Some people prefer to just bury their past.
Deep and far from sight to be forgotten forever. It's kinda what punk practitioners A FIRE INSIDE did with the first few years of their career when they were playing solid albeit slightly by-the-books hardcore. This laid some crucial groundwork but upon solidifying their current lineup in 1998 AFI put themselves on the worldwide musical map shortly thereafter with a stylistic departure from minimalist mania into gothic grandiosity on increasingly ambitiously epic underground offerings Black Sails In The Sunset and The Art Of Drowning before seeing their vivid vision fully materialize behind big label backing on their debut for the majors with Dreamworks Records' Sing The Sorrow in 2003. The breakneck tempos from the early days were still present but the music had taken on a far darker vibe thanks to the addition of Jade Puget on guitar for Black Sails which notably altered vocalist Davey Havok's approach lyrically, their evolving sound since a Self-Titled EP further inspired by the likes of Glenn Danzig's death rock and horror punk work with MISFITS and SAMHAIN when aggressive and 80's UK post-punk like THE SMITHS when toning things down for more moody melancholy. Sorrow went on to GINORMOUS, Platinum-Plus success yet also established the group as a visual force to be reckoned with thanks to a slew of celebrated creative clips for the album's singles "Girl's Not Grey," "The Leaving Song Pt. II" and "Silver & Cold" which introduced their intriguing against the grain appearance compared to an MTV Total Request Live generation bombarded by heavy rotations of regurgitated boy bands. Needless to say, many viewers were immediately compelled to shut their mouths and open their eyes as AFI made a rapid rise!
Despite a million-selling album, a ferociously fervent fanbase that was rapidly expanding across the globe and a plentiful pile of accolades from their most recent effort, AFI were still FAR from content to rest upon their laurels and opted to push sonic experimentation to even further heights of diversity with 2006's Billboard 200 Chart-Topping follow-up Decemberunderground. Here the group moved on from past dabbling of merely sprinkling electronic touches to enhance ambiance or an eschew mid-song dynamic alteration to full-fledged synth driven creations accompanied by a slightly more upbeat, dare I say 'poppy' attitude and approach, that worked wonders in gaining even more mainstream bandwagon additions while alienating a few of the fans who felt they'd laid to rest the days of despair that dominated Sorrow and its predecessors. The thing is it's understandable to be in a better mood upon finally attaining notoriety after years of slaving over your art and perhaps to appease the restlessness within the ranks of their old school devotees, Havok and Puget put AFI on hold to continue their electro exploration compulsion under a different moniker entitled BLAQK AUDIO, who put out their appropriately titled debut Cex Cells the following year. While it might not have been intentional at the onset, this detour left AFI longing to rock more organically after pulling a RADIOHEAD and ditching their guitars upon reconvening to write 2009's Crash Love, a rollicking recording that went for a more straight-forward approach yet retained the rousing romanticism which was a hallmark of Decemberunderground. In my opinion it's one of their finest releases but ultimately the neutrality seemed to disappoint both factions of fans commercially, never even cracking Billboard's Top 10 following and falling far from the two previous Platinum performers. In turn, Jade and Davey began work on a BLAQK AUDIO follow-up while drummer Adam Carson worked with new project THE RECKLESS KIND and bassist Hunter Burgan formed the gothcore supergroup MATT SKIBA & THE SEKRETS with the ALKALINE TRIO frontman and one-time MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE drummer Jarrod Alexander. It would be over four years before A FIRE INSIDE put out any fresh material however sometimes thing buried just cannot stay in the ground, often ready to rise at a moment's notice.
After many trips around our sun had come and gone the soil began to stir on the AFI official website, www.afireinside.net, meaning rumors of a demise were a hasty diagnosis as signs of life commenced with the appearance of teasers for the upcoming release Burials began popping up on the site in late spring and throughout the summer. Whether in an effort to unearth some of their potent past as many might claim, similar to what BAD RELIGION and PENNYWISE deliberately did this past year with throwback sets after what some accused of being lackluster experimentation, it seems likely that this was nothing more than art imitating life naturally. Frontman Davey Havok recently said to Rolling Stone about the hearkening back to the darkness of Sing The Sorrow and it's beloved precursors was because "During the writing sessions, there was a lot of chaos in my life." So it makes sense then that our creative outputs are often a manifestation of what we're currently experiencing, at least if we're being honest with ourselves. Even if the mood and emotion don't directly correlate it can still display that outpouring. Therefore it's no shocker that Havok has described the upcoming October 22 release Burials as being about "Silence and the burials that result from that silence. It's of betrayal, cruelty, weakness, anxiety, panic...despair, injury, and loss," admitting that the bliss of intense romance or more simply true contment and happiness, as evidenced on their last two efforts, always possess the posibilty of being temporarily derailed and as such it's far better to let out the sadness, frustration and aggression instead of let it fester and grow worse like a fire inside you building until the inevitable collapse of the flaming floodgates. On tremendous tracks like "No Resurrection" and the first single "I Hope You Suffer," which is viewable on VEVO by jumping on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSNyOYT3dJ8, it's made clear that the combating of inner demons from the group's breakthrough Sorrow are back on display yet with a more honed yet matured cynicism about facing such intense turmoil once again. In the end, the proceedings are really about burying those negative emotions eventually and is a work of art so powerfully potent by proving the cathartic fact that in certain circumstances, old corpses must be dug up to help the fresh ones rest.
A Fire Inside (AFI) are currently criss-crossing the country in support of their latest opus Burials.
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