AFI: From Punks to Goths
AFI never quite reached the levels of success of bands like My Chemical Romance or Fall Out Boy, but they've been around a whole lot longer -- they'll be celebrating two decades together next year, and they've just released one of their finest albums, Burials. Punks who came up on The Offspring's label around the same time as NOFX and Rancid, Davey Havok and company made solid thrash records with the occasional surprise ("pH Low" starts with an homage to The Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post," of all things). As the tunes grew slower and longer, Havok's goth-styled makeup began to sink in to the musical aesthetic as well. Finally they broke through: "Girl's Not Grey," "The Leaving Song Pt. 2" and "Miss Murder" put them on the map for many despite a whole decade of medium-sized audiences and Warped Tour respect. On the new album, the melodrama gives way to Johnny Marr-style guitar jangle and rich, spooky piano textures; it's likely the best thing they've done yet.