Totally agreed, really by DU their songwriting had become more formulaic of like:
V1 - Chorus - V2 - Chorus - Bridge - Chorus/Reprise
Not in everything post - Sing the Sorrow, but it's a lot more commonplace, or close to that structure.
I think my favorite AFI song structurally is Synesthesia. The breakdown is almost like a separate song itself. And I love the vocal melody in the chorus. I love how Dave sings "say you will follow me" and "sing again, follow me", it's just so unique.
Sorry, back to Drowning - I still adore that album. I think the lyrics are just fantastic, there's a lighter side to the songs that really make it fun to just jam to, until The Despair Factor, in a way that's really so familiar to how they ended Black Sails and Sing the Sorrow. I love how they arranged the songs on all of those albums, there's always such a huge, powerful feeling and then ends softly. Just wonderful.