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on 31 May 2006
I personally couldn't wait for AFI's lastest release after their three year absense and I really wanted to hear how they had changed- and boy have they!

From the opening to the ending, what you are hearing is a new, more mature AFI with Daveys vocals showing an definite improvement from before, don't get me wrong, I have always loved his voice but now it sends shivers down my spine because of its richness.

The tracks range from their more "classic" style to 80's(ish) synthpop but the writing and instrumentation are as sharp as ever.

When I first listened to it, I wasn't sure because it was so different to previous albums and I have read reviews where fans are criticising it for being too mainstream but in my opinion, it is an album that has to be approached with an open mind and may take a few listenings to get used to but is worth the effore and cash.

I'm sure it will become a five star album soon enough

by the way, I have been a fan of AFI for seven years and have all the albums from "shut your mouth"
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on 30 May 2006
I dont think so.. theyve been heading this way since Black sails.. what a destination to reach tho.. this albums almost perfect, some cuts from Guns n Roses, the Cure, Black Flag... its all in there.. Theyre still ahead of the game as far as modern rock is concerned, and its all down to the fact theyre not affraid to experiment.. Fairplay to them theyve pulled it off here.. Daveys singing/Screaming is on top form.. Jades Guitars are getting better and the riff still kick ass.. Hunter and Adam are tight as ever..

Great Cd.. If anyone puts them down for selling out i think i might track em down and beat them because if making music this good is selling out i dont care.!!
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on 12 June 2006
I would hardly call myself a hard-core fan of AFI but I love everything I have ever heard of by them.

If you are expecting a repeat of Sing the Sorrow, this album is not in any way similar. Their usual melancholy delves slightly deeper producing an extremely bitter-sweet feel throughout the album. The bonus tracks available on some cd's includes the fantastically upbeat track Rabbits are Roadkill on Rt.37 which has been played over and over by request on Mike Davie's The LockUp radio show, and a cover of NIN's Head Like a Hole.

My only negative comment for this album would be that there seems to be an increased array of synthesised sounds compared to previous albums, (some fans may find this a little irritating) but as always many of the songs feature wonderfully twisted lyrics and gorgeous basslines which make up their unmistakeable sound. If you like to sing along to tracks or just listen to the depth of the music (which this album certainly has, there are so many layers of sounds to each track) this is for you.

A great album for fans and new listeners alike, go out and buy it.

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on 4 August 2006
You have to take the opinions of many other reviewers here with a hefty pinch of salt - many of them are fans of the "old" AFI, back in their punk/hardcore days. Nothing wrong at all with that, but it completely skews their view of AFI's new releases.

Many old fans hate Sing the Sorrow, which I feel personally is pretty foolish. Sing the Sorrow is a classic album, easily one of my top 10 albums of all time. It has a feel all of its own, with beautifully dark lyrics and sweeping melodies. In one word - brilliant. And a natural evolution for the band.

When I bought the new album, I was expecting an effort that paled compared to Sing the Sorrow. I had heard the single "Miss Murder" and was not particularly impressed. I bought the album anyway, and was quite simply blown away.

This album is seriously good. Davey Havok's lyrics are as poetic and absorbing as ever, the melodies are great and there are some rousing choruses. Furthermore, there are some seriously beautful moments on this album, for example the guitar interlude halfway through "Affliction" which is quite simply gorgeous. The best songs, for me, are The Missing Frame (lovely, haunting chorus), Summer Shudder (awesome guitar work) and Love Like Winter (again, totally electric chorus).

Some people have complained about the amount of synth, but I think this is an exaggeration and that it really adds to the album. As for the idea that this album is an identity crisis - another exaggeration. Sure, it is hard to define what genre this album falls under, but only because it is so dynamic.

If you loved Sing the Sorrow, you should love this too.
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on 5 June 2006
I rushed out to buy this when I heard that a new album was finally out and I am still trying to come to terms with it! I guess it's a matter of personal taste, but I thought this album was pretty awful. It took me two days to manage to listen to all of it all the way through without breaking down!

I thought that `Sing the Sorrow' was a bit of a departure from the AFI that I loved, the ones who had written `Black Sails...', `Art of Drowning' and `Very Proud...', but I grew to love it, because (apart from the fact that some music executive had told Davey to start experimenting with a generic, guttural growl instead of his trademark high-pitched, passionate screams) it seemed like a natural progression for the band. Sure it was a bit more produced, but it was still an AFI album. And a great one at that.

