AFI - Black Sails In The Sunset (Cover Artwork)


AFI: Black Sails In The SunsetBlack Sails In The Sunset (1999)
Nitro Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: GreenVandalGreenVandal
(others by this writer | submit your own)

How do you introduce a album that you hold more dear to yourself then almost any other collection of songs in the world? Out of the billions of records released throughout the years, this is one of the few that I consider to be among the best. So how could I open up a review for this album in a way .
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How do you introduce a album that you hold more dear to yourself then almost any other collection of songs in the world? Out of the billions of records released throughout the years, this is one of the few that I consider to be among the best. So how could I open up a review for this album in a way that embodies all the qualities that are great about it, but at the same time doesnt make me seem like a fanboy, therefore negating my opinion? There really is no way for me to do that. This album is THAT great. Here is my description of the musical rollercoaster that is AFI's Black Sails In The Sunset.

1. Strength Through Wounding - The chant that you have to know at any AFI show. A dramatic and catchy opening to a dramatic and catchy album. This is the first hint of AFI's true nature that was ever heard. It was hard like Shut you mouth and open your eyes, but much more raw and powerful. You could almost immediately tell that Jade was a much better match for this band then Mark. In almost no time at all the last yells end, and the album finally begins with...

2. Porphyria - A great opening song. Quick, energetic, and the first time we heard the new and improved Davey Havok at work. His vocals were as raw as the music alongside them, and this song never let up on speed and intensity til the very end. The lyrics were also something new to the AFI formula. Proud of Ya was funny. Shut your mouth and open your eyes was angry. This was poetic. It was still angry and depressed, but the lyrics were great...but more on that later. The song fades out, and the bass leads us into....

3. Exsanguination- Basically more of the same goodness found in the second track. Fast, heavy, dark, beautiful. Great chorus as well.

4. Malleus Maleficarum - This is where you know AFI has entered a whole new stage of writing in their career. This is my favorite song on the album, and one of the best songs I have ever heard. The whole song is like one giant buildup that releases at the chorus, until at the end it just completely breaks loose. This is also my lyrical high point of the album. The whole song is layer upon layer of different metaphors that all work together to create a song that can be viewed from many different angles, and interpreted many different ways. Its title, and burning theme make us think of a witch hunt, while the imagery of autumn makes us feel it is something more personal. Is it about alienation? A tribute to the days of the salem witch hunts? Davey 's past memorys being triggered by the season of fall? Only one person really knows, and hes not telling. Beautifully crafted song that demonstrates that you dont necesarily have to write complicated music to create complicated songs.

5. Narrative Of Soul Against Soul - More speed and energy...and it is sort of the spiritual succesor to the song "A Single Second" as both use a dual chorus line. It is energetic, and keeps the momentum flowing from one masterpiece song into another. The other masterpiece song would happen to be....

6. Clove Smoke Catharsis - The most emotionally dramatic song on the album. You can almost hear the sadness inside of the music, and Jade makes very good use or off-key guitar chords to create a ugly mood in the harder intro, chorus, and ending riffs, which puts them in complete contrast of the undistorted and beautiful verse lines. Davey proves here that he can sing just as well as he can howl and that not many people can convey there sadness through there words as well as he can. "If only pure sweetness was offered...whys this bitter taste left in my mouth?"

7. The Prayer Position- A departure from the rest of the album with its heavy emphasis on rhythm and its sudden middle song break, another one of Black Sails very best. Oh, and no song has more energy or a better gang sing along then the chorus of this song. Absolutely nuts live.

8. No Poetic Device - You guessed it, another great song with great lyrics. I especially love the breakdown which switches between screaming and singing back and forth. Its a great sing along.

9. The Last Kiss - Not really that special outside of its cool lyrics and chorus. That is until that odd little guitar effect near the end. That part of the song is quite nifty....as is this song.

10. Weathered Tome - Probably this albums weakest song. It is a throwback to AFI's hardcore days, and is not bad, but just doesnt hold up as well as the rest of the album.

11. At A Glance - You can feel the album winding down now. Again, a good song, but not a stand out. Not quite filler, but not quite great. I like the chorus of this song a lot though.

