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A.F.I.
The Art Of Drowning
Nitro Records


Hey, this Offspring record is on the wrong speed. Whatís going on? Is this guy two feet tall? I was looking forward to hearing more darkness and death in my hardcore, only to find that Davey Havok sounds like a twelve-year old. I guess thatís why he still goes by Davey. He sings in a register so high that only his claymation dog Goliath can understand him. The lyrics are poetically gothic, and the furious scrubbing music is laudable. But I canít get past his Zack DeLaRocha voice!

Creepy guitar plodding and electronic ghosts lead into a slamfest of "The Lost Souls" The inflections are lifted directly from Dexter Holland. But foreboding lines like, "If you canít stand on the water I will see you on the ocean floor" are a damn-sight better than his. "The Nephilim" were The Descendants of angels who came down and took human females. The Offspring created were also called the watchers. Almost Edward Gorey lyrics, "Arsenic for girls and boys. Drink the madness, smoke so coy." Fantastic musicianship all the way through. "Ever And A Day" is a like a Misfits dirge as performed by Geddy Lee. Havok is easier to take when he sings quietly, though his pronunciation is odd.

Brilliant evil backwoods rockablilly announces the invocation, "Ingest rejuvenation. One to consume, one to renew. Demand invitation" on the quasi-religious "Sacrifice Theory." If Jimmy Iovine were even more girly, the weepy "Of Greetings And Good-byes" would be a Human Drama song.

The "Smile" hardcore rap is unintelligible and even less believable. Again the words are great, "Look upon your bleak creation. But is it truly me thatís to be the human blasphemy." Too bad none of them get past Havokís throat. The usually superb message is interrupted by silly alliteration in "A Story At Three": "We are the wakeful, wry and watchful. Weíre awaiting." For "Catch A Hot One" he sounds like a baby bird being force-fed a regurgitated meal. "Have you ever seen the kingdom of the flys? I saw it stay a sovereignty." This is no longer disturbing in the way they intend it; itís unsettling like seeing the freak show. "Wester" has a sickening Backstreet chorus that distracts from the impeccable music. The softness of " 6 to 8" turns into anthem rock. Canít stop thinking UdoÖUdoÖ "The Despair Factor" sounds like the Dickies except that it isnít a bit funny. Gentleness again yields to anger, as "Morningstar" explodes into the night. The hidden track is fastcore with Perry Farrel vocals.

This review is upsetting because I want to enjoy A.F.I. so badly and I feel cheated that I cannot. They are a passionate band with advanced thinking and intelligent lyrics. The crafting and drive are all there. If you are a fan, consider yourself fortunate.

~Ewan Wadharmi

Track Listing:

  1. Initiation
  2. The Lost Souls
  3. The Nephilim
  4. Ever And A Day
  5. Sacrifice Theory
  6. Of Greetings And Good-byes
  7. Smile
  8. A Story At Three
  9. Days Of The Phoenix
  10. Catch A Hot One
  11. Wester
  12. 6 To 8
  13. The Despair Factor
  14. Morningstar


Mike Doughty



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