Hello from the neighborly planet of Venus. It has been far too long since I have written about art on this page, and I apologize for that. This galaxy you have here is far to interesting to stay in one spot, and the WIFI troubles I go through you wouldn’t believe. How hard is it to set up a public WIFI system on the 36 moon of Jupiter? I mean come on Jupitarians, get it together!!
Anyways, back to Black Sails. I was hesitant at first to listen to this album, but for some reason it kept coming back to me wherever I visited, so I decided to give the album a listen. Now, full disclosure, I accidently listened to this album on shuffle, so I did not get to experience Davey Havok’s lyrical story telling in the correct. But I felt I didn’t even need to when I got to the end of the album.
I will have to give the album a second listen, as I found it more enjoyable than I thought at first, in the order in which it was meant to be listened too. One of the things about AFI albums is that there is no front man. Davey does write some amazing lyrics, which are amazing to read after you have listened to the full album, but everyone else in the band tells the same story. The lyrics and the music come together with such force and energy, it is hard to ignore. With back up vocals from Adam Carlson, the huge and nasty bass from Hunter Burgan, and the addition of a new guitarist Jade Puget, this album has nothing but bangers all the way through.
The album has been described as a traditional punk album, which I mean come on, it’s AFI. Were you expecting R&B? In another review, the influence of horror punk was added, which I feel is a little over the top. I don’t think I would listen to the album right before I went to bed. Also, side note, in Earthly hours I follow a 56 hour day with a 27 hour night, so we are a little different in that sense as I am more awesome and you suck. I’m just kidding, I love you third rockers.
The album starts out leaving no question what you have in store with it with Strength Through Wounding, giving you a short warm up for what is on the way in the rest of the album. Guitar and drum and some simple lyrics chatted at you. Then, you are given are harder workout with Porphyria with the lyrics Davey is known for, but again this remains just a further warm up for what is to come.
Seamlessly sliding into the first full length song Exsanguination, which by the way who came up with these song titles? I haven’t seen names or heard lyrics like this on Earth before. Anyways, you hear Davey, Hunter, Adam and Jade come together to give you what I would I would describe as a hard punk love song.
Malleus Maleficarum, again who the fuck comes up with these titles, gives you an up tempo taste of the punk life to get your heart rate up to where it finally needs to be at for the rest of the album. Narrative of Soul Against Soul takes Malleus Maleficarum and twists it into a smasher, and it lets Adam shine with the back up vocals.
Slowing things down in Clove Smoke Catharsis, you get a true taste of Davey’s lyrical madness and genius. And then with The Prayer Position, we hear Jade finally get his chance to show that he belongs with this band and isn’t just some quick choice for a replacement.
One of the things that make this album so good is the smooth sliding between songs, making the album basically one huge song that tells the story of Black Sails in the Sunset. No Poetic Device is one of my favorites from this album, as it brings everyone’s talents together to show you that AFI is group not a back band for the lead singer. Same with The Last Kiss, giving the hardcore punk we expect from AFI.
We get a hardcore bass opening in the Weathered Tome from Hunter, who must have gone through several bass strings playing this song, breaking so many as the bass smacks you in the face so hard you might think you are back in grade school. We get another punk love letter with At a Glance, starting hard, and seamlessly again sliding into a slow lyrical sweetness, with Jade yet again showing his prowess.
God Called in Sick Today is a monster of a song, coming in around 14 minutes. Although there is a fair amount of silence, which serves to show the apt name for this song. We get the finishing of the soft stuff at the beginning, and then back to the hard stuff to finish off the album.
Again, this album flows together so seamlessly it is completely worth listening too in order as one long story of the Sunset and the Black Sails within it. This album is definitely worth the time, but again maybe don’t put this record on right before bed, you sleepy motherfuckers.
As you always know,
Puck from Venus, out!!