I’ve had a very difficult time writing this review. Not because it’s a bad album, but because I’m probably one of the biggest AFI fans out there and all I want to do is gush about how abso-fucking-loutly amazing this album is. To put my fandom in perspective I should let you know that I have been a fan for about 14 years. I have seen them live 16 times(here’s my latest AFI concert review ), I have 3 AFI tattoos, I own enough AFI shirts that I could wear a different one each day for the next 2 weeks and still have 1 or 2 to choose from for week 3. I buy limited edition colored vinyl of all their albums and take them to get signed. Yes, I actually buy the physical copy of all of their albums and last, but not least I am a 32 year old man who is in the Despair Faction (AFI fan club). It’s a bit sick. I fully admit it and now that you know that my rose colored lenses are deeply embedded in my skull let’s proceed with the review of this incredible album shall we?
From “The Sinking Night” to “The Face Beneath The Waves” this album is fantastic. I love everything about it and not just because I’m a fanboy, but because it absolutely shows the one thing I want to hear most from a band album to album and that is growth. When you can’t tell the difference between one release to the next from a band it’s just awful because you can’t help but get bored with them. Which is one of the things I love so much about AFI. Every album shows growth, progression, and an evolution of their sound.
With Black Sails in the Sunset they got much darker while still holding some hardcore roots, with The Art of Drowning it became a bit more melodic and gothy, Sing The Sorrow brought crisp melancholy and some electronic enhancements, Decemberunderground really started to show their story telling prowess and the next evolutionary leap of their music, Crash Love brought a pop oriented new wave direction to the music yet still managed to keep true to the band and now we have Burials which is a culmination of everything to date.
All throughout this album are guitar riffs and bass lines that would have been right at home in Decemberunderground, Sing The Sorrow, or Crash Love. There are drum lines that I swear were lifted, and enhanced, from Answer That and Stay Fashionable, Black Sails, and The Art of Drowning. Then you have Davey Havok’s vocals which are in the best shape they have ever been in. There are some of the gritty vocals I fell in love with from the early days of Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes. Some of the smoother, but still angsty vocals from mid catalog and plenty of the crisp and finely tuned vocals we have come to expect as of late.
If you think I’m only saying this because I’m a wide eared fan boy with rose tinted eardrums then I implore you to listen to “17 Crimes” after listening to Crash Love and tell me how that whole song could not have easily been at home there (even if it would have stuck out just a wee bit due to the progression). Listen to “I Hope You Suffer” and it just exudes Black Sails stylistic influences which seamlessly mix with some of the melodies and breakdowns from Sing The Sorrow. Also, the intro and guitar work on “Greater Than 84” could have easily come from Decemberundergroud. This album is an amazing culmination of all of AFI’s stylistic changes and talent to date including some Blaqk Audio influences on “The Embrace” and “Wild”.
I could honestly wax poetic about this album for hours, which my buddy Calin (another AFI uberfan) and I have done several times with a couple of glasses of Rye, but it really boils down to this. AFI’s Burials is a great album and a phenomenal culmination of their talents and evolution as artists.