The Amity Affliction
About The Amity Affliction
Of all the metalcore groups to blow up in the 2010s, The Amity Affliction may be the most introspective. The genre boasts no shortage of bands dealing with all the gnarly emotions roiling inside of them. But whereas most of their peers approach the genre as a form of catharsis, The Amity Affliction, formed in the city of Gympie in Australia, instead use it as a mode of self-examination. This trademark quality emerged big-time on 2012’s Chasing Ghosts and its 2014 follow-up Let the Ocean Take Me, a pair of breakout albums that, in addition to pushing the group to the top of the Australian charts, built a fanbase outside their native country. On both records, lead singer Joel Birch (who has been vocal about his struggles with mental illness) isn’t concerned with exorcising his demons so much as bravely sitting with them. The result are soul-searching reflections on depression and suicide, loss, and grief. It helps that The Amity Affliction know how to write songs that are as catchy as they are heavy, a skill they’ve honed ever since forming in 2003, when they were still in high school. The 2019 hit ballad “Drag the Lake” deftly balances clean emo vocals and shimmering piano with gut-twisting screams and mountainous guitars. Just as excellent is 2020’s super-intense “Soak Me in Bleach,” a song whose massive sing-along chorus and thrilling shifts between high-decibel torment and melancholic synth textures notched The Amity Affliction a mainstream-rock hit in the United States. None of their hooks are confections: When they employ loud-soft dynamics or expertly blend together tender pop melodies with riff-fueled aggression, it’s to further heighten the expressiveness of their music. For The Amity Affliction, it’s always about the emotion.