I sometimes wish that bands would break up and start up afresh if they are going to trample their hard-earned reputation through the pop-infested mud. `Decemberunderground' is a dreadful album and has really crushed my love of this band. The songs are more complex in terms of structure and the band seem to be able to play their instruments technically better than in the past, and yet the music is not progressive, but a convoluted pop pastiche of the dark fervour that defined the music of past albums. `Miss Murder', the big single sounds like a Green Day track. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Green Day - but they play sing-along pop-punk as they have always done and they do it very well. But that was never what AFI were. They have something darker in them and their songs never had that commercial sheen. I don't have a problem with bands going mainstream, and becoming popular, but when they do so at the expense of their sound and, seemingly, everything they ever stood for then it's not a good thing. Some parts of this album sound more like Bon Jovi!

I saw these guys play in 2000 and it was the best gig that I have ever seen. The intensity and the connection between the band on stage and the impassioned crowd has not been matched by any band I have seen since. It was fantastic. But I cannot imagine the same being the case if they play these new songs. There is none of the rage, the primal darkness that made those old songs so fantastic, that gave AFI a cult following.

I've probably gone on enough, but it's just when a band that you really respect so much pushes out an album like this it's pretty painful and it's hard to stop whining about it.

If you like AFI, then listen to the album and make up your own mind. I hope that you like it, because to me it sounds like a different band. It's like they ran out of steam and decided to recycle themselves as radio-friendly rock stars. I know I'll buy the next album, if only in the hope that they will redeem themselves, but if this signals a definitive change in the band's direction, then I think it is a such a shame that everything beautiful has to fade so cruelly.
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on 21 December 2008
What you want from this album can easily help decide whether to buy it. It is not a bad album, don't get me wrong if at any point I seem to be relentlessly putting down the musical ideas in this CD.

Undeniably, there are some very catchy songs, little dittys that get caught in the back of your mind such as Miss Murder and Love like Winter. However this involve almost "pop" like melodies, which is a vast ocntrast to the heavier and more punk/rock like songs of Kill Caustic. Somewhere in the middle there are the more emo traits that this band have picked up. This turn in their music could be put down to pressure from the major record label they are signed to or a desperation to become more main stream and hither to more sucessful.

The lyrics leave a lot to be desired on most of the track, being the emo noncence that adolecent girls seem so hung up on, with bad attempts at poetic language in some songs such as Summer Shudders "This is the fall, this is the long way down. And our lives look smaller now our lives are so small". However the inadequacy of the lyrics is not important due to, though inproved voice or Davey Havok, still slighty slurred lyrics in many of the songs, meaning the lyrics are not always clear and one can make up better lyrics for oneself.

Technically the music is often good, following a good structure and having changes in dynamic, texture and thickness of piece. This adds interest to the piece and gives it a depth that is missing in so many pieces today. Such as The Interview, this piece stands out from the others by going from simple almost unaccompanied vocal performances to parts with the whole band making a truly "rock" sound. This track is one of the few that sucessfully conveys the different idea of the band and the differnt areas they seem to be trying to explore.

There is great diversity in this one CD and links can be made between all the songs. However the downfall here is the change in direction towards more mainstream music in pieces such as Miss Murder. However there is also influences from the more punk area that AFI's early music consisted of in Kill Caustic. We also see the introduction of much more electronic side to AFI in songs such as 37mm. With all these different ideas that seem to be flowing around this album. The great problem is the attempt at including the "softer" and more lyrical side of AFI and their old "hard" image in one track. The most obvious example is Affliction where fast changes are made between shouting to high speed rhythms to slower held notes of clear singing showing no coherance and jogging the listener. Perhaps next time this band can go back to what it is know for, more punk like music, or sucessfully make the transition to "emo" music, without the electronical side as Blaqk Audio, the side project of Davey and Jade, covers their need to experiment with this side, though this is a direction they could take thier music in. However we can hope that whatever direction the band take themselves in, assuming they don't stay in this limbo between the genres, you can tell they will reach the greatness that the ideas in this CD promise but don't deliever.

