The shadowy electronic side band of AFI's main songwriting team of Davey Havok and Jade Puget, Blaqk Audio was officially unveiled in the late 2000s with the goth-dance CexCells. Taking inspiration from industrial dance, new wave, and EBM, the project allowed Havok and Puget to indulge their dark dance-centric tendencies, topping the U.S. Dance charts three consecutive times. By 2019, the pair issued their fourth album of polished synth pop-revivalism, Only Things We Love, to close out the decade. The 2020s kicked off with their fifth set, Beneath the Black Palms.
Although Havok and Puget had been working on songs for Blaqk Audio since before AFI's breakthrough album Sing the Sorrow came out in 2003, it took a few years for the music to see the light of day. The success of their group's major-label debut prevented the two from spending much time on Blaqk, though Puget still continued to bring programmed sounds into AFI's repertoire, both on Sing the Sorrow and 2006's Decemberunderground. Finally in early 2007 — with Havoc on vocals and Puget on everything else — they were able to complete what they began, releasing the all-electronic dance- and goth-inspired CexCells on Interscope in August of that same year. Combining an equal measure of influence from Depeche Mode, New Order, and Pet Shop Boys, Blaqk Audio resurrected a distinctly nocturnal '80s sound for the aughts.
Between albums, they contributed to soundtracks for the movie Abduction and the Batman: Arkham City video game. In 2012, the pair returned with a second '80s synth pop-inflected album, Bright Black Heaven. Four years later, a continuation of that same sound was melded with darker sonics on Material, which saw Blaqk Audio veer in an icier, more intense direction on tracks such as "First to Love."
After another stint spent focused on AFI (recording and releasing the band's tenth album and an EP), Havok and Puget switched back to Blaqk Audio for the throbbing Only Things We Love. Issued in early 2019, the album included the pounding single "The Viles." Just the next year, the duo surprised fans with a short EP, Beneath the Black Palms (Side A), the first taste of their fifth full-length, Beneath the Black Palms. Another pulsing set of industrial dance and EBM, the LP featured the single "Hiss." ~ Neil Z. Yeung & Marisa Brown