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


AFI (The Blood Album) (2017)


The new AFI record certainly took me by surprise. I’ll be honest: I had little expectations for the tenth release of a band who hasn’t released a palatable punk album in over a decade, but this was okay. Definitely not great, but given the trajectory of the band’s past few releases, AFI’s self titled release does carry a few breaths of fresh air.

For one, the opener, did peak my interest pretty quickly. The song isn’t incredible on it’s own merits, it sure is unexpected, which is how I would describe most of the album anyways so maybe it’s a fitting way to kick it off. While atmospheric, “Dark Snow” doesn’t feel too watered down with reverb which is the strategy the band used on their previous album to cover up some really subpar songwriting. Aside from the autotune breakdown at 2:16, it’s a solid cut. The rest of the album is mostly filler, but there are a few standout moments.

“So Beneath You” grabbed me with the production choices on the opening guitar lick, but then transitions back into what is essentially another filler track. However, the track does introduce a bit of an edge that seems to be pretty absent in the tracklist up to that point which starts to reappear on “Dumb Kids” (my personal favorite cut on The Blood Album) and “Pink Eyes”. The later is especially interesting due to the fact that it seems to have absolutely no sense of direction. The form of the song seems to be comprised of two completely separate songs which are sonically polar opposites of each other. The refrain sounds as if it’s going for an empowering vibe, but comes off as forced when the band attempts to smoothly transition into it from the dark. atmospheric verse. Just listen to “Pink Eyes” yourself and you’ll find that it’s incredibly disorienting. While I do like music that throws me for a loop, I highly doubt this is what the band was intending on this cut.

AFI’s tenth studio album was not predictable but also not great. For every cut that peaked my interest, there was another like “Above the Bridge”. But I can’t say AFI sounds like they aren’t making the music they want to make. Havok still sounds as passionate as ever and most of these songs are very well written at their cores. Overall, AFI’s self titled release isn’t terrible, but there’s nothing that really sets the band apart in this day and age.