Artist: The Amity Affliction
Album: Chasing Ghosts
Genre: Post Hardcore
Label: Roadrunner Records
Simply put, the first few minutes of listening to Sleeping Sickness by The Amity Affliction album feels a lot like stumbling into a family reunion while afflicted with amnesia. At first you feel like everything is new to you, but in due time, things become increasingly familiar. You realize that the section of a song that you heard and thought was the sickest thing in the world was practically identical to the same part that you’ve heard repeatedly over the years.
Not to say that it’s essentially a bad thing, it just makes for a less surprising experience: What usually comes of this is the talent of learning to appreciate the little things.
Before I go into the positives, I’m going to start with the negatives: The electronic snippets used throughout the songs border somewhere between redundant and excessive. I genuinely thought that the trend of random song titles died out years ago [see: The Devil Wears Prada and Attack Attack!‘s discographies]. There are more than a few instances where Ahren Stringer’s auto-tuned start to become boring. It’s not that the vox are bad in any way, it’s just that it doesn’t feel organic or even original for the matter [“Life Underground”].
Now that that’s out of the way, I want to say that the band has great skill at using melody to convey genuine emotion. One of the best examples of that would be the strings that are used at the beginning and end of the album’s fourth song, “Open Letter” really gives the listener an idea of what’s to be felt. “Pabst Blue Ribbon on Ice” has a really captivating chorus that breaks up a lot of the built up tension
Despite the album’s misleading cover, Joel Birch’s lyrics are pretty inspiring. “Flowerbomb” could be seen as a battle cry to face problems with open arms. It’s easy to mistake the blatant nihilism in “I Heart H.C.”, but further along into the very same song, listeners could grow to identify with some of the album’s biggest topics: self-realization and hopefulness.
At the very least, Chasing Ghosts is most certainly a post-hardcore album that you could appreciate at some level. There is some undeniable musicianship backing this album that could captivate thousands of listeners, if given the proper chance. Beyond that, it’s all a matter of how much of an attention span you have.
Review written by Adrian Garza