AFI - 'The Blood Album' review
So, me and Nat are both long-term AFI fans, so I always feel the need to at least have a good listen to anything they put out. They've divided a lot of people since probably around 'Sing the Sorrow', when they started to drop the speed and aggression in favour of drama and theatrics, and they've continued to develop the latter for the past few albums since. Personally, I like that AFI change and grow with each album; their respective members are too creative to be the kind of band that churns out the same sounding stuff every couple of years, and I have a lot of respect for them for perpetually evolving over twenty years of being a band (my favourite albums are still 'The Art of Drowning', 'The All Hallows' EP, and 'Sing the Sorrow' though). So, this album sounds mostly like 'Crash Love'; it's not as dark, electronic, or mechanical sounding as their last effort 'Burials', but still retains that almost pop-rock sound that they tend to favour now. Don't expect much speed, but you'll find plenty of variety in dynamics; 'White Offerings' is the most aggressive of the bunch (and vaguely reminds me of 'The Leaving Song Part 2'), there are some upbeat catchy numbers like 'Hidden Knives', as well as some slower, moodier tunes like 'She Speaks the Language'. 'Pink Eyes' is a banger as well. Davey Havok is still a great vocalist; his balance of singing and shouting (of which the pitch of the former and harshness of the latter have both softened into a narrower but pleasant medium) definitely suits the scope of sounds on here, and Jade's general creative-wizardry is as wide and impressive as ever. Not sure if I imagined it, but I thought I heard lyrics touching on religion and gender-identity too, so that's cool. I think everyone misses old AFI, but if your music taste extends beyond punk and hardcore, and you're willing to give it a chance, there's plenty to enjoy on here.