Album Review

The Amity Afflication - Let the Ocean Take Me

Released: June 10, 2014
Steve Allanson
Let the Ocean Take Me is driven hard by the alluring and chaotic musicianship of the band and further driving home the feeling of despair. Imagine yourself in a dark and desolate world, and no one is there to hear you scream; no one is there to help you; you're alone and you want nothing more than for everything to just end. This is the image that Amity Affliction vocalist Joel Birch paints vividly with his vast collection of nautical metaphors and intense lyrics, accompanied by his gut wrenching screams.

The album opens with its first single, “Pittsburgh” which is by far the strongest song this Australian band has ever released both musically and lyrically. Eerie melodies and turbulent guitar chugs drive home the mood and theme of the song. Birch's lyrics will have you feeling his inner anguish as you find yourself singing along, “It's like there's cancer in my blood / It's like there's water in my lungs / And I can't take another step / Please tell me I am not undone / It's like there's fire in my skin / And I'm drowning from within / I can't take another breath / Please tell me I am not undone.”

“Don't Lean On Me” tells the story of the struggles of two broken people on the edge trying to hold each other up. Through simplistic but effective lyrics, Birch illustrates through beautiful words the loneliness he feels inside. The music twists the dark theme, with a more upbeat sound. “Don't lean on me / 'Cause I am falling / please don't fall with me.”

“This Goddamn life is our disease / But we can't always fucking win / We can always turn the tide / We can all stand up and sing 'Never Alone”. The fifth track on the album continues the same mood as the rest but with a more positive twist as Birch tries to console a friend and remind him that he isn't alone in his struggles. The music accompanies the indelible melodies of Birch's lyrics, with wicked guitar riffs and pulsating drums beats.

One of the best tracks on the album, “Death's Hand” offers tumultuous guitar chugs and lead riffs, fast and chaotic drum beats, and dark and powerful lyrics. The song is an ode to friendship; true friends who stick by your side through the darkest of hours. “'Cause I've got more life left to live (got some promises to keep) / To all the hearts that carry me / (up from the ocean deep) / I've had to do some searching to understand our reasons / For every selfish feeling / (I held death's hand this evening.)”

Instrumentally, “My Father's Son” is one of the weaker songs on the album, but the lyrics are so dark and personal it's hard not to admire the track. The rhythms and riffs lack luster and seem generic to the genre. The lyrics are where this song shines as Birch welcomes you into his life without his father. Suffering from the same mistakes and alcoholism his father died of: “All my life I have been trying to understand myself, / It seems like my own reflection is just somebody else. / It's taken years to know my father courses through my veins, / And though I never knew him it turns out we're the same.”

Let the Ocean Take Me closes with the tenth track, “Give It All”, a very strong song amongst several in its own right. The impressive musicianship shines through, though the synthesizer seems out of place and almost makes a mess of things. The fourth album of this still young, Australian Metalcore band is of their best and offers much better production value than in previous albums.