I don’t often tend to reach for punk rock or emo in my everyday life, and this album reminds me why. AFI is a band that has developed its sound over the years and this album screams a band that is very comfortable with itself: maybe too comfortable?
The album opener, Dark Snow, is pretty bland and boring; the climax fails to encourage any sort of energy within me and the lyrics are generic and disinteresting. What does “feels like my afterlife” even mean?
The next two songs aren’t awful, but again fail to engage me in any way. I’m not sure what those songs even sounded like when thinking about it. But, the energy of the album picks up for me with the upbeat and punk rock Hidden Knives. I quite liked the melody of this song and as a whole its a fairly catchy song: the lyrics aren’t nearly as dull this time, so I’m generally happy.
The progress was short lived: once I got to the following song, I was tempted to not bother listening to the rest of the album. Every song seems to place emphasis on using a refrain, over and over and over.
After some more songs not worth mentioning, the next song that I prefer above the rest is So Beneath You; its slightly more interesting and seems to be a bit more unstable which for me makes more interesting listening.
The next song I quite like is White Offerings, although annoying with AFI’s signature over-repeating of refrains.
The most interesting song is She Speaks The Language, which actually broke up the album and presented a vibe different from the rest of the songs. It sounds more mature, is darker and brought the tempo down a notch. The Wind That Carries Me Away is also not too bad with a slightly more grungy sound, and again I think I enjoyed the slight versatility it offered.
Thankfully the album is over after this song. I’ll admit it wasn’t painful listening and I’m sure there are plenty who will love this album, but I found the whole thing far too predictable, which is the saddest thing when listening to a new album. The songs were pretty basic lyrically and relied on lines that seemed to make no real sense in attempts to sound deep, and songs blurred from one to the next. Occasional changes in tempo helped to give the album some more dimension, but this could have been further incorporated. Overall I don’t hate this album, but I’m probably never gonna bother listening to it again.
Best songs: Hidden Knives, So Beneath you, She speaks the language