February 17, 2020 The Amity Affliction – Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them (Album Review)
Here to get personal and share an all too true sentiment, cynical though it may be, The Amity Affliction is poised to drop Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them on Friday, February 21st, 2020, via Pure Noise Records.
A band that has reached the pinnacle of energy transfer in their live shows, The Amity Affliction might hail from Down Unda but they are beloved across the globe. The Metalcore outfit formed in Queensland in 2003 and have gone on to deliver six epic LPs across the past nearly two decades of their career, including 2012’s ARIA gold-certified Chasing Ghosts, 2016’s impressive Billboard showing This Could Be Heartbreak, and 2018’s critical success, Misery. Warped Tour veterans and headliners who sell-out venues across the world, the quartet have toured alongside nearly all of their fellow genre heavyweights.
Known for their soul-baring lyrics, The Amity Affliction – Vocalist Joel Birch, Vocalist/Bassist Ahren Stringer, Guitarist Dan Brown, and Drummer Joe Longobardi – has touched the hearts of many—and will continue to do just that with their seventh full-length, Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them. Working once again with Producer Matt Squire (Panic! At The Disco, Ariana Grande), the 11-song disc sees the band returning to their heavier roots, pushing aside much of the electronic experimentation of their 2018 release.
An outpouring of emotional struggle, Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them once again sees the Aussies raising the middle finger to death and defeat, creating an album that is, above all else, real. “I want everyone to know there are others out there whose lives look amazing, but they’re still struggling,” notes Birch. “Mental illness is uncompromising and indiscriminate. You can’t help it! It’s not your fault! That’s it.”
If the title Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them seems cynical, well, prepare for an album that is full of angst and despair for a world that is tearing many of us apart piece by piece. It opens to the just under two minute introductory offering “Coffin.” “There is a coffin in your heart where our dreams go to die,” Birch howls in the opening lines of a track that pairs the band’s epic, melodic layers with tormented vocals. The perfect introduction to the album, it is a haunting jab at those who revel in Schadenfreude, one that paves the way for proper first track “All My Friends Are Dead,” an incendiary detonation that releases its pent up rage to clear the path for truly magnificent choruses that spotlight Stringer’s lofty melodies. The layers of sound are massive, explosive, and you cannot deny that this is The Amity Affliction in one of their finest moments.
Thematically, Everyone Loves You… covers the loneliness and despair that accompany so many mental health issues. This is obvious in tracks like “Soak Me In Bleach,” whose beautiful gloom strikes right at the heart of its listeners with poetic delicacy, crafting a lament that is the very definition of an earworm. In fact, despite the beauty all around us, there’s an overwhelming quality to life too and that’s presented in “All I Do Is Sink,” again pairing Birch’s sorrowful confessions with Stringer’s melodic refrains. It’s a juxtaposition that The Amity Affliction mastered long ago: the emotional howls and the melody, the torment and the hope.
The bitter, bass-fueled crunch of “Baltimore Rain” bears the near-titular line “they all love you once you leave them.” With its arena-worthy guitar solo from Brown, the depressive anthem will have the downtrodden singing along upon first listen. Clearly there’s a theme happening throughout, and “Aloneliness” fits in perfectly. A catchy, Pop Rock-infused ode that sounds like hope in a bottle, here Birch discusses being bipolar and his near-constant internal struggle.
“I’m not afraid to die,” the candid vocalist howls in agony on “Forever.” An admission that we can’t live forever, Stringer’s angelic melodies pair hauntingly with his bandmate’s harsher proclamations to promise that love will never die. Next, a sing-along for those that feel as though they’ve already lost at life, “Just Like Me” promises that The Amity Affliction carries a cross for those struggling with self-worth. Continuing this theme but taking a much heavier approach, “Born To Lose” slams as the band delve into a frustrated banger that points the finger (and karma!) at trolls who deconstruct and gripe about their every move.
Cleansed, they move into the delicious layers that create the undeniable wall of sound that encompasses “Fever Dream,” a heavy-hearted waking dream bathed in another killer guitar solo from Brown. In the end, they go out with ferocity on the deep “Catatonia,” a track that will make your speakers tremble. Guaranteed to get the die-hards going wild in the pit, here Birch, inspired by the suicide of a friend, remarks on the search for happiness. The things we know that we should be versus the reality of our human existence, “Catatonia” ends the album on a powerful note, one that is apt to resonate with listeners long after it fades into silence.
On Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them, The Amity Affliction have taken the best elements from their oeuvre of material and crafted a masterpiece that is undeniable in its hauntingly honest exploration of the darkness that dwells within many of us. Blending their last three albums to create a sound that is more 2014’s Let the Ocean Take Me and 2016’s This Could Be Heartbreak than 2018’s Misery, the anxiety, depression and therapeutic outlet embedded in The Amity Affliction’s music means that this is not a joyous record, but it’s a relatable, honest, and forthright collection of tracks that hammer a nail into the heart of the matter.
For those that have never struggled to put one foot in front of the other, perhaps Birch’s lyrics will fail to strike a chord. But for the heavy-hearted, Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them is a hauntingly infectious catharsis put to a harder-edged sound that feels more “Death’s Hand” than “D.I.E.” In love, Cryptic Rock gives The Amity Affliction’s latest 5 of 5 stars.