Review Summary: An amazing, although short, EP by AFI.
Davey Havok – Vocals
Jade Puget – Guitar
Hunter – Bass Guitar
Adam Carson - Drums
In May of 1999, California's AFI (A Fire Inside) released one of their pinnacle records, Black Sails In The Sunset
. This CD marked a pretty big leap for the band and many still claim it to be their best. A few weeks before releasing this CD, they released the Black Sails EP
. The EP itself contains three songs found on the full length along with one other song recorded during the making of Black Sails In The Sunset
. This is also the first release that featured the band's new guitarist, Jade Puget.
The EP starts out with Porphyria
, the full title being Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
on the full-length. The song explodes into action almost as soon as it starts. It's a quick and short song but a very powerful one. During the faster moments, it almost seems as if each band member is pushing one another forward while Davey shouts great lyrics with a theme of unity over top. The chorus feels very strong with the rest of the band shouting along with Davey. The only difference between this version and the one found on the full CD is the guitar feedback at the end missing that would normally lead into Exsanguination
The next two songs are two of my personal favorites from the full-length. First up is Malleus Maleficarum
. This is a slower song when compared to the previous one, but that doesn't mean it's tame by any means. The verses are a little more subdued with more focus being put on the drums and vocals. The chorus explodes with a lot of emotion and energy however, and feels heavier in contrast to the verses. Where this song particularly shines though is lyrically. Davey takes the theme of the Salem witches being persecuted and killed, and relates it in an interesting way to the persecution people endure nowadays as well as being proud of who you are.
The Prayer Position
My skin is singed but it heals my heart
And with glowing pride I’ll wear my scars
I’m honored by your hatred
Leaves fall, we arise again
And the end impending, it will begin
So welcome as it’s burning through
combines the speed, aggressiveness, and energy from the first two tracks. The guitar is heavy and plays very catchy riffs throughout the song. Hunter's bass is solid, playing a nice little run before the outro that spices up the bass line nicely. The drums keep things moving along at a good pace and hold their own. The bridge mixes things up by slowing and quieting things down before exploding again to finish the song. Davey's vocals along with Jade's background vocals are very good and again this song contains great lyrics.
I can’t help but fear
Look to my species and tremble
To think that God is just…
The last song, Who Knew?
, is the “exclusive” material to this EP. The Black Sails EP
ends much the way it started, with a fast paced but short song. The song pushes onward and doesn't let up, save for a brief moment during the bridge. This is an intense song, again, with the band members pushing each other along. Davey delivers another great vocal and lyrical performance and the addition of gang vocals shouting “life” during the chorus is nice. The way the band falls back in a way, leaving mainly only vocals during the bridge, and then explodes back into action is really great.
This is a very hard EP to obtain since it is out of print and only 5,000 copies were made. It's essential to any die-hard AFI fans, though not as much for a more casual fan since three quarters of this can be found on the full-length. It would've been nice if the song Lower It
was included on here, which can only be found on the vinyl version of Black Sails In The Sunset
and now the compilation that was released a little while ago. The only two things wrong with this are the fact that there are only four songs and that only one of them is exclusive to this release. This is AFI around the heaviest stage of their musical evolution. Each song is very strong musically, vocally, and lyrically.