Aaron Smith, of the Rochester-based, metal core band AFR, turns the drums into a concussion instrument. Throwing their latest EP, Psychopath of Rightousness, into my stereo only reminds me of how my high school music teacher had it so wrong to call them otherwise.
AFR dropped the EP late last month, their second in two years. It consists of six, heavy tracks that promise to beat the hell out of your ears once you’re done. In fact, the band’s bassist Todd Church received my email shortly after I was done listening, simply stated: “Wow!”
AFR is a five-piece band, featuring two guitarists and a bassist, that had started out back in the spring of 2012. Naturally, there has been a few line-up changes. Church was brought into the fold last year, and Aaron replaces Brandon Lewis behind the drum kit. Despite the short amount of time, the group is already signed to a label (Dead Trash Mob Records/Buffalo), and they’ve garnered a healthy respect from local fans for their abundance of showmanship, with or without the support from the crowd.
Psychopath comes at the heels of last year’s release, A Hero to Villians, which in itself was a polished display of talent. Edwin Hernandez and Zack Sweedler continue to supply some tight guitar riffs, and Church lays down the bassline. Alan Rohr’s lyrical presentation again lends the band its metal core characteristics. But, what seems to separate this newest release from the last is its focus on the percussion. There is a subtle shift to the bass and percussion that gives Psychopath a slightly, but noticeably, harder sound than their last EP.
Each track starts off quickly, with the exception of “DeFeo”. Amityville Horror fans will recognize the name and correctly associate the song title with that of the tragic events which ultimately inspired the book and subsequent movies. This track starts off with audio from a news broadcast reporting the details of the murders, scantly accompanied by guitar and cymbal, before tearing through their power chords. Otherwise, the boys like to rip it up right at the start. Perhaps the best example of this would be “Bring on the Destructor”.
Destructor is a favorite. It sets the tone for the rest of the EP. The report from Smith’s drums is what resonates with me after putting the headset down. Those familiar with AFR’s repertoire won’t be disappointed. But, that hard edge was achieved through a subtle tweak in focus towards the percussion and bass from the new guys.
AFR valiantly represents the emerging music scene out of Rochester. It’s a scene that has the attention of people in and out of New York State. And, with that said, the fact that this band is only two years in the game, and already making a name for themselves, is a testament that speaks louder than their music. (If that’s even possible.)
Key Tracks: Bring on the Destructor, One in the Chamber, DeFeo
August 2 – Rochester – Firehouse Saloon
August 5, 6 – Syracuse – Lost Horizon (BATTLECROSS headliner)
August 15 – Canandaigua – Villager Pub
August 16 – Jordan – Hagefest (2-day fest)
August 30 – Bridgewater – Xtravaganza2 (2-day fest) at Club Aqua