AFI may be miles away from the fast hardcore punk band they were 15 years ago, but they’ve always kept their fanbase interested with consistently exciting, although different, albums. Now, with a much more atmospheric darkened alternative rock sound, AFI return with larger than life album number nine, ‘Burials’, continuing their genre journey from where they left off during ‘Crash Love’ four years ago. The band may have turned down the eccentric style a touch since ‘Decemberunderground’, but the music still seems relevant and intriguing.
The production on ‘Burials’ is heavy and geared up to reflect the band’s appearance now; epic layered gothic rock built to haunt arenas with Davey Havok lapping up the attention. Lead single, ‘I Hope You Suffer’, is slow but has a typically catchy moving chorus and Havok at full emotion throughout. Lead-in introduction and album opener, ‘The Sinking Night’, triggers a scene setting with crescendo drums and a gothic rock feel that’s now expected from AFI over the last decade.
’17 Crimes’ is a punchy melodic song that fits perfectly as a single compared to ‘I Hope You Suffer’ in terms of showcasing the variation of ‘Burials’. The album shows that AFI can perform during slower eerie songs in ‘No Resurrection’ and ‘The Conductor’, and make them equally effective as the faster paced ‘Greater Than 84’ and ‘Wild’. Guitarist Jade Puget is able to write music of any variety for Havok to comfortably pen his poetic lyrics to. The band described the album as a “result of natural growth – a natural indication of where we are as songwriters now”, and the contrast between the depth in some of the songs adheres to that.
AFI may have left the influences of Misfits and Samhain in 2000 and replaced them with British horror bands The Sister Of Mercy and The Cure, yet they manage to maintain their status upon the rock elite. Davey Havok is the perfect pin-up frontman and their music remains fresh to keep up with the music scene.
‘Burials’ is perfect for latter day AFI listeners, and a couple of the tracks may even surprise pre-‘Sing The Sorrow’ fans, dare they ever give them a try. An expectedly decent return from the Californian genre-adapting rockers suggests that they’ll be doing this way past their milestone tenth album, so don’t get too comfortable just yet.
Written by Mike Heath