12. God Called In Sick Today / Midnight Sun - A perfect ending track that pretty much completely embodies all the things that are great about AFI. It has Davey singing, screaming, and just generally getting into it. The music is dramatic, and uses many of the best parts of AFI's now trademark style, and it closes off this chapter of the bands history quite nicely. It should also be mentioned that the hidden track, Midnight Sun, is a awesome song too. Actually, I think its so good, it should have been part of the album rather then hidden at the end, but im thankful they put it on the CD at all. I dont know how to describe it...so I wont, but definetly listen to it.

And that my friends is that. This CD has everything that I like about music in it. It has a very raw and deep mix sound, with the guitar being very prominent and powerful. The music is heavy, melodic, and most of all emotional. This is as close to perfect as albums get. If not for the weakness of tracks 10 and 11 in relation to the rest of the album, it just might have been perfect. But im sure as hell not complaining. A nearly flawless score for a nearly flawless album.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
hxcjfi (February 2, 2007)

Anyone on this board who disagrees with the review is just an ignorant waste of air. The world does not need your negativity. This album is more than amazing. The review was fine, I couldn't agree with it more. Sing the Sorrow better!? BLASPHEMY! Sing the Sorrow does not compare. Mainstream posers listen to that album because they know nothing of good music and will listen to whatever MTV says is "cool." Although STS is ok...it's not nearly as good as Black Sails. Best. Album. Ever.

HeresLookinAtYou (March 20, 2006)

Great CD.

Bad review.

Anonymous (February 15, 2006)


Anonymous (October 27, 2005)

This AFI I would like to say one of there best cd.
Last Kiss and God called in sick are two excellent songs on this cd. defently a cd one should buy.

is afi hardcore or not????

I would have to say before when they started = Hell Yea.
now, not really but there a awesome band one of my favorites.

Anonymous (April 20, 2003)

>>>Good review, good album. Although, Sing The Sorrow is better.

Anonymous (April 11, 2003)

green vandal
your dad is gay.

GreenVandal (April 11, 2003)

Im sorry to say this...but some of us actually drive ourselves places rather then have daddy cart us around still. Dont be sad though my cap typing friend, im sure there is someone else on the board who has your predicament. Sorry if there is any speeling errors, i keep getting mascara in my eye.

Anonymous (April 11, 2003)

I agree w/ the strung out dude, they are better.

Anonymous (April 11, 2003)

best afi album, the sound quality is awesome, the songs are there, and havok's voice is great, this album is better than the art of drowning, which in my opinion, is a slopy album

Anonymous (April 10, 2003)

you (all of you, even the hardcore/pussy fans) are all dumb-asses...

Anonymous (April 10, 2003)

There is no other way to describe afis music. Sorry if i offended you, you can probably relate to spending 2-3 hours on your make up. Ill leave the sucking to you and the music you listen to. Hey afi is playing boston next month, maybe your daddy can give you and your little sister a ride to see them. Die pop punksters.

Anonymous (April 10, 2003)

There is no other way to describe afis music. Sorry if i offended you, you can probably relate to spending 2-3 hours on your make up. Ill leave the sucking to you and the music you listen to. Hey, afi is playing boston next month, maybe your daddy can give you and your little sister a ride to see them.

GreenVandal (April 10, 2003)

Ya know, cuz AFI is so just so pop punk! Suck a dick.

Anonymous (April 10, 2003)

That should piss some of you trl punkers off. Die pop punksters die.

Anonymous (April 10, 2003)

These fags should spend less time on their make up and focus on writing some half decent music. If they are capable of doing that. I think they are trying to make up for what they lack... Talent.

Anonymous (April 10, 2003)

everyone who bashes AFI for they way Davey looks are fucking rediculous. you all are a bunch of worthless ignorant asswipes. i bet you all have your stupid boyband haircuts or the punk cliche mowhawk. all of you people are too afraid to be different because you don't want to be mocked. who gives a shit what a band looks like, it doesn't do anything to make their music sound different so why does it matter? you are all just afraid you might find davey attractive one day and turn gay, which would be horrible because it is different and whatever is different sucks. quit being so narrow minded.

Anonymous (April 10, 2003)

all of you people who compare AFI to the misfits should shut up already. Just because davey had the same haircut and says whooooooa in his songs doesn't make him a misfit wannabe. AFI is so much more advanced lyrically than the misfits and they have stopped sounding like them years ago. get over it, you all are probably in a band that rips off the clash anyways.

