods


Album

Youngbloods

Label

Boomtown

Year

2010

For Fans Of

Alexisonfire, House Vs Hurricane, A Day To Remember

Summary

Fuck the haters, this album rules.

Rating

95 / 100

The two names that first come to mind when one thinks of Australian heavy music are Parkway Drive and The Amity Affliction. The latter, if you’ve been living under a rock, are a six-piece powerhouse from Brisvegas who are known for their infectious combination of heavier hardcore elements with unbeatable melodies and screamo vocals. One of the most anticipated albums of the year, the latest effort “Youngbloods” is their finest work to date. Released on Melbourne-based Boomtown Records it marks their fourth release and their second full-length after 2008’s unlikely album-of-the-year “Severed Ties”. It was recorded in New Jersey with Machine who’s the guy behind albums by punk and metal heavyweights like Every Time I Die, Lamb of God and Four Year Strong. This has undoubtedly been a wise move, as the quality of the recording and production is a major factor which differentiates “Youngbloods” from previous efforts and brings Amity wholeheartedly into the big leagues.

Admittedly I’m a bit of a cynic when it comes to popular music, so it took me a while to get onto this band. I’m an idiot though, because make no mistake they are worth every bit of the hype. Even more so than Amity’s last album “Youngbloods” is ultra-accessible. It literally has something for everyone: catchy choruses and sing-a-longs, plenty of great mosh parts, excellent riffs and vocal melodies. More than anything what makes this band great is that they have a thoroughly cohesive sound. While there’s plenty of variety within and between tracks, there’s enough consistency that you always know that it’s Amity. More than anything this makes “Youngbloods” an album in the fullest sense, all killer no filler as the kids say.

Bassist / clean vocalist Ahren Stringer has stepped it up even further in the quality of his singing for this release. His vocals have progressed out of sight since his first appearance with Amity on their 2007 EP “High Hopes”, and “Youngbloods” arguably confirms him to be one of the most talented vocalists in the business. As a sidenote I sincerely hope that one day he gets into a City and Colour-style side project. Often a controversial element of heavy music, I would say the use of synth keyboards generally makes the majority of bands about 50% worse. Amity somehow manage to pull it off flawlessly, and wouldn’t be as good without it. Further breaking from the screamo mould, Amity’s lyrical dealings with suicide and depression provide an ultimately uplifting message throughout, rather than recycling immature cliches. A personal favourite, the anti-religious sentiments expressed through “Fire or Knife” will have proud atheists singing along for sure.

“Youngbloods” opens with perhaps the heaviest number on the album, “I Hate Hartley”. Punishing guitars are juxtaposed with vocalist Joel Birch’s heavier-than-ever screams before breaking into one of the most motivational choruses of recent years and descending into a dissonant breakdown. A crowd favourite in the making, “Anchors” epitomises Amity’s appeal. Combining a painfully catchy chorus, their signature synth-laced breakdowns, and motivational set of gang vocals (or should I say army vocals they’re so epic), this will have everybody singing along.

“Dr Thunder” is one of the more commercial tracks, and I found its chorus which talks about “under oceans” and “coffins” a little pedestrian and boring. Nevertheless its by no means bad, rather a well-written poppy tune that written by most other bands would be their hit. “RIP Foghorn”, “Youngbloods” and “No Sleep ‘Till Brisbane” see the Amity at their more anthemic, the massive choruses and epic synth parts meshing perfectly with their understated heaviness. While not an overwhelming element of their sound, breakdowns are weaved in liberally and don’t sound at all forced which is great. The iTunes exclusive track “15 Pieces of Flair” is worth getting a hold of too, which is a bit reminiscent of "High Hopes"-era stuff. 

Conclusion

Like any heavy band that makes it big, The Amity Affliction will inevitably have its detractors. The reality is that “Youngbloods” is a perfectly crafted work of its genre. It’s more original, genuine, catchy, heavy and consistent than any similar act whether domestic or international. An obvious candidate for Australian album of the year, the songwriting is truly peerless in the screamo / melodic metalcore genre. Rather than dismiss Amity for their successes, back them because they’re the cream of the Australian crop.

Tracklisting

1. "I Hate Hartley"
2. "Anchors"
3. "H.M.A.S Lookback"
4. "Fire or Knife"
5. "Youngbloods"
6. "Dr. Thunder"
7. "Olde English 800"
8. "No Sleep ‘Till Brisbane"
9. "RIP Foghorn"
10. "Fuck the Yankees"
11. "15 Pieces of Flare (iTunes bonus track)"

18 Responses to “The Amity Affliction – Youngbloods”

  1. josh238

    a “review” generally means that you actually REVIEW the album; not spend three-fifths of the time just fapping over the band. write about the songs, not just about how much you want to suck Ahren’s cock.

  2. maxw

    Cheers josh238 for the advice, hopefully in future my reviews are more to your liking. If they’re not though, perhaps you could just not read them! Or even better, maybe write and read some of your own since you’re the expert. Keep winning those keyboard wars pal.

  3. jackp

    Great review mate. I too am a little cynical when it comes to popular music but think this band justifies the hype to a large extent.

  4. Anonymous

    good review. I’m not usually into this type of music, but this album is stellar. Getting more airtime than the new PWD album in my stereo

  5. killpeterson

    Im tipping if you were reviewing this band and they were from the US it wouldn’t even get a 50,saying”generic, heard it all before, preditable..etc” so many other ORIGINAL Aus bands deserve the the praise/hype everyone gives these guys….end of the day though-good luck to em

  6. KYS-Josh

    @killpeterson (6): lol. Is your band one of the deserving? (I’m assuming you are in a band, as only people in bands say shit like that).

    Album has 3 absolutely great songs. The rest fall into the generic/boring category for me. Production is sick. Machine is the man.

  7. killpeterson

    @KYS-Josh (7): No my band is not one of the deserving-im currently not even in one. I have been in many bands before & I will def give props to them for selling out as big of shows as they have on their own. My thoughts on the album are just the same as yours-2 or 3 good songs and not much else which doesnt warrant any hype or praise

  8. josh238

    @maxw (3): thanks mate. i DO take my own advice; I write for Oyster Magazine. A review isnt just a re-worded press release/myspace bio with a few cursory lines added at the end. Not until at least three-quarters of the way through this, do you actually mention a single song on the album.

  9. KYS-Josh

    @killpeterson (9): Well I haven’t heard anything better in this genre for a long long time. US or AUS. Even parkway’s was a couple awesome songs with a lot of filler. Hardcore/Screamo??/Metal just isn’t a genre that gets me excited any more, but “I hate Hartley” was a song that definitely did that.

  10. maxw

    @josh238(10) You’ll be happy to know that I didn’t look at a single press release in the writing of this review. I think that this is a solid album and wanted to justify my praise in generalist terms before doing a song-by-song analysis. Believe it or not I don’t tend to read women’s fashion magazines, but if I ever come across a copy I’ll be sure to check out your reviews (although I’m not sure I care how the new Ting Tings album is). As I said, if you don’t like my writing then just don’t read it. Simple.

  11. stantos

    Album is ok, new PWD is definitely better however. Agreed that ‘I Hate Heartly’ is an amazing song, but after that the album tends to become same ol kind of stuff.

    Just a quick point – Is there a conflict of interest when a reviewer writes a piece on a band signed by Boomtown of which is a part of the Staple Group that KYS resides under?

  12. goldenphoenix1

    i know this may sound stupid, but to avoid confusion maybe you should put the amount of listens put into the album, into the reviews section. personally ive gone through the album roughly about 12-15 times and its not a 95.

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