Call West Coast act A.F.I. what you will – just don’t call them “goth punk.” Just because some of the band members sport jet black hair, black clothes, and eyeliner doesn’t make the California quartet “goth.” After all, what modern rock band doesn’t wear a bit of eyeliner these days?
The name “A.F.I.” stands for “A Fire Inside.” The guys have been around for 15 years, even though their first major commercial success took place in 2003 with the release of Sing the Sorrow. A.F.I.’s core started with frontman (and arguable idol) Davey Havok and drummer Adam Carson when the two teamed up in high school. After adding bassist Hunter Burgan and releasing a handful of albums, they recruited guitarist Jade Puget in 1999. It was a move that would have a significant impact on the band’s sound and profile.
The band’s sixth album, Sing the Sorrow, proved to be a controversial endeavor for the quartet, as it signaled the band’s departure from its indie label home to a major (Dreamworks). It also demonstrated a step away from their former, more punk-influenced sound.
As A.F.I.’s popularity grew, so did their fans’ desire for a new album. After three years, A.F.I. rewarded them earlier this year by dropping the masterpiece Decemberunderground. And fans rewarded the band in return by propelling the record to number 1 on the Billboard charts its debut week. The album picks up right where number six left off. The songs are catchier, the choruses are bigger, and nearly every song is an arena-rock gem. –Leah Weinberg