Sing The Sorrow


Dreamworks, 2003

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love


Having bowed out of both guitar and piano, my firsthand knowledge of playing rock music is… oh, about zilch. Nevertheless, I think it’s pretty safe to say that there’s nothing in a band’s career quite as dramatic as making the leap to a major label. At least, for the fans, that is.

California goth-punkers AFI’s switch from Nitro Records to Dreamworks with the release of their sixth album was met with the usual flailing diehards claiming a sell-out (think Green Day), but for the most part Sing the Sorrow manages to stay true to the best of the band’s back catalog while simultaneously charting newer, more mature territory. 

AFI -- made up of lead singer Davey Havok, guitarist Jade Puget, bassist Hunter and drummer Adam Carson -- handed the production reigns over to Butch Vig (Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins) and Jerry Finn (Rancid, Green Day) on this record. With the masterminds behind my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Nevermind and Dookie on board, which were both major-label debuts, Sing the Sorrow boasts a subtle dose of radio-friendliness along with the band’s usual doom-and-gloom aesthetic.

Album opener “Miseria Cantare – The Beginning” immediately establishes AFI’s flair for theatrics. With its dark, imposing instrumentation, Havok’s repeated proclamation “You are now one of us” resounds as a hypnotic call to arms. Continuing along in a similar vein, second single “The Leaving Song Pt. 2” is a hook-laden gem replete with ringing guitars and a swirling rhythm section.

But all that only sets the stage for Sorrow’s standout “Silver And Cold.” Uniquely subdued, this track features Havok momentarily shelving the snarling in favor of an anthemic chorus and quietly gorgeous lyrics (“Light, like the flutter of wings, feel your hollow voice rushing into me as you’re longing to sing / so I will paint you in silver, I will wrap you in cold / I will lift up your voice as I sink.”)

On “Dancing Through Sunday” and “Girls Not Grey,” melancholia veers into hyperactive mosh-pit territory. Lyrics like “Swept off our feet by misery / we’re swept into the shadows” are delivered at breakneck pace and set to charged bursts of guitar, a welcome nod back towards tracks like “Days Of The Phoenix” and “Of Greetings And Goodbyes” from 2000’s The Art Of Drowning.

“Death Of Seasons” is probably the least accessible of the album, freely shifting tone and tempo whenever the mood strikes; though it’s initially difficult to reckon with the numerous forces at play in this song, it’s hard to deny the instant power of lines such as “I watch the stars as they fall from the sky / I held a falling star and it wept for me, dying / I feel the fallen stars encircle me as they cry.”

Even following the unprecedented success of AFI’s latest, Decemberunderground, Sing The Sorrow continues to shine as their crowning achievement. Instead of pandering to the mainstream, this disc upholds the band’s cohesive, creative vision even as they flirt with success. It’s a height they had never reached before and, unfortunately, haven’t since.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


i hate emo... but i have to say this is not only a great albuim but simply the best emo album made
and unfortuneltly afi will never touch this greatness again due to their complete restlessness

© 2007 Melanie Love and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Dreamworks, and is used for informational purposes only.