Silverstein & Amity Affliction
Holding Absence, UnityTX
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The release of their tenth studio album, Misery Made Me, finds the group spring boarding off the heights they’ve reached over the past handful of years; their latest album (2020’s A Beautiful Place To Drown) adding 80 Million streams to a mind-numbing career total of 500 Million; it collecting a nomination for Rock Album Of The Year at the esteemed Juno Awards; and its most recent headliner selling out nearly every date in elite rooms.
In bringing Misery Made Me to life Silverstein have continued to build on their already-wide reaching impact. Immersing themselves in new technologies like TikTok, Discord, NFTs, the metaverse and Twitch (even holding public writing sessions with fans over the latter) during its formation, the band have confirmed their unique ability to adapt and connect in all cycles of their career.
Interestingly, amid all the positivity and connectivity injected into its creation there comes a dark set of themes underpinning the album, as its title might suggest. Inspired by the past two years, Misery Made Me is a depiction of Silverstein – and world at large’s – collective turmoil, frustration, and anxiety.
“I wanted to explore the meaning of ‘Misery’ as a main theme throughout the album,” says vocalist Shane Told. “Despite the mountains climbed and boulders pushed during recent years, we were confronted by the weight and misery of staying relatively in the same place for a long period of time. Finding peace in the reality of this misery became important. The record is about the acceptance of a new reality and adapting to it.”
Ultimately, Misery Made Me finds the band trying to navigate the ever-worsening challenges of our modern world – angst, doomscrolling, and disassociation. It’s a record that is a product of the moment in time in which it was created yet doesn’t feel like it will date itself anytime soon, as many of its topics of loneliness, anxiety and isolation are eternal human struggles.
Exemplified by the anthemic opener ‘Our Song’, Misery Made Me is part acceptance of the band’s personal miseries, and part declaration that they will not be buried by them. At the back end of the record lies ‘Live Like This’ (ft. nothing,nowhere.) and arguably its most bleak and haunting lyric: “I don’t want to die, but I can’t live like this.”
Singles ‘It’s Over’ and ‘Ultraviolet’ dive deeper into this feeling of desperation, describing the utter helplessness of losing control to anxiety.
“’It’s Over’ is about the spiral that leads to giving up,” shares guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau. “Those anxiety packed hours when you can’t feel anything but the low, steady crescendo of panic that eventually gets so intense your fingertips lose sensation. It’s hopeless to feel but pointless to endure. I didn’t learn anything from feeling that way. I just wanted it to stop.”
“’Ultraviolet’ is about feeling powerless and under the control of the chemicals in your brain,” he adds. “Ultraviolet light itself being invisible felt like the right way to describe this notion. To get lost in this unseeable thing. UV also causes physical damage to our skin, so it serves as a sort of ‘proof’ that something invisible like anxiety can hurt us.”
Filled with moments of relentless energy throwing back to their hardcore roots (‘Die Alone’ ft. Andrew Neufeld), to visionary moments of modern heavy (‘The Altar / Mary’), Misery Made Me fastens Silverstein’s status as torchbearers of the scene on all fronts.
It’s both intriguing and inspiring that a band – who could have merely rested on the impressive legacy they’ve already cemented – would continue to dig deep and find the inspiration to reach people in meaningful new ways. Misery Made Me is a campaign hinged on Silverstein’s reflection and gratitude for their roots, their honouring of their earliest fans, and their staunch desire to explore forward-thinking and adventurous ways to connect with new ones.
Misery Made Me is out May 6 via UNFD.
The Amity Affliction
Since emerging in 2008 on the debut Severed Ties, The Amity Affliction have served up three ARIA gold-certified albums, Youngbloods , Chasing Ghosts  and This Could Be Heartbreak . They also achieved platinum certification for the seminal Let The Ocean Take Me . The band achieved four consecutive #1 debuts on the ARIA chart with Chasing Ghosts, This Could be Heartbreak, Let The Ocean Take Me and Misery. Most recently Everyone Loves You...Once You Leave Them  continued their ARIA chart streak, debuting at #2 and showed the band returning to their heavier side with a global stream tally surpass 460 million and counting. The Amity Affliction have also been a dominating live act, headlining arena tours and festival bills alike worldwide throughout their career.
