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You know that band. That band that kicks around your home town but never really has their shit together. That’s The Amity Affliction for me. The six-piece have been around the Brisbane traps for six years now, constantly touring the Australian countryside and putting out, at best, middle-of-the-road post-hardcore offerings. Yet it only took one listen of their latest album, Youngbloods, to blow all my preconceived notions out of the water.
This turnaround may have something to do with the fact that the gents took themselves to New York to record under the watchful eye of Machine (Lamb of God) at his studio, The Machine Shop. It’s evident that his depth of experience and wealth of knowledge expanded both the technical and song writing capability of each member of the band.
Amity doesn’t come without their critics. Perhaps justifiably. Their 2008 release, Severed Ties, was highly successful however it contained a handful of standouts sandwiched between too many average tracks. In this instance, Boomtown Records took a punt and injected what would have been a substantial amount of cash into the production; the final result proves it was a worthwhile investment.
In Youngbloods, the band has come into their own, releasing an album that is a perfect example of band progression. Drums in particular, are more refined and well executed than in any of their previous works.
Vocally, Joel Birch’s screaming sounds both less forced and tiresome while Ahren Stringers clean vocals are often subjected to flashy electronic effects which aren’t overdone, rather the deviation from his melodic submissions become potent inclusions. His duties on the bass guitar appear to be put on the backburner, providing nothing more than supporting rhythm to the tempo.
The heightened inclusion of electronic elements, evident in Anchors and Dr. Thunder , is savvy and intensifies the layering of their post-hardcore soundscape. Many songs titles have no reference to content. Lyrical connotation is more personal with a positive outlook, something missing from Amity’s previous endeavors.
Standouts on the album are completely subjective. For mine, most come from the latter half of the recording with Old English 800, Anchors, No Sleep Till Brisbane and Fuck The Yankees being the most noteworthy due to their well structured guitar riffs and lyrical substance.
In keeping with an ever-growing trend, the record runs over 10 tracks. Youngbloods provide evidence that the Brisbane boys are finally growing up. Overall, the album stays strictly pinned within post-hardcore boundaries and musically the band leaves themselves with room for future expansion. While not a landscape-changing musical masterpiece, Amity has risen above their contemporaries with this offering. Head on over to their MySpace page to preview a couple of tracks from Youngbloods.