Affiance – The Campaign (2012)

It’s not too often that you’ll see “recommended if you like Iron Maiden, Bullet For My Valentine, and As I Lay Dying” when talking about one specific band, but that’s exactly what happened when I received the press sheet for Affiance’s sophomore album, The Campaign. With nearly two years between the band’s previous release entitled No Secrets Revealed and the forthcoming The Campaign, expectations seem to be fairly high amongst fans of the band. Two years is quite a while between albums, but I’m glad that Affiance took their time with this album because it shows that they wanted to improve and not release a half-assed album just to silence their pleading fans. The Campaign has a release date of November 13th through Bullet Tooth Records.

The vocals provided by Dennis Tvrdik were very impressive on No Secrets Revealed, but I had my doubts that he could pull off those vocals live. I was proved wrong about a year ago when I saw Affiance live. He nailed almost every single note and even sounded better live than on record, for the most part. Believe it or not, the vocals have improved even more on The Campaign. There are several instances where Dennis hits an incredibly high note, most notably after the solo near the end of “Peace Of Mind”. When I first heard the aforementioned high note, I had to laugh, but not because it sounded bad. I laughed because I was absolutely stunned that someone could hit a note that high, and even more importantly, make it sound great on a metalcore album.

Continuing on with the vocals, the backing vocals have also been refined. They sound incredible, they’re powerful, they bring much more aggression into the music, and they coalesce with the clean vocals seamlessly. In addition to the improved clean vocals and backing screams, there are a few guest vocalists on The Campaign. August Burns Red’s bassist, Dustin Davidson, makes an appearance on the album opener entitled “Kings Of Deceit” and provides the listener with his signature screams that nearly everyone loves. A few tracks later, Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire spices up “Bohemian”, but my favourite guest spot is still to come. Ricky Armellino of This Or The Apocalypse is the final guest vocalist and he can be heard on “Righteous Kill” which is also my personal favourite track. Ricky’s vocals on “Righteous Kill” are spectacular but they made me realize something; Ricky fits this style of metalcore even better than he does with his actual band!

The drumming and basslines have also improved on Affiance’s The Campaign, but the aspect that has been enhanced the most is the guitars. The riffing present on The Campaign reminded me of two titans of the metalcore genre, As I Lay Dying and August Burns Red, and the solos are downright awe-inspiring. Affiance went from having two or three memorable solos on No Secrets Revealed to having a memorable solo on nearly every track on The Campaign. A few of my favourite solos can be heard on “We The Machines” and “Peace Of Mind”, but the strongest tracks instrumentally are “The Cynic” and the closing track, “Threshold”. Every song on The Campaign has its fair share of variety but “The Cynic” and “Threshold” have almost everything imaginable.

There’s not much else to say about The Campaign, but Affiance has improved drastically in every aspect and that’s very clear on this release. This has been a very good year for music of this nature so it should be interesting to see where The Campaign will stack up with the other top-tier metalcore albums of 2012. I have a feeling that this will remain near the top for me, though, because it has a very high replay value, it is infectiously catchy, and it still rocks hard enough to make me want to headbang for the entire 47 minutes.

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By Steven Pongrac ~ Me Gusta Reviews