Misery is The Amity Affliction’s sixth full length studio album and their first without drummer Ryan Burt who announced his departure from the band in February of this year.

The first two singles surfaced online a couple months ago to mixed reviews from hardcore fans. Both Ivy (Doomsday) and Feels Like I’m Dying are dramatically differed in sound and style to the band’s older material. Much cleaner and not a breakdown in sight, I even read a review naming The Amity Affliction as Australia’s pop-metal titans… not a title that I would have given the band responsible for some of the toughest metalcore of the past ten years, well not before the release of this album anyway.

That title is a little harsh I think, but Misery is a pretty different beast to the previous five The Amity Affliction records. It dispenses almost entirely with the metalcore influences that came to characterise the band’s sound and instead sees them push their pop and post-hardcore sensibilities to the forefront. Vocalist Joel Birch almost completely abandons his screams in favour of his emotional and melodic style. The mammoth breakdowns of old are also absent, with a heavier focus placed on keyboards, synthesizers and synthetic vocal effects.

Feels like I’m Dying is a prime example of the new direction, building to a big breakdown before squirting a synth that sounds like something a radio station might use to cover some colourful language. The album’s title track, Misery, serves to further cement the band’s contemporary direction.

One thing that hasn’t changed however is the bands tendency to explore tough issues like death, drugs and depression and lyrically this is good as any of their previous releases. The catchy D.I.E. I’m sure will translate for a good sing along in their live show.

I think this album will polarise fans, but this is in no way a bad record, in fact it’s pretty fucken hot. The band has taken a bit a different direction and it will be interesting to see how their heavier fans take it, but what will be great to see is how the new stuff translates into the epic TAA live show. I can’t see the live show backing down, so I think they’ll translate much heavier live, well I hope so anyway.

Album Review by Tim Nicholas