AFI

AFI made their transformation from hardcore kids to goth-punk pioneers look as easy as applying eyeliner. The truth is, they’ve been tweaking their formula, and Crash Love might be the closest they’ve come to perfecting it. “Beautiful Thieves” explodes into huge guitars and operatic backing vocals while “Veronica Sawyer Smokes” races around a punked-up Cure riff. On “Medicate,” singer Davey Havok tries self-diagnosis (“I feel nothing at all”) while darting between dive-bombing guitars and a big gang-chorus. Later, AFI come close to their early days with the hardcore blast of “Sacrilege” as Havok preaches the evils of religion, snarling, “Just let your faith die!” Their best yet.

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