AFI
AFI (The Blood Album)


2.0
poor

Review

by Robert Lowe STAFF
January 19th, 2017 | 251 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Two steps back, zero steps forward.

Comparing a band’s latest offering incessantly against the band’s oeuvre is almost always unfair. Every album deserves an attempt to stand on its own, and unrealistic expectations often hamper the experience of hearing new music. But when AFI decided to self title their new record, and model the artwork after their biggest hit Sing The Sorrow, all bets were off. To make matters worse, AFI (The Blood Album) is unabashedly similar to all of AFI’s post-The Art of Drowning output. It has all the brooding post-punk influences of Burials, the hooks of Crash Love, the aggression often found in Sing The Sorrow, and more than anything the unevenness of Decemberunderground. But that’s why it’s impossible not to compare, the homage to past records is all The Blood Album has going for it - it has no personality of its own. AFI combine elements from their last four albums and churn out a lifeless, personalityless record that is worse than the albums it apes.

The 80s post-punk influences from Burials are largely still intact, but they feel stifled, are less abundant, and often can’t compete with AFI’s desire to make pop-rock. Blood Album isn’t quite as poppy as Crash Love or Decemberunderground, or as brooding as Burials, which results in an extremely uneven sound, with two distinct styles fighting for supremacy. The more accessible bits of the record, like the autotuned “whoas” on “Dark Snow,” and the mind numbing repetitive hooks found on “Dumb Kids” and “Get Hurt” do more damage than good; the sickening accessibility is more annoying than anything. AFI is at its best on tracks like “Above The Bridge,” and “She Speaks The Language” when there’s darkness, moodiness and keyboards, and the music actually reflects the cover of the album. Regarding the more pop rock direction, “Hidden Knives” is the only track of said ilk that that really works, largely due to the exceptional guitar playing that is absent from much of the rest of the record. AFI is at its worst on a track like “So Beneath You,” which sounds so uncomfortably similar to “Kill Caustic” it’s chilling. When it comes to feeling uninspired, the lyrics are perhaps the worst offender - they mostly play out like vocalist Davey Havok composing AFI themed Mad Libs. Get out your “I’m so macabre, but in a romantic way” bingo cards because Davey drops a lot of words and lines like “blood, disbeliever, heart, scream, vilify, boy, distress, given up, romance, buried, broke the skin, no more tears, shadow, flesh on flesh, and our reflections are the same” seemingly at random. The most embarrassing song lyrically has to be “So Beneath You,” an atheist anthem that would have failed to be edgy 20 years ago. Musically and lyrically, The Blood Album has nil to offer that AFI hasn’t done similarly, but in a much more proficient way.

The biggest fault with The Blood Album is that there’s zero fresh ideas, and there’s no ambition; saying AFI is on autopilot on this record would be an insult to all the work autopilots do. I listened to Sing The Sorrow in anticipation for this record, and “Silver and Cold” has been stuck in my head ever since. Nothing on The Blood Album comes close to that level of memorable; even the lowest moments on the record are bad in a completely forgettable way. To reiterate, comparisons are a bitch, but AFI’s self titled album doesn’t have enough character to be discussed on its own, and rarely does it compare to the catchiness of “17 Crimes,” or the atmosphere of “The Interview,” the boldness of the last track into the hidden track of Sing The Sorrow - none of AFI’s greatness shines through. The Blood Album is clearly being marketed as a sort of comeback record/nostalgia trip for the band, but its lack of depth, risk, and general competent songwriting makes for AFI’s least engaging album to date. Even free of comparisons, The Blood Album isn’t original or interesting enough to engage me - so I’ll guess I’ll just listen to Sing The Sorrow on repeat until AFI can come up with something better.



Recent reviews by this author
bansheebeat Techo DeluxeSorority Noise You're Not As ____ As You Think
Darkest Hour Godless Prophets and The Migrant FloraThe Menzingers After the Party
Tegan and Sara Love You to DeathBurial Young Death/Nightmarket
user ratings (181)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
nightbringer (4)
Anguish gives way to glamour...

Dillon T. (5)
Call it a fusion of sounds, a new direction wearing an old dress, or the distillation of everything ...

cagedbutterfly (3)
A dying fire inside....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2017


54907 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This is out in the Eastern hemisphere so here we go!



I'm been listening to nothing but AFI for the past week and a half and this is definitely their worst

Digging: Benton Falls - Fighting Starlight

MarsKid
January 19th 2017


4497 Comments


Never listened to these guys but good review, spiritual pos

Digging: Lupe Fiasco - Tetsuo and Youth

Satellite
January 19th 2017


24250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review treb. what i've heard from this was spectacularly mediocre.

Digging: MDC - Millions Of Dead Cops

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2017


54907 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks guys



I'm kind of shocked by the average, but it's still early

TooManyFriends
January 19th 2017


2336 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i wish so beneath you sounded like kill caustic, that song is a banger

onionbubs
January 19th 2017


5243 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wanted to like this more than i do. dark snow and hunting knives are pretty good songs

Digging: Alkaline Trio - Broken Wing

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 19th 2017


23381 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2 | Sound Off

have only heard the singles from this so far



this is a good review but I think I'll like this more

Digging: The New Year - Snow

MarsKid
January 19th 2017


4497 Comments


Always interesting to see when reviews and ratings go into conflict.

WatchItExplode
January 19th 2017


4728 Comments


Dude, "lifeless, personalityless" reads horribly. Try a lifeless record devoid of personality maybe.

It's a bit sad how far this band has fallen.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 19th 2017


23381 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2 | Sound Off

I like Crash Love to an extent, so I'm holding out hope for this. I imagine there's probably a decent amount of filler though so I'd guess this will end up like a 3.5 for me.

accompliceofmydeath
January 19th 2017


4563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Settin' the bar low for this at least.

Digging: Life of Agony - A Place Where There's No Pain

TooManyFriends
January 19th 2017


2336 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yo treb there is no song on this album called "nothing above"

Artuma
January 19th 2017


27961 Comments


a three-paragraph trebor review? damn dude you really went wild on this one

Digging: Potence - L'Amour Au Temps De La Peste

ClintDangerous
January 19th 2017


46 Comments


when I heard the first second of Snow Cats, I was hyped
but then the 22 second mark was hit
and now I want this band to go away

GreyShadow
January 19th 2017


1434 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really like this and I think it's far better than Burials. There's nothing even as close to as bad as I Hope You Suffer so that's a good sign and although the record does feel rushed, there's a lot of good.

Still A Stranger, Pink Eyes, and She Speaks The Language are all outstanding and definitely all sound better than everything off of Burials for me.

I'd say the weaker tracks are the singles, Above The Bridge, and Get Hurt, especially the latter 2.

This album lacks the depth of their past efforts and suffers because of it which is a shame because I really like the direction of all of these.



Digging: Mew - Visuals

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2017


12566 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yeah, this was quite cringey for me.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2017


54907 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"yo treb there is no song on this album called "nothing above"



thanks for the heads up, it's So Beneath You, but I confused it with the actual lyrics

EvoHavok
January 19th 2017


6553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's on par with Burials for now. Could've been more, but some filler and lyrics dragged it down.

Digging: Dir En Grey - TOUR16-17 -mode of ??-

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2017


54907 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"Dude, "lifeless, personalityless" reads horribly. Try a lifeless record devoid of personality maybe."



I like the hard stop, and the way the sentence fumbles tbh

WatchItExplode
January 19th 2017


4728 Comments


All good. Fumble away.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2016 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy