Before AFI hit punk pay dirt in 2003 with Sing the Sorrow, the quartet built a bloodthirsty following on Dexter Holland's Nitro Records. AFI documents the band's pre-Rolling Stone years with a balanced selection of 15 of the band's best early tracks. For long-time fans, there's little to get frothy about other than four previously hard-to-find tracks. For neophytes, however, AFI provides an excellent introduction to the goth punks' unique hardcore sound. Davey Havok's Danzig-esque croon/scream and dark lyrics -- along with some bad-ass musicianship -- distinguish AFI from the rest of the punk horde throughout most of the collection. Someone should have his black eyeliner revoked for life, though, for the terrible idea of arranging the songs in reverse chronological order, which gives the unfortunate and erroneous impression that the band has regressed over the years. -- Eryc Eyl
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