AFI – The Blood


Artist

Album

The Blood

Label

Republic/Caroline Australia

Year

2016

Genre

For Fans Of

Skrillex, The Getaway Plan, AFI's last two albums.

Summary

Catchy melodies & cringy lyrics, not unlike Tumblr

Rating

55 / 100

Hands up who remembers going through the “phase” in the good old year of 2007? Now keep that hand up if our cultures constant surge in nostalgia has caught you off-guard? Whether it be remakes of Age Of Empires, new Star Wars films, Nadal vs Federer, or the brand new AFI album, it’s safe to say that the universe is trying to remind us of our childhoods again – no matter how good or bad those times were.

As per this review, it’s the latter which I will be choosing to focus on here, offering some late thoughts on AFI’s latest offering, the ominously titled ‘The Blood, from the very same band that brought us ‘Miss Murder‘ back in the day.

The one thing that rings throughout this record is that AFI has progressed well as musicians over the last 10 or so years but have allowed themselves to thematically stagnate, the overall effect being one of negativity. Album opener ‘Dark Snow‘ can’t seem to make up its mind between being an emo anthem or a slice of alt-rock optimism. Likewise, Aurelia‘ and ‘Hidden Knives‘ both sound foreboding enough, right before breaking into poppy, catchy chorus’s that will stick in your head for hours.

However, charting into the album’s better highlights, the four-piece showcase a fantastic skill for writing killer melodies, with album highlight ‘Get Hurt‘ showcasing some tasteful guitar lead work as well.

AFI-2016

But for every good track here, there is an equal retraction.

So Beneath You‘ showcases exactly the kind of cringe that one would suspect might afflict a modern AFI record, opening with the god awful line of “I don’t believe that I could stay here and watch them vilify my blood” before hitting a chorus of “I won’t leave, I won’t bow, If they dare they’ll strike me down”, all to the sound of a clunky riff that sounds like a high school band in their first ever jam session.

Furthermore, the mournful march of ‘Snow Cats‘ ends up feeling more like a desperate take-me-back rather than a well-thought out piece of art.

Overall, ‘The Blood‘ will both surprise you with its unexpected brilliance and bring you crashing back down to earth with its lack of artistic maturity. But perhaps this AFI as we’ve always known (and deep down loved) from day one. Different, weird and surely not the kind of stuff we would normally listen to…and just because I whistle it for hours after hearing it doesn’t mean that I like it, damn it!

Conclusion

AFI’s new album is void of any real classic tunes, much like the ones that litter their previous output. ‘The Blood’ is an album that you would love to hate but just can’t because the music is admittedly pretty darn cool. However, lyrically it does sound like a 15-year-old trying to vent his feelings about the world around him, whilst musically it sounds like four grown musicians, who are actually pretty good at what they do, merely doing what they have done for years now.

Tracklisting

Dark Snow

Still A Stranger

Aurelia

Hidden Knives

Get Hurt

Above The Bridge

So Beneath You

Snow Cats

Dumb Kids

Pink Eyes

Feed From The Floor

White Offerings

She Speaks The Language

The Wind That Carries Me Away

‘The Blood’ is out now via Caroline Australia. 

5 Responses to “AFI – The Blood”

  1. chump

    I’ve given this a few listens and it’s still not all that memorable or exciting. Pretty disappointing, since I thought Burials was excellent and afi killled it at SW on that tour cycle.

    • Alex Sievers Alex Sievers

      I love AFI but yeah, I’m with you and Alasdair – album’s severely average.

      Also, yes! That SW run was sick – both the Melbourne sideshow and the actual festival set.

  2. Owen Morawitz Owen Morawitz

    Unpopular opinion here, but I really enjoyed this record and I think it’s their best work since ‘Sing the Sorrow’. It’s got the best bits of their post-punk, 80’s nostalgia influences, some huge choruses and chord progressions that go back to their late 90’s/early 2000’s material. Plus, I didn’t really care for the overt pop-sheen of ‘Crash Love’ and ‘Burials’ either.

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