Black Sails in the Sunset

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Black Sails in the Sunset
AFI - Black Sails in the Sunset cover.jpg
Studio album by AFI
Released May 18, 1999[1]
Recorded 1998—1999
Genre Hardcore punk, horror punk
Length 46:04[2]
Label Nitro
Producer AFI
AFI chronology
Black Sails EP
Black Sails in the Sunset
All Hallow's E.P.
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[3]
Punknews 4.5/5 stars[4]
Alternative Press 4.5/5 stars[5]

Black Sails in the Sunset is the fourth studio album by the American rock band AFI. It was released on May 18, 1999 through Nitro Records.


While Black Sails in the Sunset is a hardcore punk album,[5] it also is a horror punk album.[6][7] Black Sails in the Sunset is more melodic than previous AFI albums.


Black Sails in the Sunset was released on May 18, 1999 on Nitro Records. With the addition of guitarist Jade Puget as a permanent member, it is the first AFI album to feature the current line-up of the band. The album did not peak on any mainstream Billboard charts, however, it managed to peak at #6 on the Top Heatseekers (Pacific) chart.

Critical reception[edit]

Black Sails in the Sunset was received well by critics. Alternative Press gave the album four-and-a-half out of five stars, commenting that "with new guitarist Jade Puget adding a sense of brooding, thespian eloquence to the disc's shadowy post-hardcore, AFI all but reinvented themselves," and "With longer, deeper, richer, more complex compositions than they've ever attempted before, Black Sails tackles everything from brooding hardcore ... to shimmering balladry..." The publication also went as far as to say that Black Sails is "their first epic."[8]

Decoy Music reviewer Aaron Yarborough praised Davey Havok's lyrical contribution to the album, commending his efforts to "find himself," saying "the way he expresses how he feels is pure poetry." Yarborough concluded by recommending the album to "anyone who likes heavy punk."[9]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Strength Through Wounding" 1:33
2. "Porphyria Cutanea Tarda" 2:07
3. "Exsanguination" 2:48
4. "Malleus Maleficarum" 4:01
5. "Narrative of Soul Against Soul" 2:29
6. "Clove Smoke Catharsis" (Featuring Dexter Holland) 4:38
7. "The Prayer Position" (Featuring Dexter Holland) 3:27
8. "No Poetic Device" 2:16
9. "The Last Kiss*" 3:02
10. "Weathered Tome*" 2:12
11. "At a Glance" 4:00
12. "God Called in Sick Today" (Featuring Dexter Holland; ends at 3:24; hidden track "Midnight Sun" starts at 10:27 after 7:03 of silence) 13:31
  • Due to a misprint, tracks 9 and 10 were mislabeled with their titles switched. Shown here is the correct track listing.

Bonus tracks, B-sides, unreleased tracks, etc.[edit]

All tracks recorded during the Black Sails sessions unless otherwise noted.

  • "Lower It" is featured as track 7 on the vinyl edition of the album. It was eventually re-released on the AFI retrospective compilation.
  • "Who Knew?" is featured on the Black Sails EP. It is released as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of the album.
  • "Transference" is featured on the No Time to Kill compilation. It is the only song by AFI to contain lead vocals by Hunter Burgan, which can be heard during the chorus of the song.
  • "The Chicken Song" is featured as a hidden track on the No Time to Kill compilation. It features Burgan playing the piano and Havok and Puget sharing lead vocal duties. The band often jokingly deny the existence of the song.[citation needed]
  • "Weight of Words" was known to be recorded during the Black Sails sessions, but has yet to be released. However, the AFI retrospective compilation is often called 'The Weight of Words' on online shopping sites.


  • On the side of the album is a hidden message, reading 'Beyond And To All Time I Stand'. This is a lyric from the album's hidden track, Midnight Sun.
  • The track "Midnight Sun" was inspired by the poem De Profundis Clamavi by Charles Baudelaire. Havok can be heard reciting parts of the poem in the song's bridge.
  • "Porphyria Cutanea Tarda" is listed as "Porphyria" on the back cover of the album, as it was listed on Black Sails EP.
  • Jade Puget has stated that "Malleus Maleficarum" was the first song he wrote as part of AFI.
  • The opening track, "Strength Through Wounding" contains a repeated chant, "Through our bleeding, we are one," which fans often chant during concerts while waiting for the band to come onstage, or between songs.
  • Dexter Holland, the vocalist for The Offspring, is featured in the tracks 'Clove Smoke Catharsis' and 'The Prayer Position'. Similarly, Davey Havok did backing vocals for The Offspring's Ixnay on the Hombre album two years prior.
  • "God Called In Sick Today" would become a live staple in AFI concerts for years, usually featured toward the end of the set and including a crowd walk from Havok.
  • Most of the lyrics are properly capitalized, but "The Last Kiss" is printed completely lowercase for unknown reasons.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart Position
Top Heatseekers (Pacific) 6


  • Davey Havok - lead vocals, lyrics
  • Jade Puget - guitars, programming, piano, keyboard, backing vocals
  • Hunter Burgan - bass, programming, keyboard, piano, backing vocals
  • Adam Carson - drums, percussion
  • Nick 13 - guitars, vocals
  • Dexter Holland - guest backing vocals[10]
  • AFI - Producer
  • Andy Ernst - Engineer, Mixing
  • Mike Fasano - Drum Technician
  • Thadd LaRue - Engineer, Assistant Engineer
  • Alan Forbes - Illustrations
  • Gabe Morford - Photography
  • Jamie Reilly - Layout Design


  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "Black Sails in the Sunset - AFI". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 June 2004.
  2. ^ Huey, Steve. "Black Sails in the Sunset - AFI". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 June 2004.
  3. ^ Huey, Steve. "Black Sails in the Sunset - AFI". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 June 2004.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Heller, Jason (June 22, 2010). "AFI Black Sails In The Sunset". Alternative Press. 
  6. ^ Clement, Kaitlyn (October 29, 2013). "AFI New Album 'Burials' Released". 
  7. ^ Yancey, Bryne (October 22, 2013). "AFI - Burials". 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-21. Retrieved 2012-03-06. 
  10. ^ Huey, Steve. "Black Sails in the Sunset - AFI". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 June 2004.

External links[edit]