TITLE: THE MISSING MAN
LABEL: EX NOCTEM NACIMUR
WORDS: JO COSGROVE
First forming in 1991 and going through a variety of style switches over their time together, AFI were always a staple in the 2000s emo scene. They evolved greatly from their hardcore roots, expanding further into the alternative and post-punk genres and always seem to know what works for them as a collective. Following the success of their tenth studio album, ‘AFI’, ‘The Missing Man’ is their tenth EP which features five new songs from the band.
They released the EP’s first single, ‘Get Dark’, in late October and it contains the alternative sound that their fans have become accustomed to, but with a hint of rejuvenation. The energy of the music is met with energy in frontman Davey Havok’s vocals, matching greatly with the backing vocals of drummer Adam Carson. After spending the entirety of the band’s existence working together as the two original members of AFI, the collaboration of Havok’s and Carson’s vocals have been proven time and time again to work best in their tracks and have been what turns a chorus into a chant of power and emotion. This is emphasised with the repetition of the track’s title throughout the chorus, and will be a chant fans will be yelling out during live performances.
“the alternative sound that their fans have become accustomed to, but with a hint of rejuvenation”
‘Get Dark’ sets an example of how the band has grown and changed from the days of previous singles such as ‘Miss Murder’ and ‘Girl’s Not Grey’, and the change has come with honing and improving musical skill. There is something ear-catching about the switch from electric guitar, to acoustic, to back to electric near the end of the track. Guitarist Jade Puget shows his talent with the instrument as he performs a wow-worthy guitar solo partway through the song. Joining the band just over twenty years ago, these mere seconds are all one needs to hear to know that Puget knows what he is doing and he does it well.
‘Get Dark’ was smartly placed as the penultimate track on the EP; the first track is the alternative-fuelled ‘Trash Bat’. It is a strong opening track for ‘The Missing Man’ and sets a new standard of style upon the band. From highlighting an attitude, they have maintained since their start in the 1990s, to joining together in vocals for an anthemic atmosphere in the chorus.
This is appropriately the first track of the chosen five as it opens the doors for a journey. With their eleventh studio album rumoured to be released in 2019, and many songs being created and recorded as time passes, AFI are giving listeners a short sneak peek through this EP of how the next twelve months are looking for them musically.
They are working hard to put out music that fits them in this moment of their life as a band, and the key is to keep that attitude as fresh as it was over 25 years ago. With the following track, ‘Break Angels’, the first instrument to catch the listener’s ears is percussion; courtesy of Carson. He and Havok shine out again with their combined voices, but there is also great emotional emphasis on Havok’s solo vocals throughout the entire song. Conveying emotion through lyrics is always a gift to a musician, as it shows the listener there is passion and determination – as opposed to a hollow sense of singing words that mean little to nothing to the vocalist – and after a long-term successful project such as AFI, Havok still has that passion and that determination. And it is admirable.
“AFI are giving listeners a short sneak peek of how the next twelve months are looking for them musically”
Such as throughout this EP, there are specific songs that highlight the whole band as single musicians on nearly every band’s release. It can work to see one part of a collective being shown off, even if unintentionally; however, there still needs to be somewhere that shows off the flow of the group altogether. These four musicians are keeping something, which hopefully will be unveiled and satisfy the need of confirmation that this new era of AFI will work out for everyone, both separate and together. There is something they’re hiding for the rest of 2018, and all should be revealed in 2019. Expect the unexpected.