GreenVandal (April 7, 2003)

hehehe. oops. Um...can some sort of administrator perhaps shorten my >'s a bit down there? I think i went overboard.

GreenVandal (April 7, 2003)

I really dont like Strung Out at all and I dont see how they are relovent to this at all. And the AFI/Misfits comparison stopped making sense once AFI put this CD out. They dont sound anything alike. Please stop comparing them. Just because Good Riddance likes the Clach, we dont compare them do we? NO. SO STOP.

And also, if we are gonna bring the misfits into this...

Nerve Agents>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>The Misfits

Thank You!

Anonymous (April 7, 2003)

i agree, strung out is better, no matter what the comparison.. they own!

Anonymous (April 7, 2003)

The best AFI album was Very Proud of Ya, in spite of the poor production. It's all been downhill since.

Anonymous (April 7, 2003)

half of you guys are a bunch of complaining fuck heads, who cant understand the real fans, so all you can say is they are shit.
Nice one, im sure your comments will sway us from liking something. if you had the choice of seeing them you would go, you know it. since they are changing music, making new and interesting sounds, i guess we will leave all you 'hard core punks' here in the in this time, or wait a minute, your stuck way further back than that.


evildeadalive (April 7, 2003)

So would raping AFI mean they are better or worse?

Anonymous (April 6, 2003)

Strung Out owns AFI. And the Misfits rape AFI.

end of that discussion.

Anonymous (April 6, 2003)

wake up call = very cool afi song

relay1112 (April 6, 2003)

But AFI's music video is much cooler than Hanson's!!

Anonymous (April 6, 2003)

hanson is better than afi

evildeadalive (April 6, 2003)

Strung Out has nothing to do with AFI. Why would you even make that comparison? That's like me saying Refused have better music and lyrics than the Misfits. Therefor they are a better band. Who fucking cares? At least compare 2 bands that have something to do with each other. Like for instance, saying the Misfits are better than AFI. Thank you.

Anonymous (April 5, 2003)

BSITS is a really good cd, i used to love afi and still like them, but now they grow tiresome. i think that strung out has better lyrics and a better sound, better band.

my opinion.

501 (April 5, 2003)

Ok all you mother fuckers who think AFI ' sold out ' and call them ' stupid 13 year old goth music ' well, im sure youre all real hardcore, and real punks, long live Ramones... Well good for you, we dont want to hear about it, really. This Ablum is great, not a bad song on it. Alot of songs are really explosive. This was indeed the era of AFI best work, Black Sails, All Hollows and Art of Drowning...

By the way, to the dumb inconsiterate prick who said tickets were 40 dollars, theyre 13 stupid shit.

Anonymous (April 5, 2003)

Good review, good album. Although, Sing The Sorrow is better.

Anonymous (April 5, 2003)

MTV needs to get off the fucking airwaves. I hate it when someone says a band "came out of nowhere" or they're "up an coming" or something when the band's been around for 10 years. Grrr.

Anyway, this is my favorite A.F.I. CD by far. One of my personal favorite albums too. Sing the Sorrow's cool, but by all means listen to this... Most band's have that one release that all subsequent albums will never be able to live up to, well that's this for A.F.I.

strewtho (April 4, 2003)

"he looks more and more like Fran Drescher everyday, christ."

Good call, just imagine him on The Nanny.

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

omg!!1 afi released 2 cds in like a month!1 these guyz are teh r0>

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

Well with "Sing the sorrow" being mediocre, I thought I would review AFI's best CD so everyone could remember what all the hype was about anyway.

Bryne (April 4, 2003)

This was the last album AFI made that I liked.

I really, really like "The Prayer Position."

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

Black sails in the sunset,
White noise going yakety-yak,
All the money in the world will never bring your body back,
Is it some mysterious dance nobody can do?
Thought I knew all the steps quite clearly,
I don't have a clue

sk8punx4evr (April 4, 2003)

the person below me is so goddamn funny!

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

afi is my new favroite band. tehy rawk. mtv said they r all punk rawk an stuff so i cheked them out and now they r my favorite band.

oh yea i also lik rancid, teh suicide machiines and bad religon

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

I don't like this band's "gang vocals." Anyone no what I am talking about?

