Review : Afi – Burials (CD)

(Written by Julien-Pierre Maltais)

A semi-long haired me, popping ollies in my mother’s driveway as Davey Havok screams about desolation and discovering what’s inside. Disturbing enough?

As much as i’d like to deny it with the emo wave that was soon to follow (and all these teen dudes wearing makeup and thinking they were fucking werewolves), AFI’s Sing the Sorrow is still to this day one of my favorite albums. As much as it was a defining moment in my young rock and roll life, it’s now also a reminder of greener times, times where I didn’t have car payments, rent and electricity bills waiting to destroy my bank account every month. Everytime I decide to let the Gods decide about my musical faith (read: enable the shuffle option on my iPhone) and that Havock’s voice shines through my car speakers, I have this warm feeling flowing through me : Girls aren’t grey.

I’m still a little undecided about wether I dig their previous release, Crash Love. Yeah, it’s rock and roll, and it has this pop-esque feeling that I think can mix quite well with the punk scene, but it ain’t exactly my cup of tea, so when I heard that they came out with a new album, I had to get into the nearest Archambault and buy me a copy.

I knew the album had been out for a couple of days, so I thought « Hey, it’s probably gonna be on that big wall with all the other best sellers of the week! » Hum, not exactly.

I asked the first employee I could find where the hell AFI’s new baby was hidding at.

« It’s upstairs in the punk section »

Hum, okay, AFI isn’t cool anymore, I get it. The original punk rockers are still chilling to Pennywise’s defiance of authority with their tattooed girlfriends, and the emo scene moved towards…hell I don’t know what the hell they moved to. Fuck.

AFI’s newest release came around the same time I got a new car, so two things were on my mind:

1) I need to drive.

2) I need to listen to AFI.

I get in the car, tear the annoying packaging on the CD (they haven’t gotten rid of that thing yet? I might need to grow fingernails) and pop the CD in my CD player.

Oh, does AFI love a good intro! Misera Cantare, is that you? The Sinking NightBurial‘s first song, reminds us of what AFI is capable of. I always have these conversations with my friends about track listings. What song should be first? You don’t wanna give the listener your best shot on the first track, do you? Where do you put the ballad? The first single should always be song number 3, right?

The album’s intro, as well as the second song, I Hope You Suffer, go hand in hand with a slow fade from the first one to the second. Carson’s drums are powerful as always, and as a drummer, I’m feeling damn good about this piece of work.

I could probably give you my whole review of the album track by track, but it would take forever, and let’s be honest, if you haven’t X’d me by now, you might be on the very edge of doing so, so let me point out the pros and cons of this album.

AFI chose to have I Hope You Suffer and 17 Crimes for singles (to this date). Good pick, guys. Both songs are a somehow good depiction of what’s in there, and even if I were more enclined to listen to 17 Crimes at first, it’s actually their very first single I Hope You Suffer that I now prefer. Whilst the first one is pop-ier, the second is, well, darker. Havok said in an interview that this album was created during a troubling time, but hey, does it ever look like white beaches, margaritas and stable relationships for that dude?

Not to be forgotten is the electro-industrial influence from Havok and Pudget’s solo project, Blaqk Audio. It’s heavily noticable on The Embrace, a song I didn’t really dig at first but grew to like a lot. While Heart Stopsis very pop and could’ve probably been featured on Crash Love, it just might end up turning you into a happy bubble-head. Powerful choruses were always AFI’s forte, and A Deep Slow PanicRewindGreater Than 84 andWild are just perfect exemples of that. You’d sometimes wish they’d turn down the synths, but hey, whatever floats their boat is mostly okay with me. Song constructions are somewhat simple, but whilst they are, from album to album, trying to sort of reinvent themselves, they are definitely not trying to change a winning formula.

On the negative side, lyrics are repetitive, but not in a sense that they repeat themselves verse for verse; after a few listens, you just wanna hug the poor fool. I mean, okay, shit’s rough, and you’re heartbroken, and christmas is probably gonna suck for you this year, but come on. Have a beer, go see some buddies and keep your chin up. AFI’s love for misery is a double edge sword : the lyrics carry a lot of emotion, and it might help a few people out there, but after 49 minutes of misery and betrayal, you kinda want to pop in a happier CD.

All in all, AFI’s Burial is a very good piece of work. Is it their best? Maybe not. Is it their worst? Hell no. Will it be in my regular rotation for another few weeks? You can count on it.


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