Sound — 7
After 25 years of making music, AFI still has some tricks up their sleeves. I'll admit, AFI has not impressed over the last several years with their releases getting further and further away from what I felt was their defining sound. This album humbled me in that it brought me back to the AFI I knew and loved. "The Blood Album" is full of interesting guitar and bass riffs, catchy melodies and the passionate energy that listeners have come to expect from this group. AFI draws on their punk upbringings while maintaining a mature, melody-based timbre. The instrumentation is anything but disappointing. The 14-track record does get repetitive at times, however. I also found brief follies in the execution of a couple tracks (when is auto-tune going to finally die!?). Overall, the music is rock solid.
Lyrics — 6
The album's lyrics are of pure AFI idiosyncrasy. Davey Havok's employs his typical thematic fare of romantic tragedies, dark dreamscapes, and misunderstood angst. While I admire AFI's ability to create cohesive songs, most of which are lyrically focused, the scenes do get repetitive. The music tends to get buried by Havok's words at times. Their exists a tendency to fill almost every void with singing, instead of allowing the music to work for the listener. While Havok's rhythmic and energetic singing creates good songs, it is overly employed and the album thus lacks diversity between tracks. Havok's abilities as a singer manages to keep the listener invested in the song but the lyrics remain, ultimately, weightless.
Overall Impression — 8
When I judge a piece of music, I attempt to do it without adding a band's previous accomplishments into the consideration. That being said, this album has pleasantly brought me back to the AFI I know and love. Overall, the album is very well made and the music speaks for itself. Songs like "Still a Stranger," "So Beneath You," and "White Offerings" is just plain good rock music. This is one of the best contributions AFI has made to the genre in several years. I can't help but feel they had a moment of retrograde, deciding to "correct the ship" back to their punk rock roots. This album, 46 minutes in length, is extremely listenable and I highly recommend it to fans of the genre.