The Art of Drowning
Hmm, this CD by melodic hardcore East Bay quartet AFI starts with a very goth-metal sounding 39 second instrumental intro, and the cover features a cartoon-style drawing of a snowy graveyard. “Yikes,” methought, “another punk band that listened to too much metal in their formative years.” Then the record began in earnest and proved me wrong. Not about having listened to metal, that is clearly an influence here. But even with the stop-starts, slowdowns, abundant minor keys, and even spoken vocal parts on some songs, the cheese level does not reach my pain threshold, because the songs are so dang hooky. A good batch of “whoa-oh-oh-ah-oh’s” can make me forget my prejudice against punk that might otherwise be considered as taking itself somewhat too seriously (ex. lyric: “Have you ever turned to dust?”) when well-executed, and this is both well-constructed and well-recorded stuff. I predict the kids will eat this up. For once, I won’t disagree.
Nitro Records, 7071 Warner Ave., Suite F PMB 736, Huntington Beach, CA 92647-5495; http://www.nitrorecords.com