Some years ago, a metal blog published a tongue-in-cheek chart mapping age vs coolness, concluding musicians get cooler until their mid-20s, then it’s a rapid decline. By the time the theoretical musician reaches the age at which The Amity Affliction currently find themselves, the ‘cool’ axis has dropped below zero. And not in the good way.
All of which is to say that when a band operate in a distinctive scene – in this case, melodic metalcore – there comes a point where the audience outgrow the genre, and bands survive by being the best at it, or by being something else entirely. Now on album six, Amity have cocked an eye at the career trajectory of Bring Me The Horizon and opted for the latter. To evoke the title of an album by Limp Bizkit – a band who quickly rose to the top of a genre, and then almost disappeared – results may vary.
It’d be unfair to claim Misery as some great departure from what we’ve come to expect from Amity – an impressive scream/clean blend courtesy of Joel Birch and Ahren Stringer, and hooks wrapped around sharp guitars – but it would also be disingenuous to ignore its cynical attempts to incorporate ‘current’ elements. The litmus test of whether this is for you comes 59 seconds into Feels Like I’m Dying, when a screamed, titular vocal hook meets a squelchy synthesiser riff pilfered from Diplo’s recycling bin. While Misery has its highlights – opener Ivy (Doomsday) is huge – Amity decided some time ago what it is that they want to be. And when you’re on a pitch this crowded, you’ve got to play a lot better than this to stand out.