AFI – Black Sails on the Sunset (1999)

Holy fucking shit. This album is just so fucking good. I was never a big listener of punk growing up. I did however love The Misfits, Bad Religion, Bouncing Souls and a few others. I forget exactly where I was when I first heard this but it was probably around 01 or 02 and I think I was hanging up in Worcester with my pal Joey who showed it to me. In those days I was on a steady diet of Fu Manchu, Nebula, Kyuss, Aesop Rock, Atomsphere and Cannibal Ox. Discovering this album really took me to a different place. The mood, the sound, everything on here just makes me smile. I remember so many nights speeding around with this album on full fucking blast.

Hearing this for the first time hit me fucking hard. Davey Havok has such a unique voice. It reminds me of a higher pitched Danzig. Instrumentally the guitars just crush on here and really, there aren’t too many moments where things relent. Havok’s dark lyrics and Pugets guitar attack just go so fucking well together. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite track here. I generally listen to this one front to back as every single song just does it for me. There are so many singable and scream worthy choruses.

The opening track the one two punch of the Strength Through Wounding and Porphyria set the mood for the rest of the track. The refrain of “Through out bleeding we are one” in the former track along with the almost chanting lyrics almost feels like you’re starting a ceremony. Porphyria just blasts through with Davey’s vocals just ripping your throat. This sets the tone for what is just a great fucking record. Punk or otherwise. This album is long for a punk record but moves so quick. 46 minutes are over before you know it and you find yourself just repeating it. The album closes with God Called in Sick Today a sad and beautiful cry out to a God who has left us and whose actions have nurtured the bad in this world. A great ending to a dark record. There is a secret track but to be honest, I don’t normally listen to it. It’s in a locked groove on the record so it’s fun to queue it up.

After this they released The Art of Drowning which I also enjoyed a lot. Sing the Sorrow was released in 2003 and I was ultimately disappointed. AFI had changed from what they were on Black Sails and Sing the Sorrow was the start of a another change I just couldn’t get into personally. That said, much of their current popularity started with that record.

I believe I had found this at my local Reckless Records in Lakeview in Chicago. I was so psyched to see this in stock in the store. I definitely prefer finding things in the wild rather than buying it online. There are some exceptions of course. This release also has the Vinyl Only track “Lower It” which is a great bonus.

Black Sails on the Sunset is one of my favorites that I’ve had a chance to write about here and I recommend it if you were ever even kind of into stuff like the Misfits, The Offspring (Dexter actually does backing vocals on this album), Bad Religion or even Samhain. I appreciate you stopping by and reading. I’ve included a link to a favorite track below as well as a Discogs link for the vinyl nerds out there.

AFI – Porphyria

Discogs Link

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