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

to the guy down there.......13 songs aint an album but a compilation of eps so get a clue. it still kix ass

why is this album being reviewed again....its like old and random

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)


...Thats the Misfits, not AFI. This band and this album are nowhere near perfect. Neither is Fugazi. Ever heard of a band called the Clash?

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

I saw afi a couple of years ago when they hit d. C. In like 3/4 years. It rocked! the last time i saw them, same stage set-up, same intro,outro, same outfit! they suck now. Their song on the radio sounds so "radio friendly" it's pathetic. "very proud of ya" is the way to go if you never heard their stuff before, cuz it's 20xs better then the new doodoo.

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

Davey looks like a girl

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

This band needs to die.

hubitcherkokov (April 4, 2003)

This was my all-time favorite album before "Sing the Sorrow" came out, which is just amazing. I enjoyed this review thoroughly as well. I usually don't really like song-by-song descriptions, but you really did a nice job with it. My one real problem with this albums is that on "Clove Smoke Catharsis" Dexter Holland's backround vocals are so prominant, its like they want to make sure you won't be able to overlook them at all.

And to a certain few: AFI has NEVER sounded like The Misfits. Ever. Where the hell do you see the connection?! Because Davey Havok had a devilock and they wear Misfits shirts and played a few Misfits covers? Damnation, the music and lyrics between both respective bands are absolutely nothing alike. If you don't like them, just say you don't like them. With music you don't need a laundry list of reasons to hate a band. Stop coming up with inane excuses and insults.

FortyMinutesWest (April 4, 2003)

This is where AFI started to lose, me, I still liked it, but not as much as their previous stuff. And Davey does need to get a haircut, he looks more and more like Fran Drescher everyday, christ.

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

"This is as close to perfect as albums get."

No. Not even close. Fugazi's 13 Songs is the closest thing to a "perfect" album, if that even exists.

Again though, at least you gave sold reasons why you liked the album. This is how a review should be done.


Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

AFI tickets are going for up to 400$ on ebay I read.. I mean, theyre only like $25 if you get em through ticket master. Pshhh.

Good review of a decent cd. I think that Art of Drowning was much better. In Black Sails it seems like theyre still trying to find their identity as a band..nothing new happening. But Art of Drowning, change is obvious. They had finally become unique and different from all the other East Bay crap. Then Sing the Sorrow...ug terrible.

Still though, solid release.


Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

i know all you drama queen alterna-teen goths love afi b/c they're so spooky, dark, and depressing. you're ALL pathetic. they're a cheap, 3rd rate misfits ripoff cover band and now they're getting mtv to recruit the 12 year olds who'll think afi and goth punk rock is the flavor of the month. davey-you'll never be glenn. don't have the passion, the drive, the will. stop trying.

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

"Goodness" eh?

- Scott
(The icons will be back SOON!)

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

easily my favourite album of all time.

insinceredave (April 4, 2003)

This is more fun than any rollercoaster i've been on!

insincere dave

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

"Get a haircut Davey"..............what is this, the US marine corps board or something?

evildeadalive (April 4, 2003)

This album was decent, but definitley had some cheesy moments.

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

I love people who insult a band with untrue comments like how they're going to tour with Good Charolette and they're charging $40 for tickets. Way to have no fucking clue what you're talking about.

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

Ya'll need to stop Sucking this bands collective Dick!!! They Sold out and there not the Misfits. WHo cares if they put out another record. They might even tour with Good Charlotte now that they are growing as a band. Give me shut your mouth or very proud of ya anyday. Kids that worship this band need to wake up. live you own life suckers. They got you to believe everything. what are tickets these days?? 40 45 dollars??

ommaddon (April 4, 2003)

I'll give it a 10. By far their best work. Has everyone seen that lame video for "Girls not Grey" on rotation on MTV? I suppose seeing Davey in black face is worth watching it once...but it sure seems like the band watched Donnie Darko one time too many after spending long goth nights pouring over Lewis Carroll. And enough's enough. Get a haircut, Davey.

- Jonathan

Anonymous (April 4, 2003)

dude, i saw the band on mtv the other week and they said that the band was "up and comming" so i went out and bought sing the sorrow and now they kick ass. now they have this new cd black sails...im so glad AFI released a new cd, i was getting so tired of sing the sorrow already.

AFI's biggest fan
(Albert Freddy Ingram)

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