If you love music that makes you blow the dust off your old air guitar and drum kit, AFI’s self-titled album, more commonly referred to as The Blood Album, is for you.
“Still A Stranger” brings the right amount of aggression and rock to the forefronts with its rolling drums and yelling vocals. Track four “Hidden Knives” is definitely a sing along, sure to be fun to belt out at their live shows. Davey Havok, lead vocalist and lyricist, has a bone to pick on “So Beneath You.” He takes the anti-religion punk stance, declaring “I won’t kneel, I won’t bow. If you’re there, God, strike me down.” Adam Carson’s infectious drumming makes me want to drum my heart out, even though I don’t play. The next track, as catchy as I find it, “Snow Cats” feels a bit repetitious and like the typical rock song to me. “Pink Eyes,” however, has an intro I just can’t get enough of. From Jade Puget’s fast-paced guitar work, with drums joining in soon after, matching the guitar’s speed — the song quickly pulls me in. Havok’s vocals complete the sound as he opens delicately, soon bringing in a harsher, more brash sound as the song picks up. The almost-harmonious background vocals are the exact final touch the song needs. “She Speaks the Language” has this eerie intro with distant strings and whispering that turns into this great guitar riff that I love, but I sadly don’t find the rest of the song quite as enticing. As a whole, The Blood Album is an intense and powerful album, but I’m left with feeling there’s a lack of a ballad.
Overall: AFI are masters at writing song intros that pull in listeners, while their intricate guitar and drum work are what turn listeners into fans. Where the album falls is in the absence of a true ballad that takes the album into a slow beat.
Review by Shane Haley