AFI – The Missing Man EP
Released: December 7th, 2018
Davey Havok // Lead Vocals
Jade Puget // Guitar, Backing Vocals and Synth
Hunter Burgan // Bass, Backing Vocals, Synth
Adam Carson // Drums and Backing Vocals
What started as a social media scare campaign (well, they did remove Davey Havok from all of their photos on Instagram so that’s scary), was later revealed to be the teaser promotion for AFI‘s new EP The Missing Man which was a much-needed surprise and a half for fans who had been craving some new material following the release of the band’s 2013 album Burials and 2017’s Self-Titled/Blood Album. This time around, it’s a short, five-track long offering with a kind of new sound too which will certainly get fans talking.
The EP kicks off with the fast-paced new single ‘Trash Bat‘ which wastes no time in setting itself up as an AFI song with Jade Puget‘s unique sounding riffs and Adam Carson upbeat drumming which are both on show surrounding frontman Davey Havok‘s now iconic vocals. There are a few split-second stop-downs during the song which almost act like an adrenaline injection to keep your blood pumping and body moving. I can’t help but think how GOOOD this song would be in a live setting as it is action-packed all the way through. ‘Break Angels‘ slows it all down for an almost ballad-esque, synth-driven song which picks up the momentum towards the end. In parts, Davey’s voice sounds a bit too over-produced but the rest of the band are on point, displaying their musicianship and ability to produce yet another great backing song for longtime fans. It really is a shame about the vocals in this one, if they had been worked on a little better it could have really made the song stand out, but that’s where it fell a little flat for me. ‘Back into the Sun‘ takes those slow jam vibes from the previous offering and adds a touch of excitable drumming throughout which really help to make the song just pop. Davey’s voice is back to normal again and a Jade Puget guitar solo towards the song’s middle highlights the importance of momentary pauses of singing in AFI‘s tracks. Its a chance for the rest of the band to shine and highlight their abilities and these guys have been one band who has managed to nail that every time they try it.
Debut single ‘Get Dark‘ is up next and for those who have heard this know Hunter Burgan shines in the spotlight with his sexy basslines before the chorus brings the whole band together for an all in assault. I don’t know about you, I assume you’re here because you’re an AFI fan, but the minute I heard this song, all I could think of was how much it sounded like a B-Side off their 2009 album Crash Love, which I adored when it was released. Despite some fans not liking that direction after 2006’s smash hit release decemberunderground, I thought it really showed what the band were capable of when they weren’t just doing heavy, post-hardcore/emo influenced songs. If you like the fast-paced musings of this band, you’re definitely going to thrash ‘Get Dark‘ over and over again like I did when it first came out. But if you expected that momentum to flow into the EP’s climactic song ‘The Missing Man‘ you’re gonna have a bad time. This one slows things right down, brings out the acoustic guitar and string section for an emotional journey, highlighting Davey Havok‘s eclectic vocals which feature both beautiful harmonies and his twang that we know and love him for. Another Jade Puget guitar solo wraps the whole thing up and just like that, the experience comes to an end.
So, what do I think of AFI‘s latest offering? Taking away everything we know about the band in the past, this new release showcases a very talented band, capable of playing a whole range of different styles they haven’t been able to hone in on yet. I can see why they may have gone with an EP of five songs (instead of a full album), so they can test the waters and see what fans think before they embark on their next full-length venture. Some fans will love it, others not so much, while there may even be a whole range of potential new audiences who haven’t discovered the band yet, getting into this short but sweet extended play.
AFI – The Missing Man EP tracklisting
1. Trash Bat
2. Break Angels
3. Back into the Sun
4. Get Dark
5. The Missing Man
Catch AFI‘s Jade Puget chatting all about The Missing Man on this week’s episode of Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall right here
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