On their fifth full-length, The Amity Affliction deliver a continuation on their Warped Tour-friendly template, albeit more polished this time around. ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’ is most definitely an album more routed towards radio rock than previous efforts.
Opener ‘I Bring The Weather With Me’ introduces a less abrasive approach with poppy keys and guitar hero solos, while the title-track sees bassist / singer Ahren Stringer handling the majority of vocals duties. Co-vocalist Joel Birch – one of the most underrated screamers in the game – puts in another stellar performance though, with forays into melodic textures (‘All Fucked Up’) while still keeping the razorblades firmly in his throat when needed (‘Note To Self’).
Ultimately though, this lacks the experimental punch of 2014’s ‘Let The Ocean Take Me’ and is missing any serious bite, with all the big melodic choruses on show feeling somewhat tacked on. For a band that excel in going hard and Birch’s anguished dark stories being where their real strength lies, shaving these edges off produces lackluster results. This will appease fans for sure, but the loss of the more interesting elements the band have explored in the past is sorely missed.