The Amity Affliction continues its steady release pattern, an album every few years since 2008, with a smashing new record titled Not Without My Ghosts. The metalcore band hold no punches. The Amity Affliction blitzes at breakneck speed while embracing a contemporary cultural message touching on suicide, gun violence, mental illness, and a number of nerve-touching topics.
Stylistically, this sounds like typical The Amity Affliction. The musicianship, versatile vocals, interesting pacing, and a sound that bridges gaps between the emo, metal and rock scenes are all there. But the wherewithal of the band and knack for prodding the sensitivities of American culture is a welcome addition.
“Show Me Your God” has been out since September. After a light piano opener, the track switches into overdrive, providing an emotional examination of America’s gun culture. “It’s Hell Down Here” is uber aggressive and potentially a reflection of singer Joe Birch’s battle with bi-polar disorder.
“Fade Away” mixes paces with a soaring, stadium-rock chorus. The anthemic background guitar riff in the track’s later half is one of the album’s many high points. “Death And The Setting Sun” features Canadian hardcore vocalist Andrew Neufeld. His addition makes for a fun UK-Canadian scene blend.
“I See Dead People” features the late New Zealand hip-hop artist Louie Knuxx. The fist-slamming song is an album standout, providing a juxtaposition between it’s aggressive style and the somber feelings up-to-date listeners will feel about the Knuxx’s tragic passing. “When It Rains It Pours” features the thick vocals of former Before Their Eyes member Landon Tewers. The track’s chorus is excellent, commercial rock.
“The Big Sleep” provies an emotional cry that plays like an intuitive conversation, constantly building on itself until it’s massive crescendo in the final chorus. “Close To Me” is one of the poppier songs on the album, with the touching chorus “I am so lost and lonely/ Always destroying what I love.” Theocratic symbolism is ever-present in “God Love” with a vibe that is, at times, dark and heavenly. “Not Without My Ghosts” is a toned down and touching way to close the album, featuring alternative artist Phem.
From the writing to the musicianship, Not Without My Ghosts is an excellent album fitting of Amity Affliction’s legendary canon. The band presses on as a needed voice in the scene.