How The Amity Affliction went from shitsville to hitsville.
Turns out The Amity Affliction have always put friendship first...
It ain’t easy coming from Down Under.
While the post-Parkway deluge of Aussie metal bands continues to show that the nation’s scene is in extremely rude health, the fact that many bands from that country will have lived hours and hours apart, often based in remote towns with little in the way of, like, anything, makes it something of a minor miracle that there’s been any kind of a ‘scene’ at all, let alone that the likes of Thy Art Is Murder, Northlane, I Killed The Prom Queen, Hellions and more have made it out of Australia and across the globe
Take the steady but unstoppable rise of Queensland’s own The Amity Affliction, for instance. In the decade-plus they’ve spent together, they’ve managed to become a major concern without having to rely on any real red-alert media hype or, crucially, riding the coattails of any of their compatriots. While Parkway were down in Byron Bay busily refining a metalcore formula that’d see them smash their way across the planet, Amity founder Ahren Stringer was tucked away 200 miles up the coastline in Gympie, a rather nondescript town once known as a goldmining hotbed for eastern Australia, but in recent times renowned for high death rates, poor public transport links and, um, flooding a lot (there have been five major floods in just over 25 years, and in 1999 the town was designated a natural disaster area). Given that his hometown was serving as creative kryptonite, it’s no wonder Ahren was desperate to abandon ship as soon as possible.
“It was a pretty depressing place to grow up,” laughs the bassist, who also handles clean vocals for the quartet. “There was just nothing. It’s a small hick town, a closed-minded place. So many people die there all the time – car crashes, accidents and whatever. You could count the people into rock on one hand. It’s a goldmining town that stayed after the gold dried up, and we wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible.”
“Yeah, everyone called it Hell Town,” cuts in his compadre and Amity frontman Joel Birch, who lived “45 minutes inland” from Gympie, but was all too aware of the town’s rather lacklustre reputation. “People that lived there would have bumper stickers that said, ‘HELL of a town!’ on them.”