Posted: December 10, 2014 by Soda in AFI, Los Angeles, Xtrmst

So, to have to “introduce” you to AFI would be something that sounds pretty silly being that they have been around since 1991 give or take and have had a few huge records in the past decade, specifically Decemberunderground which debuted at number 1 on Billboard in 2006…I say this because I want to get into a side project of Davey Havok and Jade Puget’s. Davey as you know has become an iconic singer and Jade, guitarist for AFI has proven over the last 8 years or so that he has become quite a force to tangle with both as a musician and producer.

The duo has ventured into another side project called XTRMST, different than AFI and the exact opposite of the duo’s other outing Blaqk Audio which is a dancey electronic venture.

Xtrmst album cover

Xtrmst album cover

XTRMST will go to show you that Davey still “has it” so to speak. People have complained for years how AFI left their punk roots, sold out, etc…I for one prefer what AFI has turned into, starting with the masterpiece Sing the Sorrow (2003) and onward.

XTRMST is an exercise in straight-edge hardcore turned up to 11. Mr. Havok has never sounded so full of rage, and it’s absolutely refreshing. Spitting “I fire on all five senses” in song “Extremist” and just letting us have it throughout the entire 14 tracks clocking in at 33 some odd minutes. Jade Puget’s guitar work has become something that really stands on its own, brilliant, subtle and complex at the same time. He has taken the horse by the reigns here, writing all the music, producing, recording and engineering. Same as he does with the Blaqk Audio records, Davey handling all the vocal and lyrical abilities. (Jade even wrote all the music for AFI’s latest offering, Burials)

Lyrically, XTRMST is absolutely letting you know that this is a certain kind of record if you will. Touting the straight-edge lifestyle to the nth degree, Davey and Jade both being as such and also vegans. “This is who I am!” screamed with conviction in opening track “Words for the Unwanted”. This is not an album made to draw in AFI fans; it’s specific in nature and in fact may even alienate some listeners. I myself am also straight edge and vegetarian and feel that a record like this is both appropriate and needed. Let’s face it, these guys don’t need to try and sell you a record. Here they are flaunting their art and expression and something they feel very strongly about.

The album was released a few weeks ago only on vinyl with a CD being included, but being very much an after thought. A small zine was also created to coincide with the record showcasing straight edge culture and people, artists, musicians that live this lifestyle. A video for “Conformist” was also released around the same time. The band will also be performing its first show this January in California. I’m hoping more dates will be announced…

XTRMST is dirty and dark, loud and powerful, running its nails down the backs of non believers and big talkers everywhere. “Raise the X!”


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