Known infamously for their dark musicality and morbid theatrical style, Californian punks AFI have yet again delivered a brooding catalogue of songs with their latest offering The Blood Album.

It’s not a good idea to go into listening to this album with too high hopes, though. While the record isn’t necessarily bad, it just falls short of what we all know AFI are well and truly capable of.

The album seems to serve up an array of what feels like filler songs. Comprising of a generous 14 tracks, it’s not until you hit the half-way mark with ‘So Beneath You’ that the record picks up pace with songs that stand out a bit more. That’s not to say that the remaining songs aren’t good, they’re just… good.

Leading up to the album release, the band have continuously posted teaser videos to hype up fans for new music. The videos were an exciting touch but listening to the first seven tracks on the album doesn’t really feed the initial hype. Stick with it though and you’ll find some songs that jump out at you.

The first taste of The Blood Album given to eager fans were ‘Snow Cats’ and ‘White Offerings’, tracks eight and twelve on the record. It was a smart move on the band’s behalf because they seem to be the most alluring ones on offer. Tracks like ‘Pink Eyes’ and ‘The Wind That Carries Me Away’ are also in line with them in terms of allure, yet they’re still seemingly interchangeable with any other AFI track.

Reminiscent of their previous works (think Sing The Sorrow but… less), The Blood Album takes AFI down a back-to-basics route. With gang vocals and guitar riffs that are again, the familiar AFI sound, it’s a little too easy to zone out while listening. Which is a shame, really.

Davey Havok’s poetic lyricism remains prominent throughout the record, aided by his ever-crooning vocals. Dressed up in their dismal musical style, the songs remain to be their typical dismal musical style. As a general observation, the album seems comfortably familiar to their existing discography.

That’s probably what normally happens after your 10th album and 25th year into your career.

The Blood Album dropped on January 20th via Concord Music Group.