Review: Pitch Black

Pitch Black
(Revelation Records)

An album’s worth of dark and mysterious punk from Northern Oakland that bears a striking resemblance to modern Bay Area legends, AFI. How far is Northern Oakland from the Bay Area? Maybe they’re just unaware of the likenesses. Anyway, this is well-played, energetic and intense, but not entirely captivating, considering the AFIness. What really grabbed me were the numerous other similarities. Creepy cover art comparable to AFI’s girl cartoon character ‘Articia’, amid shadows and bats, with a skull to dot the I in Pitch Black. Spooky song names like “Resting Place”, “The Wrath” and “Funeral Notice”, not to mention “The Bride”, “Destructive Criticism” and “Doctor’s Orders” all scrawled in a fiendish Jack the Ripper font. There’s a pumpkin with cross bones on the disc tray (I mean, come on, “All Hallow’s” EP anyone?) and the band dressed in black on the inside cover, although it doesn’t look like they’re wearing makeup. Finally, there’s the music. Eleven songs in 33 minutes, dominated by nasally vocals, groovy horror-punk guitars, thumping bass, popping drums and a little funky organ here and there, just to spook it up a bit. Did I mention this sounds a lot like AFI?