AFI - Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes (Cover Artwork)


Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes (1998)


In retrospect, it's clear that every AFI record had a distinct sound. The first two, Answer That... and Very Proud... has a coarse, old school style while Black Sails..., my personal favorite, has a dark, gothic undertone that fully utilized davey's voice and showcased the band's ability to go beyond the constraints of traditional punk and hardcore. Art of Drowning was the most melodic, a bit disappointing, and left the future of the band's sound a mystery. Shut Your Mouth is the middle record that bridged the four albums. The dark, morbid imagery, the fusion of melody and screams, and the start of davey's vocal refinement are all present in their third full length.

With this album, AFI started their tradition of an introductory song, and in this song, they quickly established a new sound and new lyrical content: much more intense with a flare for the demonic.

Certain songs stand out to me. A Single Second has that amazing choral harmony (thanks to Nick 13) that makes the song instantly memorable. Third Season was the first "slow" AFI song, and this song, as well as much of the album, showed davey's ability to create original and memorable melodies.

The album as a whole is a mix of hardcore and punk, rife with melodic choruses and ferocious chants. Rumor has it that during the recording of this album, Davey had to hold cloth in his hands because he would get so into singing/screaming that he would dig his nails into his hands and bleed. Damn, the effort sure shows. Anger, despair, yearning, and alienation are all topics that can be found in this album, but the album is so good that it puts a smile on my face every time i listen to it. This is the album before Jade and Hunter joined, and the difference they would eventually make is clear: Shut Your Mouth... is great, but lacks the almost tangible darkness and distinctive style that would become clear with the later albums and eps. It's fast and so intense, full of questions and the genesis of davey's brooding and melancholy lyrics. My favorite song on the ablum, besides the two previously mentioned, is "Let it Be Broke."

A lot of "old-school" fans of AFI stopped listening to them when they heard this album. Personally, I love every album and ep they have released because of the differences and changes. AFI is never boring... to me at least.