AFI greets 2017 with a new album titled AFI (The Blood Album). Released Jan. 20, this 14-track composition looks to reinforce the band’s hardcore punk style — and not much else. In AFI (The Blood Album), the band takes a conservative approach to what they do best and is careful not to cross many lines of imagination.
The record stays true to AFI’s style of rushed drum patterns, energetic vocals and elegant electric and acoustic guitars, so much so that they make the point evident in every song. In fact, if you listen to the first half of the album, you’ve pretty much already listened to the second half of the album, too.
Other than a couple tracks like “Snow Cats” and “She Speaks the Language,” most of the songs don’t stray far from the same formula. Each track begins with either lyrics or guitar riffs and inevitably transitions into more bare bones bridges and choruses, and then transfers back to hurried drum patterns and harsh guitar riffs right on cue.
Although there’s not much variety, there is merit in how well AFI can keep up this style of song structure. The whole project maintains a constant intensity that never fails in hyping me up. Vocalist Davey Havok does a good job keeping each song and its lyrics thematically contained, and he shows that he still has a knack for working his vocals with the production. Every transition from one part of a song to another is executed well and feels very natural, albeit predictable.
The only track on the album that contains explicit language, “Still a Stranger,” also features a vocal bridge that embraces a darker, more distorted tone that feels very satisfying. AFI should embrace smaller changes like this that don’t disrupt the tone of the album but still showcase a bit of versatility.
Fourteen tracks of extremely similar music structure and composition makes the album seem like a large undertaking for those who are new to AFI. However, only two of these songs go beyond the four-minute mark, which makes listening to the album in one sitting surprisingly comfortable.
If you live your life vicariously through YouTube montages of Halo 3 gameplay from 2008, I wholeheartedly recommend this album. It represents AFI’s goal in establishing themselves as the MVPs of hardcore punk. However, if you like to occasionally take it slow and see a band stretch the limits of their own creatively, be wary of picking this up.
AFI (The Blood Album) gets a 7 out of 10.
Contact CU Independent Arts Writer Alvaro Sanchez at email@example.com.