Strap in and listen closely as Amity Affliction are ready to take you on a musical journey with their fourth studio album, 'Let the Ocean Take Me.' The disc is quite possibly the band's most honest and personal album to date, with co-vocalist Joel Birch taking the lead in terms of the powerful lyrical content.

Inspired in part by a near-death experience on last year's Vans Warped Tour, the disc takes the listener on hard-hitting trek through depression, anxiety and eventual self-discovery. Birch says of the disc, "The album is about really trying to find a positive in my life again. Writing these songs was a very cathartic process, but I'm terrified of people listening to them and reading the lyrics because they'll know exactly what I'm thinking. I'm hiding nothing."

That honesty starts right off the bat with the powerful opener, 'Pittsburgh,' starting off innocently enough with a haunting opening before the brutality of Ryan Burt's kick drums kick in. The blend of Birch's angst-ridden unclean vocals and bassist Ahren Stringer's clean melodies tell a story of loneliness and desperation, with what sounds like a children's choir adding a nice touch late in the song.

'Don't Lean on Me' is also one of the album's standout tracks and is the source of the album title, as Birch and Stringer take ownership of their despair, begging the subject of the song to not drown with them. 'The Weigh Down' takes a little different approach musically, providing what could be some of the mosh-iest moments on the disc.

A key moment in the album is 'Never Alone,' which starts to signify a turning point in the emotional turmoil. The lyrics speak of fighting together, not alone, and the track ends with a phone message left speaking of the depression and drinking and reaching out for someone to relate to.

'F.M.L.' continues the road to a healthier life, but still offering some doubt as to whether the vocalist can find the way back home. 'My Father's Son' continues the trend, with a little self-analysis and trying to understand where the angst comes from. 'Forest Fire' also provides a more upbeat nature and 'Give It All' completes the journey.

All in all, The Amity Affliction succeed is not only delivering an album that rocks, but providing a deeply personal and intense story for those who invest themselves in what's being said. Thumbs up to Birch for his honesty, and kudos to his The Amity Affliction bandmates for surrounding his words with an equal parts brutal and melodic soundscape.

4 Stars