Old kids on the emo block AFI are back with a brand new self-titled album. 4 years after last studio album Burials, AFI (The Blood Album), is finally here! Recently announced as support for legends, Deftones, and securing their spot at this summer’s Download Festival, it’s just in time.
Known for their emo image, the Cali boys seem to have matured since the Miss Murder days, but will this new album, released on Concord Records, slay the rock music charts? We are a sucker for the dramatics and apparently so are the band, releasing 4 vinyl in each blood type colour (A, B, AB, O), creepy as hell, even though we want them all; but let’s not judge a record by it’s sleeve.
We won’t lie, the album is slow burner; the first track, Dark Snow, barely creates a spark (well we guess you can’t create fire in snow!) It’s very electric and key heavy, but the vocals are a drag. As Davey Havok huskily sings the line, “you’ve grown too old,” we worry they may have. It’s not a terrible song by any means, but it is a terrible opener. The dying spark continues with the repetitive and lyrically over the top Above the Bridge. After the 10th time the line “I thought I saw the sky” is lasered into our brains by a keyboard infested electric undercurrent, we’ve had enough. Before we Get Hurt, guitarist Jade Puget runs from the mediocre and scales to another level with a savior solo.
When hidden gem, Hidden Knives, comes into play with it’s pop punk flavor and uplifting tempo, the flame ignites and we are now warming up. Keeping with the sporadic, punky vocals is hard hitter, So Beneath You. Hunter Burgan carries the track with his bass into the next redeemer, She Speaks The Language. Starting out like a horror bonus track to The Ring, the electronic white noise grabs our attention, as Havok’s haunting tone gives us nostalgic goosebumps. At this point of the album AFI seem like a new mediocre band, not our old millennial emo faves! Their old sound is Still A Stranger but this soon changes as the acoustic opener is broken by half scream/half emo-spoken word, a very familiar move and we like it. Aurelia feels like we’ve fallen down the Decemberunderground rabbit hole. We guess you can take the bleached fringe out of the emo but not the soul.
Track 9 hits, the game changes and the spark explodes into fire; we feel like Dumb Kids. Adam Carson pounds into action and the rest follow suit. It’s timed chaos and we’re feeling the heat. Pink Eyes is the most interesting of the album. Pudget shreds the way, as Havok shows us his vocal potential. His hushed tone over the melodic keys is rudely awakened by true heavy beats, and we have mother plucking energy at last! White Offerings offers us no rest, keeping energy levels and vocals raised at boisterous levels. This song live is Blood Album title-worthy and capable of causing a few drops on a pit floor. Closer, is The Wind That Carries Me Away from all the fun. The bluesy guitar licks slow it down, leaving us genre confused and a little robbed of our buzz. The vocals are sharp and the melody is like an emo country song, which shouldn’t work but does. We like this side to AFI but it’s a weak closer and a bit of an album odd-ball.
The Blood Album is a slow starter, with redeeming features and hard hitting surprises. If you fancy some interesting background music it’s a go! If you want something to sink your teeth into, it might not be worth it.
Standout Track: Dumb Kids, Pink Eyes
For Fans Of: Black Veil Brides, Good Charlotte, Deftones, Alkaline Trio, Aiden
Written By: Charly Phillips