AFI - The Blood Album
AFI, short for A Fire Inside, is a Californian punk band who has been in the game for well over two decades. Through this time, hey underwent some serious changes, going from a hardcore punk act on Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes through Black Sails in the Sunset to a much more pop-punk style on Sing the Sorrow and their incredibly successful Decemberunderground. Despite their changes, AFI managed to keep both their hardcore fans and their more pop fans happy by performing music from both sides of their career at every headlining show. You will never hear an AFI set that doesn’t include a few oldies, sometimes from as far back as Very Proud of Ya. At the very least, AFI has always been a very respectable band in their commitment to fans.
I, for one, hold AFI in a very, very special place in my heart. Out of all the bands I listened to in my childhood, this band is by far the one I love the most. I’m the type of fan that would even defend their 2009 release, Crash Love, as a solid pop rock piece. However, my love for this band comes from their 2003 release, Sing the Sorrow. I stand by the statement that it is one of post-hardcore’s proudest moments and a perfect bridge between what was AFI and what AFI became, with poppier songs such as “Girls Not Grey” and “Silver Cold” sitting right alongside punk songs such as “Death of Seasons” and “Dancing Through Sunday.” Sing the Sorrow is pretty damn perfect. However, a work I unfortunately cannot defend is their 2013 release, Burials. The way they presented the LP, I was expecting the dark, edgy, and incredibly enjoyable AFI found on Sing the Sorrow, but but instead, got an incredibly solid opening track followed by 12 of the most forgettable rock songs I have ever listened to. It broke my heart. So when they announced The Blood Album, I was excited, but cautious. I figured they couldn’t stoop much lower than Burials.
On a positive note, there are very few frontmen that I respect more than Davey Havok. This man has changed his vocals so much over the course of the 20+ years he’s been in the game, and he always sounds beyond perfect. He has been, and probably always will be, my favorite part of every AFI album. No matter how boring the song is, hearing his voice always soothes me. This remains the case here. He shows off his pipes more than ever on songs such as “White Offerings” and “Dumb Kids.” Other than that, The Blood Album is a way better effort than Burials.
The major problem with this LP is that there just isn’t any fire. There are a few tracks I do enjoy, like the aforementioned “White Offerings,” “Dumb Kids,” and “So Beneath You,” and I give credit to AFI for trying out a slower, bluesier approach on many of these tracks. However, I just really don’t feel like that they are doing it nearly as well as they could. The tracks I do like on this LP don’t even really resemble the sound the tracks I don’t like, also. “White Offerings” sounds like a song that could be an iTunes bonus track for a special edition of Sing the Sorrow.
I guess that’s all I really have to say for this LP. I will always respect and love AFI, and I am super excited to see them at Terminal 5 in a little more than a week, but I think they should just focus on touring now. I don’t really think they have the fire inside (ha) to keep pumping out new music.
- Alex Brown