The Amity Affliction – Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them
Released: February 21st, 2020
Joel Birch // Vocals
Ahren Stringer // Bass & Vocals
Dan Brown // Guitar
Joe Longobardi // Drums
Less than two years after The Amity Affliction released their genre-crossing, eyebrow-raising, yet catchy as all fuckery album Misery, they’re back with their next offering and by god, they’ve upped the ante with this one and made a triumphant return to their heavier roots which fans who date all the way back to the Severed Ties/Youngbloods era will absolutely be shitting themselves over once they finally lay their ears on the band’s next collection of tracks.
The album kicks off with the pleasantly surprising ‘Coffin‘ which fans who saw the band on their recent regional tour (our Sunny Coast coverage here) will remember was the show’s opening track which guides you in with frontman Joel Birch‘s rusty growls, while gloomy background instrumentals from the band set the tone of what’s to come. It may only be an album opener, but ‘Coffin‘ packed more of a punch in terms of heaviness than anything from the band’s previous couple of albums and eases the listener in, guiding them on a slow and steady rise all the way to Joel’s brutally heavy screams of “ALL MY FRIENDS ARE DEADDDDDD”, Amity’s mindblowing first single from the album which still, after all of this time hasn’t grown old or tiring with each listen. Fans have grown to realise that the combination of Joel’s screams and Ahren Stringer‘s cleans work so well together bouncing off one another and you can’t have a song from these guys without the two together.
In a live setting, you can momentarily catch your breath during the song’s chorus before thrusting your body back into the action when Dan Brown‘s riffs and drummer Joe Longobardi‘s blast beats come firing through the speakers. It’s a fantastic release from the band, but is it the best track from the album? Read on to find out! Up next we’ve got the catchy sing-a-long including anthem ‘Soak Me In Bleach‘ which, since release, has had fans and sometimes listeners bobbing their heads along chiming in with the repetitive lyrics of “soak me, soak me, soak me in bleachhhh”. Don’t lie, you’ve been singing along too, I know it, your neighbours know it and there’s no hiding it now. Embrace the fact that this band know how to pen catchy lyrics that’ll be stuck in your heads hours after listening to their songs. ‘All I Do Is Sink‘ keeps the momentum of SMIB going with Dan Brown‘s riffage being a focal point under Joel’s clear AF screams. The pre-chorus, upon first listen is a bit iffy (there’s finger clicking under Ahren’s cleans) but by the second time it hits, it’ll have you clicking along, especially with that drop as he sings “ALLL I SEEM TO DO IS SINKKKKKKK”. Before writing this song off, give it a couple of listens because the alternating vocal performances towards the end really make this a stand out that’ll have you going back for more. ‘Baltimore Rain‘ uses the lyrics “smoke ’em if you got ’em” and I’m sorry but that’s an instant win in my eyes hahaha, however, besides that fact, the song is a bit more so on the repetitive side and just missing something additional from the chorus. There is a signature Dan Brown guitar solo towards the end which only just makes up for the above criticism and Joe Longobardi‘s drum beats hit you in the face like an out of control 15-year-old crowd killer at his first hardcore show. File this one under your new fav guilty pleasure track.
