The difficult thing about reviewing modern mainstream metalcore bands is that it’s not really good journalism to write “same as all the rest” and bugger off down to the pub. So, here is a critical analysis of ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’, the fifth album from Australian cringe-core pedlars The Amity Affliction, that should just about be long enough to satisfy the DEAD PRESS! editor’s minimum word count.
Musically, it’s so safe and sterile that it might as well be an episode of The Great British Bake Off. Yes, it has breakdowns and screamed vocals, but they’re so generic and predictable that they lack any of the edge that heavy music, by definition, should have. It’s extremely well-produced; the drums in particular sound massive and the guitars are thick and hard-hitting, but at no point does anything happen that you couldn’t have foreseen if you’ve ever heard this style of music before. No amount of quality production can make this record stand out from The Amity Affliction‘s metalcore-by-numbers peers.
The choruses are catchy, particularly on both the title track and the record’s lead single ‘I Bring The Weather With Me’. There’s no way you’ll leave your first listen without a pop hook or two lodged in your cerebellum, but the clean vocals are auto-tuned to the hilt and are extremely sickly and false-sounding. Perhaps if they were a bit grimier it might distract from how bad the lyrics are.
‘This Could Be Heartbreak’ is full of so many greetings card level clichés that snippets from it could end up as posts on your (slightly vulgar) gran’s Facebook wall. The chorus on the intelligently titled ‘All Fucked Up’ is literally “The truth is that I’m all fucked up like you / Yeah, I’m all fucked up it’s true.” Come on lads, you’re in your thirties.
This truly is lowest common denominator angst; the kind of non-specific moaning that literally anyone who has ever experienced any negative emotion could relate to, at least in part. The Amity Affliction‘s target market, it seems, is the demographic of middle-class teens with stable families and no real problems who just want to feel like they’re rebelling against something.
The only saving grace here is that this album is so non-threatening that it’ll probably help a new generation of kids ease themselves into alternative music. Everyone in the scene has a band that they used to like that they listen to now and full-body shudder in total shame, and The Amity Affliction will be that band for today’s kids in about ten years or so.
Points for production and for providing a new bottom rung for young people to get their foot on. Otherwise, this output is absolute trash. Run for your life.
Written by Liam Knowles (@wearefixtures)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.