Album Review - AFI, Burials

AFI started their career as a punk band with short and furious songs. Over the course of their last few albums, they’ve changed into more of a rock band, much calmer and more melodic. Burials is the perfect progression of this change, and the sound that I’ve always hoped AFI would develop. I’ve come to expect certain things from an AFI album: an introductory song that is totally different in structure from the songs that will proceed it, but that tells the listener all they need to know about the sound of these upcoming songs; choir-like backing vocals; and the most satisfying bridges I’ve ever heard in a song. Burials lives up to each of these expectations.

Burials feature

01 - The Sinking Night A slow, melodic taste of what’s to come. It seems as if the band meditated on each note until they were sure that the song would provide an honest hint towards the overall sound of Burials.

02 - I Hope You Suffer The first single released, ‘I Hope You Suffer’ set the tone for what was advertised as AFI’s return to their signiture dark-and-moody tone. This was the song I listened to as I waited for the release, and when I finally heard it in between the other songs, it became clear that it had been the perfect single to best represent Burials.

03 - A Deep Slow Panic If I had to give one song on this album the title of Purest AFI Song, it would be ‘A Deep Slow Panic’. It is exactly the sound that I’ve come to expect from an AFI song, and it’s utterly delicious to listen to.

04 - No Resurrection This is a powerhouse of dynamic variation (the changing volume and speed of a song): one second it’s a muted echo of a guitar note, the next it’s the scream of the entire band kicking in; it tricks the listener into thinking that it’s ending, only to excite them when it flares up again.

05 - 17 Crimes ’17 Crimes’ introduces a livelier sound to the previously grim and angry Burials. The surprisingly bright guitar riff drives the song, encouraging the vocals to follow suit. This is probably the pop-iest song AFI have ever made; turns out they’re excellent at pop songs

06 - The Conductor My favourite song on the album, ‘The Conductor’ is driven by a guitar riff that makes me want to dance more than any song I’ve heard recently. I get uncontrollably excited whenever I hear the lyric “Don’t cut the connection”, because it signals the return of that guitar riff that has been teased throughout the rest of the song.

07 - Heart Stops ‘Heart Stops’ is probably the weakest song on Burials, but that doesn’t mean it’s a weak song on its own. If any song was going to earn AFI the title of Triple J Darling, it’s ‘Heart Stops’. This is the song that best shows AFI’s status as Rock Band.

08 - Rewind I thought this was following the form of ‘Heart Stops’ to be another simple song with few layers. And then I heard another layer begin, and then another, until there were so many subtle but precise notes being played that it became one of the most interesting songs on the album.

09 - The Embrace This belongs to the bass. So much so that I made a terrible pun, calling it ‘The Embass’. The bass is so deep and resonating that it almost sounds as if your speaker itself is shaking - but somehow this manages to sound good in this case.

10 - Wild I hadn’t expected AFI to sound this electronic since their 2006 album Decemberunderground. ‘Wild’ manages to to make a typical Burials song - heavy guitars, throbbing bass, moody drums - shine with the merging of this electronic sound.

11 - Greater Than 84 By far, the best part of ‘Greater Than 84’ is the perfectly pitched vocals of Davey Havok. His voice manages to be a gutteral scream that remains sparklingly clear, and ‘Greater Than 84’ sees the return of this odd mixture.

12 - Anxious ‘Anxious’ is reminiscent of the punk sound of old AFI albums. It rings with the sounds of Decemberunderground and Sing the Sorrow, ut manages to bring these past sounds up to the quality and clarity of Burials. ‘Anxious’ almost made me forget that I was listening to a brand new album, and not a long-lost song from the band’s frantic punk years.

13 - The Face Beneath the Waves The verse of ‘The Face Beneath the Waves’ is one massive build-up of tense excitement, until the chorus is unleashed to give the listener everything they were promised by the whole of the album they just listened to. It is the perfect end to Burials, concluding everything that ‘The Sinking Night’ initiated.

Burials in seven words? Perfect mix of sounds for new album.

Alana Young

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