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Aiden: Our Gangs Dark Oath

Album Notes

Judging from the group shot on the back of Our Gangs Dark Oath, Aiden weren't always the eyeliner-heavy, gothed-out rockers with a penchant for morose lyrics and song titles that they'd become by their 2005 Victory debut. At one point in time, it seems they were just five normal punk rockers who happened to like horror movies. However, what they could become with the right budget, desire, and fashion consultant is certainly hinted at throughout the disc. Aiden offer up a competent, if not slightly generic, dose of post-hardcore with a dark punk edge that relies on a vocal assault that aligns surging singing bits with shrieking back vocals. But instead of coming off as straight-up classicist screamo, the habitually distraught guttural attacks manage to be forgettable enough that the group sounds more like the younger cousins of My Chemical Romance or AFI who just happened to be weaned in a screamo scene. Will Franco has a hardcore voice that at times resembles a much tougher, adolescent version of Davey Havok. Representative of the album, "I Set My Friends on Fire" is a perfect example of this marriage of images; an onslaught of abrasive growls drives the song into a whispering sample of a speaker that blends into Franco emotively singing on top of a reappearance of the growls. The middle part sounds so AFI, it's scary. This likeness continues into songs like "Life I Left Behind" and "Cold December," which both have that whole contemplative brooding-to-surging aspect down pat. "Fifteen" is a straightforward, rousing ditty of empowerment ("Live fast! Die young!"), no doubt one of multiple songs inspired by Franco's own history of drug abuse and being out on his own by his middle teens. A lot more of these songs appear in variation, and it's hard to decide whether Aiden love gang vocals or adding midsong movie/talking samples more, as both dot the entire release. Seeing as this album surfaced about a year after they formed, Our Gangs Dark Oath is so surprisingly well put together and accessible that it's really no shock Victory snatched these guys right up. Now all they need is their own identity and Aiden will be set. ~ Corey Apar


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