June 15, 2006

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AFI, Decemberunderground
Interscope Records, 2006

Originally a Misfits tribute band of loose sorts, AFI are an emo-metal band with the rare ability to not only escape the unintentional self-ridicule through which so many of their brethren make a living but also keep their fan base pared down to thinking high-schoolers with some semblance of taste, this through a combination of (get ready) not-unintelligent screamo scorching and an almost Mission of Burma-like reverence for wide-eyed punkist dogma. OK, 2003's Sing the Sorrow was better than Decemberunderground for many reasons (the former, their first big-league LP, was far less Walmart-ized and pointed to an irrepressibly rebellious side), but the latter's still angry enough that if the band were added to a tour with, say, Black Dahlia Murder or whatnot, thrashers wouldn't rush the stage and summarily hang them (as long as they skipped playing the crummy ballad "Endlessly She Said"). The heavier tunes - "Affliction" most of all, but there are plenty - are as bloodthirsty as what's come from Metal Blade's recent recruits, but the record takes off with the Green Day-like "Miss Murder," sounding corporately zombified yet still blissfully PO'ed. A-

— Eric W. Saeger


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