As for ‘Aloneliness‘, I’m going to say, this sounds like Amity’s attempt at a mainstream radio rock song (a US radio station, not the shit we have here in Australia) and you’re not going to believe this but Joel Birch is back again with his clean vocals and, despite sounding a little rusty at times, he actually pulls them off so well telling this story of preparing yourself for being alone. At times the song sounds a bit cluttered (with too much going on at once) but if you deconstruct it with each listen, there’s plenty going on that deserves your attention including a great instrumental arrangement, hard-hitting and thought-provoking lyrics that are just as catchy as they are hard to digest. It’s a sad song, almost hard-rock/balladesque if you will and here I am listening to it on repeat over and over again. Gonna call it now, this is probably the best song on the album, in my opinion. ‘Forever‘ sounds like it could have been a B-Side to Misery, there’s plenty of elements that made that album such a catchy and memorable listen including Ahren’s “ooohs” and high notes throughout the chorus, but production wise, it’s far more advanced. There’s screams, yells, sing-a-long sections and a love song vibe especially when the chorus goes “ooooh/we can’t live forever/ooooh/but our love will never die/hold me in your heart/be the light when it gets dark/oooooh/we can’t live foreverrrrr”. I didn’t rate it at first, but like my beard, it grew on me eventually. ‘Just Like Me‘ has Amity exploring new territory with whistling and the finger clicking from earlier making its return. It’s a daring feat, but does it pay off in the end? Sadly no. I tried to get into this but it’s too poppy for my liking and I kept picturing Justin Bieber circa 2015 belting out something that sounds like this (without the rock sound behind it). It’s definitely an attempt at something new, and I know I wrote off most of Misery upon first listen, but I don’t see this growing on me any time soon. ‘Born To Lose‘ is a tease. There I said it. When it begins you hear the heavy/synth/nu-metal sound and think it’s about to open up the gates of hell, but suddenly it stops and turns into a melodic offering instead, but, it’s a song that keeps you wanting more. When the chorus hits and Joel’s bellowing screams come through, you get what you wanted when the track first began. Ahren’s bass playing on this is kinda/sorta reminiscent of KoRn in some sections and there’s this eerie synth/guitar combo in the background that just makes the song sound so much better than it is. Talking about eerie, both vocalists have a harmonising section which totally caught me off guard. I had to go back and once I stopped laughing, I had to applaud them for its inclusion.
‘Fever Dream‘ brings back some of the background synth from Misery for this upbeat rock track which, in style, could be the sibling of ‘Holier Than Heaven‘ with anthemic chorus sections, splendid drum fills and another Dan Brown guitar solo. I can also see Amity using this song as their show closer at future gigs as there’s a section around Dan’s solo that’ll be perfect to let off those stage sparklers and confetti guns to really maximise the punch of the lyrics and instrumentals at that point. I’m also hearing similar vibes between this and ‘I Bring The Weather With Me‘ and ‘Set Me Free‘ so if you dug those two tracks, this’ll be right up your alley! Last but certainly not least is ‘Catatonia‘, the fast-paced, headbang inducing banger that popped up out of nowhere and sent metalcore fans into a frenzy. Ahren’s cleans are less produced which is exceptional as we know how good this guy’s voice can be without the help of computers and Joel’s growls are clean, crisp and on point. For those wondering if it was possible to release a heavy song with screams, thumping drum beats and a chorus complete with “ahh-ahhs”, then this is your answer. It’s got an easy-going breakdown towards the end and even features Stringer’s now-infamous screams he’s been popping out at live shows recently. While most bands tend to go for a more slower, balladesque offering to wrap up their albums, Amity have kept the heavy elements flowing throughout this album, all the way to the end where, as no surprise, it leaves you wanting more and more. To best explain this release to someone, it’s like the band have performed a Frankenstein operation on all of their previously released albums and used bits throughout their career to create a new offering that’ll no doubt have long term fans going “ohh that sounds like that album/era” or “ohhh they did that again, but better this time!” and have new fans taking it all in, ready to go through the back catalogues to discover the roots of The Amity Affliction.
As someone who has actively followed this band from the early years (dating back to the Severed Ties era), the progression they’ve had during that time has been like a huge tsunami of emotions. I’ve learned to be open to change, to the experimenting, to the band doing the same thing over and over again and copping criticisms for it, through to them changing their style completely and bringing in a whole new crowd of followers on the bandwagon. But the thing that keeps this band moving forward is their drive and determination to showcase the talent they have behind them. Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them is not only an incredible album, but it serves as a massive middle finger to the doubters who relentlessly slam the band for trying new things. To me, it proves they’ve still got the ability to release banging heavy tracks that’ll no doubt please even the biggest critics, but also shows what they’ve learned about their songwriting and themselves over the years they’ve been making music together.
If you love Amity’s heavier tunes from way back in the day OR if you only jumped on the bandwagon with Misery, there’s bound to be something on this album that’ll not only catch your attention, but draw you in closer than ever before. Well done to The Amity Affliction for this release, it’s up there with some of their best work to date!
The Amity Affliction – Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them tracklisting
2. All My Friends Are Dead
3. Soak Me In Bleach
4. All I Do Is Sink
5. Baltimore Rain
8. Just Like Me
9. Born To Lose
10. Fever Dream
Revisit guitarist Dan Brown chatting all things Amity in our Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall podcast right here