I hadn’t received a release from Boomtown in ages. I gathered they were pissed over the review I gave of the Copeland album they released, but alas, here on my desk is the newie from Brisbane’s own The Amity Affliction. As soon as I saw this I knew what I was gonna get: Screamo, Emo or both. Well, funny that, I was right. Geez, I am quite the psychic these days! ANYWAY, I plonked the disc into the player and started it up. Within seconds the pro-tools laden barrage of metal jumped out at me with heavy riffs and screaming vocals interspersed with melodic harmonies and guitar licks. I was so expecting to throw this at the wall and think “meh, rubbish” but you know what, it grew on me. As the disc went from track to track, I enjoyed it more and more. Which is weird for me cos I so don’t usually listen to these sorts of bands… ok, that’s a lie, I have been caught listening to the likes of Killswitch Engage. Actually, to be honest, I own all their albums but that’s besides the point. Granted, this album isn’t gonna make me grow a crap fringe, wear a grey hoodie and get sleeve tattoos with Vegan done across my neck any time soon but I will happily spin this album quite a few times in the coming weeks. Hell, I span it like 5 times today.

In the album’s title track, I thought I heard vocalist Joel Birch scream out “Fuck the ravers!” and I was like “hell yeah, screw those fluorescent clothed glowstick waving wankers!” but I was wrong… he says “fuck the reaper”. I dunno why he says that, Blue Oyster Cult made it perfectly clear that you don’t need to fear the poor guy so I dunno what beef these guys have with him. I think the Reaper is pretty cool. Remember that episode of The Young Ones where they show the 4 horsemen talkin’ about stuff and one of them says “Travel Scrabble, Death?” and they throw the Travel Scrabble at him and he falls off the horse? Always cracks me up. ANYWAY, the other dude who sings all the high vocals sounds like Mark Hoppus from Blink-182. Yeah, really. I was expecting him to bust out lyrics to Dammit or Josie each time his turn to sing came on. And if you are reading along with the lyrics book, you know exactly when he is gonna sing too cos all his lines are written in brackets. For example, “I hate you and screaming makes my throat hurt! (my tatts are new and in Hot Topic I lurk!) There is no god you fucking fuck! (well I guess this is growing up!)” Know what I mean? So when you read along with the lyrics, you’ll have no troubles sharing vocal duties with your mates. That’s quite innovative. And the booklet looks pretty cool too. It’s printed on some rough paper and has arty photos and stuff; my favourite being the chick in the skateboard helmet. Why? I dunno, cos it’s better than the others?

The production values on this are as slick as you can get and the big beefy sound I am sure was a product of recording in New Jersey (home of Bon Jovi… hell yes!) and being produced by this dude named Machine (I’m not making this up, he really does credit himself as Machine). He did albums for Every Time I Die, Lamb Of God and the band, Four Year Strong… which says it all really… cos, you see, when I was on tour with Simon Chainsaw, Nasty Sammy (the lead guitarist) played Four Year Strong’s album in the tour van like 5000 times in-between spurts of Paramore… so I am now quite familiar with them and the signature sound that Machine brings to his recordings. The only thing that irks me here, and this is just me being a super tech geek, but the use of pro-tools is so obvious. Now, to a kid who digs this band and more than likely wears his girlfriend’s jeans half hanging off his ass whilst drinking coffees at Gloria Jeans, he won’t give a shit. But to an uber purist geek who loves analogue recording, I’m sure they’ll be quick to dismiss this. But hey, that’s just a preference thing and doesn’t really hold any weight these days cos it’s only rock n roll that should always be recorded analogue anyway.

Youngbloods is 10 tracks of melodious anger and positivity. And bust this, I even liked it. Yeah, true story. I can dig a good riff and good song structures and this album, thankfully, has both… but I will admit that if this album was screaming the whole way through and those melodic verses were absent, I would have been bored shitless. I just don’t dig being screamed at for the length of an album. I dated this girl once and she had this annoying habit of screaming at me all fuckin’ day for no reason except, I guess, out of sheer boredom, so when I hear music, I like to be serenaded with an awesomeness of riffs, solos and vocalisin’. The Amity Affliction are THE band with the kids right now and I can see why. They have it all. Fans of Parkway Drive and Killswitch Engage are gonna be all over this. Guarenteed to be heard over the speakers when shopping for lip rings in Off Ya Tree or Dangerfield.

The Amity Affliction on Myspace

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