The energy of youth, and the maturity of experience pays off
Over the course of their three releases to date (2005’s self-titled E.P., 2007’s High Hopes E.P. and 2008’s full-length effort Severed Ties), Brisbane based post-hardcore outfit The Amity Affliction have grown in leaps and bounds both as song writers and musicians. And not surprisingly, the band’s position within the Australian hardcore scene has also grown, with the group playing to sell-out crowds throughout their extensive criss-crossing tours around the country in 2008 and 2009.
So based on this average, its fair to assume that The Amity Affliction’s long awaited sophomore effort Youngbloods will see the band step things up a notch, and help elevate them to the top the Australia’s hardcore hierarchy. And sure enough, the odds well and truly fall into The Amity Affliction’s favour, with Youngbloods heralding the band’s finest recorded effort to date.
The most immediate thing that stands out about The Amity Affliction’s new release is its huge open sound. Recorded in the U.S. (New Jersey) under the watchful eye of producer/mixer Machine (whose previous credits include Lamb of God, Clutch, Every Time I Die and Lostprophets), Youngbloods stands head and shoulders above the quality present on previous efforts, and that works in the band’s favour in a huge way.
The next thing that’s evident is just how much the band has grown in the two years since Severed Ties. The music is far more textured and detailed than ever, while on the vocal side of things, bassist Ahren Stringer’s clean vocals have improved significantly, and no longer stand out as the weak link in the band’s overall sound.
Direction wise, The Amity Affliction haven’t radically changed their song writing style that much, but more refined it, with the catchy hooks of the choruses standing out more than ever, and the heavier parts sounding just that much more brutal.
In terms of stand out tracks, the album barely has a weak song amongst the ten that have made the album. But those worthy of singling out include the album’s opener/lead single I Hate Hartley (which features U.S. pop-punk act Four Year Strong helping out on gang vocals), the infectious keyboard dominated Anchors, the savage bite of Fire or Knife, the anthem-like title track Youngbloods, the catchy and decidedly more metallic sounding No Sleep ‘Till Brisbane and the closing effort Fuck the Yankees (which features guest vocalist Helmet Roberts of Remnants/The Daylight Curse).
Youngbloods isn’t in any way innovative, groundbreaking or original from what’s already been dished out a thousand times before within the post-hardcore scene. But I’ll be damned if this isn’t one of the most enjoyable and addictive albums I’ve heard in a very long time!
Expect to see The Amity Affliction hit the road for some time in support of this album, and once the album starts to make its way to fans, you can expect every one of those fans to swell in numbers with every tour.
(Boomtown Records/Shock Entertainment)