It is a seemingly rare feat in today’s music industry for a band to continuously reinvent themselves and in doing so, top their previous works. AFI is one of those rarities.
The quartet keep pushing the envelope and create work that is unique from their previous releases, yet sound so distinctly “AFI.” The Missing Man EP is no exception to this as it is one of their most sonically dynamic records to date.
Immediately Adam Carson’s punching drums fills the room with the EP’s opening track, “Trash Bat.” Expertly, the group uses sudden stops to drive this song’s momentum. Each instrument has its moment to shine during short and sweet verses before joining together to bring listeners a chorus that is classic AFI featuring a melodic chorus and the band’s signature gang vocals. Lead single “Get Dark” is another fast-paced track where Jade Puget’s guitar solo really makes this otherwise mediocre track (in comparison) shine. “Break Angels” is another uptempo song that exemplifies the new direction they are exploring. The synths add an ethereal element, which brings the listener to an otherworldly place that is enforced by Davey Havok words, “You are the light, I am the way.”
The Missing Man’s shining stars are “Back Into the Sun” and the EP’s title track. The former slows things down and keeps the simple, allowing for Havok’s vocal ability to shine through. His delivery adds to the poignant soundscape. While the latter, is truly what sets this EP apart from their previous works. Starting with an acoustic guitar and distorted vocals, it builds from there to eventually feature an emotionally haunting cello. It’s everything we didn’t know we needed in an AFI song.
Each song can stand on its own, yet when they are separated from each other, it becomes easier to pick out the weakest parts of the EP. However, The Missing Man EP as a whole blends seamlessly together to create an experience that allows longtime fans to be comforted by familiar past influences and also be enamored with their new direction. If this is just a taste of what’s to come during the band’s next era, old and new fans will be ravenous for AFI’s next chapter.
“Back Into the Sun”
Review by Leah Dickerman