I remember hearing all this hubbub about a band called AFI when I was younger. A bunch of older kids at my bus stop ranted and raved about how good they were, and I specifically remember one kid always wearing an AFI shirt. I went out to a local record store (remember when those existed?) and picked up the first album I saw, Shut Your Mouth And Open Your Eyes. From the first pick scrape on the guitar, I was hooked. I followed intently with every release, and genuinely loved the darker direction they began to progress to. There is without a doubt many readers here that were in the same boat. When 2003 rolled around, AFI was dead for a lot of long time fans. I know that stubborn ass me was pretty pissed that the punkier aspect was left in the dust for a more commercial appeal. Older, more educated me would end up really enjoying Sing The Sorrow and would long for the band to gravitate back towards that sound.

I waste so many words giving you this back story because I have been pretty critical of AFI's last couple releases, ESPECIALLY the horrendous Crash Love from back in 2009. I had honestly lost all hope for an album that I would enjoy in my adult years. When teasers started popping up this year, I was somewhat encouraged by Davey Havok wearing a leather jacket with a studded upside down cross. I mean, that's dark and serious right? Anywho, Burials can be described as a weird combo of everything AFI has released since 2003. Oddly, this yields a positive result, at least with my ears.

The first single released, "I Hope You Suffer", really took a couple listens to sink in. I was reminded of Nine Inch Nails with the electronic element being prominent in the mix, and I liked hearing Davey sound angry again for a change. I even like the dark imagery present in the music video, but even I can admit Davey acting all serious is fucking hilarious. The second single, "17 Crimes", was a lot more poppy but had a very atmospheric and dark tone to it. I found myself getting into the hooks and not really feeling too bad about it. After repeat listens to Burials on vinyl, I can honestly say I really enjoy this album. There are tons of dynamics and layers found throughout this album, and the hooks POP when they need to. There is a couple straight rockers on here with "Greater Than 84" and "Anxious" and more electronic heavy numbers like "The Conductor" and album closer "The Face Beneath The Waves".

Bassist Hunter Burgan is probably the album highlight for me. Throughout his contributions dating back to 1999's Black Sails In The Sunset, his bass parts have been acrobatic and always grabbed my attention while listening. Listen to 17 Crimes to hear what I'm talking about. Havok's vocals range from pissed off screams to the more mainstream rock style we've been more accustomed to. I thought I would be more critical of the electronic elements present in AFI's music, especially considering that Havok and guitarist Jade Pudget have a strictly electronic side project, Blaqk Audio, to dump the experimental stuff into. However, all beats and synth parts are utilized creatively and help the song, rather than just being there for no reason. The glaring exception being "Heart Stops", I really don't know why the fuck they put this song on the album, it sticks out like a sore thumb and is just a glorified 80's dark pop imitation.

Longtime fans of AFI that may have jumped off the ship may want to consider checking this album out. Not to mention that after catching AFI on their Fall tour, they really seem to be embracing their back catalog and playing those songs really well. Obviously 1997-2002 AFI isn't coming back but why the fuck would they? I mean, we all have to grow up sometime right?