AFI - AFI (The Blood Album) (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


AFI (The Blood Album) (2017)


AFI will always have a special place in my life. I may be in the minority but I found Sing The Sorrow to be a work of art, cutting small bits and pieces from early-era AFI and sprinkling them over a more radio-friendly, mainstream hard-rock sound. To this day, it's an album that I'll listen front to back, without skipping. Everything else that came after though, felt like a cheap imitation at some parts, and at others, like the band's side projects decided to make music under the AFI banner.  AFI (The Blood Album) follows in the same vein, with nods to the old days few and far between, as they wander off into some of their most tempered down material to date. While some of it lacks creativity, expression, and comes off a tad bland, you do get a sense of what could have been, had they just unchained themselves a bit more. 

Ironically, the songs that stand out the most here are the ones that ape tracks off Sing The Sorrow. "So Beneath You" is one of the their best ever, vilifying the concept of God, which plays out in the same vein of "Girl's Not Grey." It's a great example of how less intricate but still very melodic Jade Puget unwinds with his guitars on the record. All to the vocal signature and unsurprising stamp of chorus-driven bellows from Davey Havok. "Snow Cats" flows hauntingly a la "Silver and Cold" while "Feed From The Floor" shines through as a huge tribute to The Cure. "White Offerings" is another example that's similar to "The Leaving Song Pt.II". 

In stark contrast, when you take in tracks like "Aurelia", "Still A Stranger" (with a surprisingly acoustic spine), Dark Snow" and "Get Hurt", it just feels like AFI could have done away with the warm guitars, the synth vibe (especially on "Above The Bridge" which feels made for an '80s cartoon) and overall, alt. rock sound, and just cut fucking loose. A lot of this album just begs to beaten aggressively. 

These songs felt like the ideal opportunity to go back to the days of Black Sails In The Sunset just based on their musical structures alone. You could sense that if they applied a harder edge, some post-hardcore influences, gone more punk/metal/hardcore... we'd have a big winner on our hands. Instead, all we're left with is some safe, catchy tunes and again, the afterthought of what could have been. Pardon me for being repetitive but it's all that's been embedded in me after listening to this album religiously for two months. Still, that won't stop me from wearing their tees, listening to their music and yes, still eagerly waiting for more stuff from them, and their side projects. Yes, I'm an AFI groupie and as of this record, an even more disappointed one.