DEADLIGHTS with The Comfort, Vitals + VAELA – Crowbar, Brisbane – 21st April, 2017 Walking …
From anthemic punk-rock and screaming, hardcore ragers, to dashes of emo, post-hardcore and post-punk, AFI have nailed these sounds at varying points within their prestigious career, and on album #10—confidently self-titled, with the affectionate moniker of The Blood Album—the California four-piece has crafted another well-rounded and balanced effort, that tastefully nods to almost every era in the band’s 25 year history.
“A magnificent return to fan-favourite form with sharp, angular punk songs, infused with a nuanced blend of pop melodies, post-punk soundscapes and indie-rock influences.”
Launching into the triumvirate of Dark Snow, Still A Stranger and Aurelia, the band openly references their glory days, with expansive, melodic hooks and driving riffs reminiscent of classic, turn-of-century releases like The Art of Drowning and Sing The Sorrow. It’s a strong start, further bolstered by the harmonised guitar leads in Hidden Knives—courtesy of guitarist and principal songwriter Jade Puget—and the blasphemous So Beneath You, which finds vocalist Davey Havok hitting an epic chorus refrain before contemptuously calling out God in the bridge (I won’t kneel/I won’t bow/If you’re there God, strike me down/You won’t).
The album’s midsection brings greater variety, with catchy lead singles Snow Cats and White Offerings, alongside 80’s post-punk dalliances like Feed From The Floor and the excellent Above The Bridge, both of which feature shimmering synth-lines complemented by Hunter Burgan’s thrumming bass and drummer Adam Carson’s delicate percussive talents. Perfectly executed and gloriously rendered, AFI’s tenth album sidelines the radio-rock melodrama of recent records like Crash Love and Burials, instead opting for a magnificent return to fan-favourite form with sharp, angular punk songs, infused with a nuanced blend of pop melodies, post-punk soundscapes and indie-rock influences.