Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Artist of the Day: AFI

Most bands rarely see their career extend past more than just a handful of albums. The four-piece alternative rock band AFI have released 8 full-lengths, with 9th right around the corner, and they're only getting better. From hardcore to pop punk to electronica and hard rock, AFI have not only done it all, but succeeded in all aspects of the industry.

AFI started as a punk band in the high school years of vocalist Davey Havok and guitarists Mark Stopholese and Vic Chalker. Drummer Adam Carson was added to drums, and the then-named Anthem For Insubordinates was born. After a short breakup, the band reformed under the name A Fire Inside and released the punk record Answer That and Stay Fashionable. In the years following, the band would continue to explore traditional punk and hardcore territory with their releases Very Proud of Ya and Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes. With Black Sails in the Sunset, a darker sound propelled the band into the direction that they would take with the much-loved The Art of Drowning. Their goth-punk image, complete with makeup and tight black t-shirts, would push the band into the mainstream when Sing the Sorrow hit the mainstream. The more accessible, poppy sound ditched the shrieks and snapping kick-snare drum beats of earlier records and, as a result, the band's career exploded.

Decemberunderground added a more pronounced synth to their dark sound and turned the tables on their fans with a bright white motif spanning their artwork and clothing. "Miss Murder" climbed the charts and remains a recognizable anthem to this day. The band reverted from the more technical and layered sound of Decemberunderground with Crash Love. The record's straight rock-driven hooks blaze through radio-friendly choruses with Havok's signature croons, distancing the band from their previous record. After several years and some time spent with their electronic side project Blaqk Audio, Havok and Jade Puget began to write their newest record which will be released this October.

If you've never been a fan of AFI outside of "Miss Murder" or "Girls Not Grey," consider this a wake up call. Most die-hard fans will stand by the band's fast and heavy tunes of their youth, while the mid-2000's emo resurgence will forego that in favor of their newer catchier releases. Check out the All Hallows EP for the two fan-favorite tracks "The Boy Who Destroyed The World" and "Totalimmortal"  a blending of their punk and rock sounds. The Art of Drowning is essential, with the brooding"Ever and a Day" and the dissonant head bobber "Days of the Phoenix." Leaning to the hardcore side? "A Single Second" is a blistering two-minute fireball on Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes. Experimental genre mash more up your alley? Sing the Sorrow's "Death of Seasons" blends punk, metal, electronic and pop. If you're a fan of rock music in any of its forms, there's something for you.

AFI are gearing up to release their newest album Burials on October 22nd. In a direct 180 from Crash Love, the band is once again layering guitars, but this time with stadium-quality drum production. Everything sounds bigger and deeper, creating an expansive atmosphere. You can check out their newest videos for "I Hope You Suffer" and "17 Crimes" for a taste of what's to come. If you haven't been an AFI fan before, now's the time to drop into their pool of darkness, click play and take it all in.

The band is currently on tour with Touche Amore and Coming. Check out the dates on their website and be sure to catch their spectacular live set in your city.


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