When a band has grown in popularity as much as The Amity Affliction has, it is no surprise that the masses were patiently awaiting the release of their newest album. Spoiler alert: it’s so different but so so good. When listening to this album, it may startle the listeners upon their first listen, for it is apparent that the band is taking a new direction with this album while still keeping their constant fan base attached with dashes of familiarity thrown in here and there. The first part of this album to address is the clear variety of musical genre influence that is heard throughout every track on the record. From the very first second of the album, the band gives the listeners an album that rides a fine line between the genres: metal, alternative, rock, and hardcore. This is very interesting because some selections may make the audience lean one way or another when looking at this album as a whole; however, since the band is giving their audience a new modern, electronic fill, their sound alters slightly. From here, it is no surprise that the band brings back traditional musical techniques that hold true to the “The Amity Affliction” brand. These techniques include: instrumental depth with a focus on contrast to give the audience large and small moments; also, the band lives in the land of frequent vocal isolation and strategic silence to break up certain musical phrases. With these tactics in mind, the audience still feels as if they are receiving a true album by a band that they’ve come accustomed to their original sound. On top of this, the band decides to utilize the act of minimalism throughout, which only enhances the new genre influences that are major for this record. With this minimalistic approach, it allows for the instrumentalists to truly dig into their parts when it’s time for them to shine. This is seen through the various instrumental features with specific instrumental solos that change the aura of the selection in which they fall. Overall, I would give this album a 4 out of 5 stars. I landed on this score because after one gets past the difference in musical approach, it is apparent that the band is giving listeners an album that truthfully bops while still hitting the feelings heavy with their overly relatable lyrical content.
“Beltsville Blues”, “Feels like I’m Dying” and “Holier than Heaven”
When diving into this album it becomes obvious that these tracks stick out among the rest for several reasons. The first reason that these tracks become a staple for the album is because they all hold a core root in them that brings the audience back to the band’s previous sound; however, they each hold a new technique that helps their new sound shine through. Additionally, these selections give the audience such a good listen that one can’t not enjoy them.
From the first look at the album artwork, it is easily said that it puzzles the viewer, for when looking at it, one sees the sky with a blackened tint consuming the natural, bright blue color. Additional to this, the cover includes a single heart balloon, but instead of the heart being the traditional (red) color, this one reads black, which mixes with the gloomy imagery and the title of the album, which just happens to be “Misery”. This original appearance will likely be inviting for some, for most of the album covers that The Amity Affliction presents to the world gives off this underlying depressive motive to it; thus, the viewer would expect a traditional Amity record. When connecting the artwork to the music the biggest correlation falls in the art of minimalism. As talked about in the general review, the band plays heavily with minimalism to allow for extreme contrast throughout the album. The album cover, like the music on the album, is extremely simple, which only enhances the simplistic approach to the music on the album, for it makes the album seem consistent from front to back. Overall, this album artwork is strong for the music that is being presented on it because a lot of the music resonates in a bleak light, which would be best enhanced if the affiliated resources (the album cover) matched it aesthetically.
*”Misery” was released on August 24, 2018 through Roadrunner Records.