AFI - All Hallow's EP (retro review) (Cover Artwork)


All Hallow's EP (retro review) (1999)

Nitro Records

In 1999, the genre-shifting AFI released the All Hallow’s EP, a visual and sonic homage to the mysticism and lore of horror-punk. While the band would put out a couple more releases with a similar sound, this EP marked the beginning of the end of an era for AFI. The band started primarily as a hardcore band, but had since honed in a sound that was trulely unique even though their image and persona was somewhat borrowed. Looking back on this release, it’s relatively easy to see why many fans consider this to be part of the classic era of AFI.

The EP opened with “Fall Children”, a track that undeniably defined everything that was great about the band. The song began with slow, ominous guitar picking and Davey Havok singing in a lower register, before exploding into a beautiful cacophony. When I had first heard the band play this song live, it immediately cemented AFI as my favorite live band, primarily because of the energy the song evokes.

For the second track, the band aptly offered up a fitting tribute to the Misfits with their powerful version of “Halloween”. It was pretty clear that the Misfits were the main influence on everything that went into making this record. From the imagery on the front and back cover to the lyrical content and the gang background vocals, everything is steeped in a Misfits brew. It’s safe to say that when this EP came out, many fans had never heard the original version. As a result, AFI had introduced a new generation of fans to the horror-punk pioneers.

The fiery third track “The Boy Who Destroyed the World” and the poppier last track “Total Immortal” were two more examples of what was best about AFI: Havok’s falsetto howl backed by gang vocals, the tone and aggression of Jade Puget’s guitar and Hunter Burgan’s bass, and Adam Carson’s violent drumming. Both of these songs saw some commercial success. “The Boy Who Destroyed the World” appeared on the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, which introduced a lot of kids to the band for the first time. And “Total Immortal” was later covered by The Offspring and released on the soundtrack for Me, Myself, and Irene.

The All Hallow’s EP is one of my favorite records by AFI. To me and many fans of the band at the time, it was the epitome of what made the band amazing. The visual and sonic aspects of the record carried over with the release of The Art of Drowning the following year, but a period of transition ensued. Consequently, many fans view ‘99 and the All Hallow’s EP as a part of the golden years of AFI.