Love. It’s an emotion that rules our lives whether we like it or not. It can make us feel like we can take on anything or feel like every single breath we take is wasted. It can make your stomach fill with butterflies and your eyes fill with tears. It consumes us when we least expect it and disappears without a warning. Love is everything in this life and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Holding Absence understands, appreciates and adores this sentiment and delves into the murky depths of it on this, their self-titled debut full length. A record ultimately 2 years in the making, it is a body of work that pulls on the heartstrings from all directions with total ease and one that saw vocalist Lucas Woodland pushed to the absolute limit of his emotional capabilities.
“Love is the strongest emotion in the world. It really does make the world go round. After previously writing a couple of songs about love I realised that a great way to make this album would be to document a relationship from start to finish. I know that it sounds very playground but I really wanted to get into the nitty gritty of everything. This band has meant that I could delve into certain emotions that you only feel at certain times in life and I feel as though we touch on a lot of topics that people don’t really have the patience to talk about.”
From the looking back on a love that has diminished due to the effects of mental health (‘Perish’) to the struggles of asking your partner to help you through your darkest of days (‘To Fall Asleep’) all the way through to watching a love you once had burning to a crisp before your very eyes yet still feeling grateful that it even happened (‘Wilt’), ‘This Is Holding Absence’ leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the ebb and flow that is so prominent within the concept of love while maintaining a beautifully desolating atmosphere throughout.
Following on from a series of critically celebrated singles that saw them develop a passionate, rampant and devoted fan base in the blink of an eye, the band started work on their debut full length back in February of 2018. Returning to the studio with George Lever who was at the helm of ‘This Is As One’, the band’s split EP with Liverpool’s Loathe, it wouldn’t be completed until August. Off the back of a sudden member change, it was a case of realising that the most beautiful things come from just letting things happen naturally.
“When we first went to record it was with our old guitarists so the dynamic was a little different. I feel like we were ready and impatient to really start this body of work but I think we were maybe running before we could walk so we needed to sit down and take some time. Then unexpectedly, we then spent a long part of this album as a three piece. There were a good few songs written without a guitarist even in the band. Finally finishing this record turned out to be such a heavy experience. There were weeks when I would do absolutely nothing, just read over the lyrics and overthink absolutely everything. It was self-destructive in a way and I knew that I had to sacrifice for it.”
Though with the uncertainty behind them and once again a full line up, completed by now permanent guitarists Scott Carey and Chris Smitheram, bassist James Joseph and drummer Ashley Green, the band are ready to take the scene by the scruff and make everyone feel just as strongly as they feel. Because after all, that’s what this is all about.
“Everything has to mean something. There is so much emotion in the world right now. This band has always had a clear vision and a clear message and regardless of who portrays the message and when it was portrayed and how it was portrayed, Holding Absence is always going to be about feeling as much as you can. Vocally, I’m just a vessel. I can’t write songs for everybody so I just want to write music that makes people feel in whatever way they can.”
To feel is to be human and to be human is the most pure thing we have in this life. By breaking down the barriers of what we feel everyday, Holding Absence are diving into the deepest corners of our psyche and pulling out feelings that we didn’t even know we had the capacity to conjure. In many ways, this band is merely a catalyst for something much bigger than just guitars and bass and drums and words, and that’s something that Lucas has realised more and more as time has gone on.
“Someone once came up to me and said that Holding Absence is the sound of every big emotion I have ever felt, all of the happiness and all of the sadness. It made me think that there is so much more to this than just making music.”
With this mantra in place, 2019 is set to be absolutely huge for the band. Finally with a record that represents perfectly why they came to exist in the first place and ambition as far as the eye can see, Holding Absence are ready to become your entire world while also opening a whole new line of thinking for you in the process.
“We have waited so long to have this album and to wear it on our sleeves and represent ourselves with a body of work. Having something to represent us rather than just hoping that people understand. I want this to be an hour of everyone’s time where they can reach inside my head and see these stories that I wanted to tell and portray and hopefully relate to.”