Track x Track: The Amity Affliction – Not Without My Ghosts

Australian metalcore four-piece The Amity Affliction are back with their feature-packed new album ‘Not Without My Ghosts’, a record that sees them rope in a bunch of friends, from established names like Comeback Kid’s Andrew Neufeld and The Plot in You’s Landon Tewers, to buzzy newcomer Phem.

The album “mostly deals with the paradox of not wanting to be alive, and yet needing to stay here, while also mourning the loss of friends and trying to use the music as catharsis,” vocalist Joel Birch explains. It’s an emotional ride.

Here, Joel talks us through the entire record from front to back.

Show Me Your God

The song is the first in a series of explorations and internal meditations on how our past shapes us and interacts with our various mental struggles in the present, drawing from both personal experience and also the trauma of close friends who have passed away or who have dealt with close loved ones passing away.

It’s Hell Down Here

This song is a letter from myself and Ahren, written by me to our friends who have passed on to the other side.

Fade Away

This song is way more miserable than it appears; I remember writing it when I was honestly hoping for the bus to crash or to not wake up the next day and wanted to leave a little remnant of myself behind, letting my wife know how I felt had nothing to do with her. Mental illness rules.

Death And The Setting Sun (Feat. Andrew Neufeld)

This song references some biblical ideas about the setting sun representing us dying only to be reborn in the afterlife, like the sun rises again each day, as well as pulling from ‘Waiting For God’ and the idea of purgatory. Take from that what you will; it’s quite the mix of ideas to funnel into one track. It’s also a morbid and hopeless song about being completely stuck and thinking the only way out of here is to kill yourself. A really happy number. A bop.

I See Dead People (Feat. Louie Knuxx)

The ongoing and nebulous struggle that comes with dealing with the pain of friends killing themselves while myself dealing with passive suicidal ideation. Not sure you need more than that; it sums it up.

When It Rains It Pours (Feat. Landon Tewers)

I wrote this song for really angry people, and I hope they get really angry to it and smash some walls or something. Go, Kyle.

The Big Sleep

This song has one of the saddest lines I think I’ve ever written: While we’re here, can we ever be free? Off to the stars for me; I just want to believe. I really, really dislike religion, but there is something romantic about the desire to ascend from Earth into some other realm. Sometimes in the depths of a depressive episode, I just want to believe that there is something better beyond what I know, even though every part of me believes that when we die, that’s the end.

Close To Me

I feel like I destroy everything around me; I’m sure a great deal of people out there who suffer from depression or bipolar or anxiety or any other number of mental illnesses understands this song well.

God Voice

Another cheery song about wanting to be gone from this world. I call it the God Voice mockingly because I grew up being told we had to listen to God speaking to us, and all I ever heard was a voice telling me to exit stage left.

Not Without My Ghosts (Feat. Phem)

A song about the way in which you can’t travel through life without dragging the ghosts of your past behind you and how they manifest in their various forms.

Taken from the June 2023 edition of Upset. The Amity Affliction’s album ‘Not Without My Ghosts’ is out now.