The group's latest achievement — "AFI (The Blood Album)" — will ensure itscollective existence for a while longer. A tour to support LP No. 10 includes a sold-out stop this Friday at The Depot in Salt Lake City.
"The Blood Album," which was produced by guitarist Jade Puget, saw public release Jan. 20. The three early singles from the record illustrate its sonic versatility, with "White Offerings" boasting straightforward intensity, "Snow Cats" featuring an off-kilter, eerie spookiness, and "Pink Eyes" alternating energetic riffs with austere verses.
Perhaps its defining characteristic, based on the early reviews, is how much "more joyful" it apparently sounds to outsiders than its predecessor, 2013's "Burials."
"I've heard that description, and I'm not arguing that it's not accurate, but it's something that didn't even occur to me until I saw it written. I don't know that it's entirely true," Carson said. "I do know that I have a tremendous amount of joy playing music these days. … It's crazy to still be doing this after all this time. It's not like I'm hyper-aware of every album possibly being our last, but there is a point where I'm really starting to appreciate the little things. It's not something that I take for granted. And who knows when our last album will be? If that joy can translate in that fashion, then maybe it is more joyful. I really don't know!"
Regardless, the drummer is pleased with the final 14-track product.
"I'm proud to say that we've never released a record that I haven't been a fan of," he said. "It's a record that I think that I would listen to."
AFI's fans continue to listen, at any rate.
Even if the band no longer plays the arenas and stadiums it could fill back when 2006's "Decemberunderground" shot AFI to superstardom on the strength of hit songs "Miss Murder" and "Love Like Winter," the 25-year transformation from fervent goth punks to a wizened post-hardcore outfit has hardly left the band lacking for loyal aficionados.
"Our band has evolved; we've changed quite a bit. I think the spirit of the band is still the same, though. Regardless of how the music is packaged, I think there's enough of that spirit that stays consistent from album to album to resonate with the fans," Carson said. "… We really enjoy what we do and we really believe in what we do, and hopefully that comes across. But it's hard to say. We feel lucky that people care after all this time. I don't know what it is that draws the people in, but I'm glad they choose to stick around."