California’s AFI are synonymous with the alternative rock and emo staple. With platinum albums, countless tours and festivals, Davey Havok and company could be considered living legends. With a career as prolific can they still hit the mark with tenth studio album ‘AFI (The Blood Album)’?
Leadoff singles, ‘Snow Cats’ and ‘White Offerings’, soon reassured fans doubts, clearly showing AFI are still capable of producing something relevant for fans old and new. The rest of the album does not disappoint either. Openers ‘Dark Snow’ and ‘Still A Stranger’ seem familiar but in the best of ways. They ignite nostalgia; the feeling that an old friend is in contact again, and sets the tone perfectly. Elsewhere, the atmospheric, dulcet tones of songs such as ‘Aurelia’ and ‘Feed from the Floor’ float elegantly and effortlessly, whilst ‘Hidden Knives’ showcase the band’s heavier side in a convincing flurry of riffs and hooks.
There is a definite formulaic approach to AFI’s songwriting but this has proved more than successful over their long tenure atop the alt rock/emo mountain. To say this is classic AFI would be an injustice. Although they follow a clear blueprint, tracks such as ‘Above The Bridge’ come off as fresh and edgy, as guitars and vocals weave together seamlessly.
With their very own Jade Pudget co-producing, ‘The Blood Album’ perfectly captures a band still at the peak of their talents. Davey Havok croons in his unmistakable fashion, breathing life into every vocal throughout, elevating some interesting musicianship to create 50 minutes to rival any previous effort.
‘The Blood Album’ shows a clear progression for a band that consistently show why they should be considered a heavyweight amongst their peers. It is a welcomed addition to an already decorated back catalogue.
‘AFI (The Blood Album)’ by AFI is released on 20th January on Concord Records.
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Words by Jay Harrison (@Just_Jay_89)