“This Could Be Heartbreak”: A Melodic Metalcore Jam
“This Could Be Heartbreak” is the latest release from Australian metalcore band The Amity Affliction and the latest track from their fifth studio album This Could Be Heartbreak, set for release on August 12th, 2016.
Before we go any further, it would be a good idea to define the term “metalcore” in case the style of “This Could Be Heartbreak” seems unclear. Metalcore is a fusion genre of extreme metal and hardcore punk. In fact, the word itself is a blend of the two genres. Metalcore originated in the late 1980s and early 1990s in the music of bands such as Converge and Bullet for My Valentine. In the 2000s, bands such as Pantera laid the groundwork for the mainstream success of metalcore. The Amity Affliction are one of many bands to take advantage of this commercial success, and they’ve done so since their formation in 2003.
“This Could Be Heartbreak” opens with a steady drumbeat, heavy and layered guitar work, and faded background vocals that personally remind me of mid-2000s emo pop bands. However, that quickly changes when unclean vocalist Ahren Stringer comes in to scream the verse. Clean vocalist Joel Birch appears in the noticeably melodic chorus; he creates a significant vocal interplay with Stringer, who screams wrathfully in the background. I’m particularly fond of the prechorus vocals, because Birch’s vocal style works well with the thrash of the drumbeats to create a rather catchy feel. The main chorus solely features Birch’s vocals; the instrumentation sounds less aggressive, and the track feels poppier. In the bridge/breakdown, we hear Stringer’s screams in the background, but Birch’s vocals have softened into a faded murmur. There’s some hints of piano before the drums kick in and the gang vocals repeat the bridge lyrics. The track closes with the reappearance of the track’s initial sound as well as the main chorus.
If you don’t like to hear screams in your music, “This Could Be Heartbreak” (or any music from The Amity Affliction, really) probably isn’t for you. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of screams in music, but I believe that “This Could Be Heartbreak” is a pretty good track mainly because of the highly personal lyrics. Take a look at lyrics in the first verse:
God help me, I’ve fallen away
The leaves are dancing on my grave
Streets are sounding low, we already know
That our world is ending slowly
As sad as it sounds, will I miss them when I’m underground?
Hey son, it’s okay, I’m on my way to a better place
Metalcore is more about cathartic emotional release and raw personal expression than virtuoso performances or complex instrumentation. Many music fanatics have a passionate answer to the question “What is more important: the sound of a track or the lyrics of a track?” and as a genre, metalcore seems to lean toward the latter. This isn’t inherently shoddy or in bad taste—it’s just another way to interpret music.
Have you listened to “This Could Be Heartbreak Yet?” Watch the music video for the tune on YouTube below.