Not Without My Ghosts

Pure Noise
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Show Me Your God
02. It's Hell Down Here
03. Fade Away
04. Death And The Setting Sun (feat. Andrew Neufeld)
05. I See Dead People (feat. Louie Knuxx)
06. When It Rains It Pours (feat. Landon Tewers)
07. The Big Sleep
08. Close To Me
09. God Voice
10. Not Without My Ghosts (feat. Phem)

THE AMITY AFFLICTION may seem like a new name, but they've been an entity since 2008's "Severed Ties". The Australia post-hardcore band connect with fans through their deeply personal songs, which cover the gamut in subject matter from anxiety to substance abuse to depression.

Bassist and clean vocalist Ahren Stringer formed THE AMITY AFFLICTION when he was in high school, so, in a sense, he's lived out his life through this music. Having matured, their music still reflects youthful struggles and self-reflection, which is apparent on their new album, "Not Without My Ghosts".

"Show Me Your God" kicks off with scream-filled fury, as explosive vocals compete with the song's thick guitar work. The song's short chorus features Stringer's fine, clean vocals, but this track is mainly bark and bite, with Joel Birch showing his stuff. Early single "It's Hell Down Here" follows, with more kinetic riffing and heavy screaming.

Those who prefer songs that showcase THE AMITY AFFLICTION's melodic side, with clean singing and pop-fueled choruses, might be a bit let down, as most of the tracks on "Not Without My Ghosts" are heavy on screaming. But, if blackened post-hardcore is your taste, the album has lots to offer.

"Fade Away" does anything but that. The song has some softer passages, but for the most part, it treats listeners to an unforgiving onslaught of screaming with few clean vocals. Continuing on, highlights on the album include "Death And The Setting Sun" featuring Andrew Neufeld and "God Voice". The former offers vibrant sonic textures with colorful synths and epic guitars, while "God Voice" features a soaring, melodic chorus, which feels like a breath of fresh air on this heavy record.

The album's title track, featuring Phem, closes out the set and offers a much-needed softer track. Here, Stringer flexes his vocal chops, as he sings with heavy reverb against angelic synths and soft keys. This is no doubt one of the strongest and most unique songs on the album.

With metalcore screams, brutal breakdowns and a few glimmers of clean singing, "Not Without My Ghosts" is an apt next step for THE AMITY AFFLICTION. Bands that form in high school have a lot of growth to do, and THE AMITY AFFLICTION seem to be following that instinct and evolving, without abandoning the sound for which they're known. It will be interesting to hear what's ahead for this ever-blossoming band.

Author: Anne Erickson
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