“I wanted to call it Misery before we’d given any of the songs a name,” Amity Affliction singer Joel Birch tells Apple Music. “It was what I was feeling; it was what I was writing.” The making of the Queensland metal band’s sixth album was fraught, which you can hear in the results. Having essayed his battles with depression and suicidal thoughts on each of the band’s previous albums, Birch expounds on the subject in songs such as “Black Cloud” (sample lyric: “The Black Dog will not let me be”), clearly influenced by the severe depressive episode he suffered when the group entered the studio in Toronto. “I was suicidal again and had a massive meltdown, and was semi-catatonic for three to five hours,” he reveals. He has since been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, for which he is now getting treatment. “The whole album deals with that,” he says. “There’s not really any grey area there. It’s like, ‘Kill me!’ ‘I feel good!’ ‘Kill me!’” The uncomfortable mood carries over to a change in the band’s sound. “We wanted to reduce the screaming and make darker music,” Birch says. “We wanted to push the electronic elements to the front.” Their metallic crunch and hardcore breakdowns are still in play, but electro-funk brightens up “Burn Alive”, vocoders enhance the title track and the synth flourishes of “Feels Like I’m Dying” prove they have outgrown the metalcore tag. There is not a lot of catharsis or relief to be found on the album, which Birch has barely been able to bring himself to listen to from front to back. Wrenching closing track “The Gifthorse” is dedicated to a friend of Birch’s who died by suicide earlier this year, a tragedy he is still struggling to reconcile. “It’s sort of a kick in the teeth emotionally,” he says. “But I think that’s the sign of something good, something honest.”

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