AFI ‘Burials’ – An honest fan’s album review

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AFI return to the dark side, inject some atmospheric musical elements to their core sound, and release their best album since 2003’s Sing the Sorrow

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AFI – ‘Burials’

Record Label: Republic
Produced By: Gil Norton
Released On: October 22, 2013

Music Trajectory Rating: 5/5

I was actually thinking of discontinuing the album review feature here on Music Trajectory (I haven’t written a review in over a year!) but I got the itch to write one for this fantastic new AFI album, even if it’s just to get my personal opinion of the album out there to the public.

Let me start off by admitting that, yes, I am pretty late to writing this review. Burials has been out for almost a full month now and most album reviews are posted soon before a release or just after. Oh well, so I’m late! That has given me more time to really study the album! And really, with every listen I like the album more and more.

I write this review as a fan of AFI, a huge fan in fact. I have followed them closely since Black Sails in the Sunset, own every album, go to their shows every time they come to Southern California, etc, etc. If Burials was a terrible album though, I would be honest with you, and myself, and tell you that Burials was terrible. What I am trying to say is that I am being honest here, as I am with all my album reviews and other posts here on the site. Burials is easily the best AFI album since Sing the Sorrow. Yes, I said it. Decemberunderground‘s second half was weak and Crash Love…well, let’s talk about Crash Love in a sec. Let’s slow down a little bit…

If you are any kind of AFI fan, you know that AFI really changes their sound with each release, while retaining their core sound in some way. Their last album, 2009’s Crash Love, was perhaps their biggest change in sound in any one album cycle. It was a much more poppy record and from what I perceived, lost them a lot of fans. In my opinion, Crash Love was pretty solid, as all AFI albums are, but there was just something about it that didn’t work. Maybe AFI realized this and knew they needed to go back in time a little bit and reestablish some of their older sounds?

But it’s not like Burials is just one of those albums later in a band’s career where they decide to blend old and new in the best way possible. It’s not like Burials is Crash Love mixed with Black Sails in the Sunset. I would say its more like a totally new AFI sound mixed with some of their older work. I hear more The Art of Drowning-era AFI in Burials than I do any other album. I wonder what you think of that statement? You can’t tell me that the breakdown in “Greater Than 84” doesn’t remind you of the lead verse riff in “Ever and a Day”.

From start to finish, Burials is a very balanced album. It is balanced with several radio-friendly songs and several grow-on-you songs. Almost every single song on Burials could wind up as a single but Burials doesn’t listen like an album full of singles. It listens like…an album. It’s balanced with some pop elements and it has some edge. The album flows (due to a flawless track listing) and really sounds like what a successful album should sound like from start to finish.

I was really disappointed (and still am) by Rolling Stone’s album review of Burials. Also check out this terrible review from this random guy on Youtube. Talk about being negative just for the sake of trying to come off as ‘cool’ to people. I have to say I pretty much disagree with everything that was said in both of those reviews. AFI continues to grow and put out solid albums. AFI isn’t stuck in the late 90s or early 2000s. They aren’t stuck in that emo/screamo genre. AFI is ‘back’ (not like they ever left, it just took 4 years for this new album) but what I mean by that is that they are back with an album that should retain their hardcore fan base, perhaps reunite with fans they may have lost from Crash Love, and will definitely reach a wider audience, especially with the massively popular single “17 Crimes”.

If you are still unsure about Burials or haven’t listened to it yet, I would definitely give a few listens to “A Deep Slow Panic” and “Wild”, not because they are necessarily instantly catchy but because they show the musical progression of AFI and “A Deep Slow Panic” just might be one of the best songs AFI has ever written. Which reminds me: now I need to update my Top 20 AFI Songs list.

I would love to hear from some true AFI fans, old and new. What is your opinion of Burials? How does it compare to their older work? Where does Burials rank in the 9 studio albums that AFI has released?

Best 3 Songs on the Album:

“A Deep Slow Panic” (track 3)
“I Hope You Suffer” (track 2)
“17 Crimes” (track 5)

Underrated/Other Standout Songs:

“The Conductor” (track 6)
“Wild” (track 9)
“Greater Than 84” (track 11)


6 Comments on “AFI ‘Burials’ – An honest fan’s album review

  1. Excellent album review! 🙂 “Burials” is my favorite album of 2013, hands down. Oh, and that “review” in Rolling Stone? Absurd! It was so short, and so dismissive of such an excellent band and solid album, that it absolutely infuriated me!!!

    • Hi Krista, thanks for reading! Burials is definitely one of my favorite albums of the year as well. Any more fav albums of the year? I really liked The Neighbourhood’s album and Grouplove’s as well.

  2. Nice Review. Nothing will ever beat Sing the Sorrow. I miss those days.

  3. Unfortunately, I was misinformed by, of all people, my boyfriend, who told me that Rolling Stone had given “Burials” a more than positive review. Of course, me being skeptical, but only after I raved about this to many others who had lost interest after the very disappointing “Crash Love” album, did I go on the web to really find out what they had said.

    So screw Rolling Stone. “Burials” is a freakin masterpiece. I said it. A MASTERPIECE. I have literally not taken this disc out of my car cd player since I bought it on the day it came out. I absolutely love “A Deep Slow Panic”, “The Conductor” – a great blend of decemberunderground-ish black sails-ish… ness, and “Wild” which has a very punky Ramones like riff and feel. “Anxious” sounds like a song that could be played for the sole purpose of a live concert since it would engage the crowd much like songs off of the early early early discs of the band’s career (pre-Sing the Sorrow).

    I started listening to AFI in high school when my friends, crammed in a car coming home from a movie, put StS in the cd player and turned it up so loud I thought my head was going to explode. I loved it and haven’t looked back. I’m just so happy that they released an outstanding album that truly illustrates their musical talents and, above all, Davey’s ability to write the most aggressively depressing, poetically heartfelt lyrics ever.

    Thank you for posting such a favorable review! I enjoyed reading it!

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