Christmas has come early for AFI fans with the somewhat surprising release of an EP to follow up last year’s self-titled ‘Blood Album’. The Californian veterans normally release an album every three years or so, but they haven’t dropped an EP since 2002. As such, this is exciting stuff, as rather than being a stop gap, ‘The Missing Man’ is the sound of a band seeing what they can do, spreading their wings a little and dabbling in multiple styles to showcase their versatility, yet simultaneously retaining their essence.
‘Trash Bat’ opens proceedings with a high-tempo frantic run through of classy emo-punk with a banger of a hook, before the eighties tinged goth-rock of ‘Break Angels’. It’s more serious, measured tone gives the song a darker feel, but it’s slickly put together and demonstrates how easily they shift vibes and how versatile they can be.
‘Back Into The Sun’ is next up with its steady rocking, guitar-heavy vibe. Driven by a nice crunchy riff, this heavy number boasts a slightly anthemic feel with rousing guitar lines leading into a big finish. ‘Get Dark’ provides more up-tempo rock with a defiant punky chorus and a pumping bass riff; once again there’s an 80s feel to underscore the smoking guitar solo and nice acoustic touches before the finish – quality.
‘The Missing Man’ brings it all to a stunning close; its sombre feel shows a more tender side, and it’s complemented by lovely guitar work, a killer chorus and a touch of violin to add some texture, before building to a rousing climax of soaring guitars. This is as classy a track as you are likely to hear.
What a great EP this is; AFI once again proving that they are a class act as they explore a variety of avenues, yet never sacrifice the core of their identity. Is it too late to change my EP of the year list?
‘The Missing Man’ EP by AFI is released on 7th December on Ex Noctem Nacimur.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)