AFI - 336 [10 inch picture disc] (Cover Artwork)


336 [10 inch picture disc] (2002)


With "Now The World" and "Reiver's Music," the pair of new songs featured on the 10" picture disc available only through Hot Topic stores, AFI have brought forth unto the world two more brilliant works of art.

No kidding. These songs are that impressive. Like their latest (and best) releases, 1999's groundbreaking Black Sails in the Sunset and 2000's outstanding The Art of Drowning, this record shows that like a fine wine, AFI only get better with age. They continue to perfect their hard-to-pigeonhole sound, which can best be described as hardcore punk with dark and solemn elements thrown into the mix. In terms of style, creativity, and artistry, these guys are in a class of their own, making AFI one of the most aesthetically pleasing bands around. And if this 10" is any indication of what AFI has been concocting in the studio these past few months, then their major label debut that's slated for a March 2003 release should be nothing short of phenomenal.

True to AFI form, these two songs are rife with tight rhythms, abundant melody, and ethereal vocals that leave the listener speechless. To wit, the first song, "Now The World," is a complex masterpiece, which exhibits the band's immense talent and burgeoning ability and ingenuity. The verses are rather serene, building up to the energetic and vigorous chorus in which Davey Havok sings: "I looked inside to find the one I sent away/I nearly froze when I stepped inside to find the flowers turned to gray/I closed my eyes and kissed them one last time." As always, Havok's extremely profound and earnest lyrics poetically delve deep into the human psyche. The ensuing breakdown likewise alternates between calm and impassioned vocals and music, and ends with Jade's lone guitar and Havok's tranquil vocals.

"Reiver's Music," a barrage of infectious melodies anchored by a steady rhythm section, is sustained by Adam's pounding drums, Jade's guitar wizardry, and Hunter's unfaltering bass. There is a break in the madness mid-song in which Havok urgently chants some esoteric yet beautiful lyrics: "With only echoes proving that I'm here with all the wraiths/For all these years and I have no desire to leave." Then the music reverts to its original fast tempo, finally ending more slowly on an extremely emotive note. Yeah, listening to AFI is still a cathartic experience.

Thus, these two new songs are amazingly powerful and intense. Pure genius from one of the best bands out there today.