These long-running Bay Area goth-punks sold more than a million copies of their 2003 major-label debut, Sing the Sorrow, helping to pave the road that My Chemical Romance have followed to unlikely TRL ubiquity. On their seventh full-length, you can hear AFI trying to catch up with their young successors by blowing up their sound to even greater dimensions than producer Butch Vig managed on Sorrow. The high-gloss, higher-energy result is like a Rocky Horror Picture Show for screamo kids, with charismatic frontman Davey Havok as an asymmetrically coiffed Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Rousing choruses are AFI’s thing: virtually every song here explodes into one worth shouting along with at the top of your lungs — especially if you feel the weight of the world’s misery on your shoulders. “Can I make beauty stay if I take my life?”, Havok wonders in lead single “Miss Murder,” even as Jade Puget’s meaty guitars urge him on. In “Summer Shudder” he describes burning away under the summer rain as a sympathetic backing vocal chorus shores up his melancholy. Although they love drama, AFI never abandon believability here. Which means the arena-rock trappings don’t make the music feel fake — they just make it feel more exciting than life.
SHOUT! AFI’s high-gloss, high-energy Decemberunderground is like a Rocky Horror Picture Show for screamo kids.
AFI + DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN + NIGHTMARE OF YOU | Avalon, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston | June 20 | 617.228.6000
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