Each song is crafted well and a brilliant listen, if it suits the music that you enjoy listening to, when disjointed from the others. It is the changing ideas used in this album that lets it down as a whole. In short, buy the singles of the songs you like unless you enjoy the whole uber-genre of alternative/rock/punk music and are prepared to go to your CD player pick the song you like and then flick to the next that suits your likings, which will be several tracks away.
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on 4 June 2006
As a huge fan of AFI I expected some evolution of their sound for this album. Afterall, since Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes AFI heve never delivered the same album twice. However, the change to their sound here WILL alienate some of their fans. AFI have been keen to stress that they are not a punk band for a while and this album should be enough to finally dispel that label once and for all.

The fact that the single Miss Murder is so poppy (dare one say throw away) is your first clue. Yes there are several songs that a typical of AFI (such as the true opener Kill Caustic and The Affliction), but the squeaky clean production exorcises any remnant of punk from this corpse. Many of the songs have an 80's style electro-pop element to them. Love like Winter and The Missing Frame being pure 80's synth pop. The choruses for all songs are now extra catchy to the point of being almost cheesy. And yet this is by no means an immediate album. Punk Rockers like myself will find it difficult due to it's poppiness and pop fans may find it a little too hardcore.

But it's worth sticking with. Allow it a few listens to let it bed in and it all starts making sense. Well not all. The Missing Frame is a nightmare for all rockers. But overall it starts to sound pretty good. Basically, when I first heard it I didn't like it. But for some reason I kept listening to it and now I can't stop. Really this needs the listener to put all prejudices aside and just appreciate it for what it is: A collection of well written pop-rock songs liberally coated in darkness. If you like your music challenging, give it a go.
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on 25 May 2006
It has taken 3 years for AFI to write this album since they stopped touring with Sing the Sorrow. Davey Havok has said they wrote over 100 songs during this time and I have been looking forward to hearing some tracks since I heard they were releasing a new album.

When I first heard Miss Murder I did not at first recognise it as an AFI track, and even the screaming at the end does not sound like Davey. The track is however very catchy and I have found myself singing it on and off over the last few days.

Just done some searching on the net, 12/21 is the opening track, not like the shouty anthems of Strength through wounding on Black Sails in the Sunset or Miseria Cantare--The Beginning on Sing the Sorrow, however it is good.

Kill Caustic is another track and this is great, it's similar to tracks on the Art of Drowning, and Davey screams like he hasn't done for years.

AFI have always innovated with their sound with the biggest shift being Sing the Sorrow when they moved to major label Dreamworks and I expect no different with Decemberunderground. If you are a fan of their older albums then Kill Caustic should bring back good memories. If you are new to AFI give them a go, there style should appeal to a wide range of tastes.

I personally cannot wait for this album to be released.
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on 30 April 2009
i have always been an AFI fan. i grew up listening to them. Black sails is one of my fave albums ever. i was hooked, and ever since then, i have brought the entire collection of their releases, including EP's when they came out. when i heard that they were releasing a new album, i was so stoked. i went out and brought it the first day it came out. i put it on as soon as i got home.
i couldnt believe what i was hearing. a band, which has been going on for so long, still produce gold. they had included new electronic parts into some songs, but still managed to keep the old school punk rock sound that i love them for. however, as i read other fans reviews on it i saw that not everyone was as pleased as i was. i think that keeping up with the times and still keeping the underlying sound that they orignally had takes alot of skill and talent, which AFI dont fall short of. i think that it is by far one of their best releases to date. for their next album, i hope they keep the sound, but have a more prevalent punk sound as before.
my fave tracks are kill caustic,Miss Murder, Kiss and Control and The Killing Lights to name a few. the whole album is a gold-mine and a definate buy. perfect for every occasion. great mixture of songs, and amazing musical arrangements. no one could have done a better job, and i hope they carry on for many years to come
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on 29 May 2006
Throughout their career AFI have always grown and evolved, and with each album teir sound changes. They lose a few fans each time admittedly, but each time they gain a huge new set of them to replace the ranks. AFI's fan base is a rabid and devotional one, and Decemberunderground is another FINE example as to exactly why, with standout tracks being Prelude, Kill Caustic, Summer Shudder and Endlessly She Said. Buy this now, you wont be dissapointed
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