The bittersweet revelation that this self-titled will be Aiden’s last album looms tentatively over 2015. It’s fitting that the only original member remaining is charismatic frontman Wil Francis, harbouring the energy, dedication and emphatic emotion of the years that have passed since ‘Our Gangs Dark Oath’ graced teenage music collections.
‘Crawling Up From Hell’s opening profanities soon take a devastating trajectory, as Wil’s familiar goth punk tones denounce mortality with the same determined tones as ever before. “I’m in a killing mood, save me from damnation,” calls out the reflectively menacing ‘Violence and Devotion’, accompanied by new grave successor Ash Costello of New Years Day in a subdued interlude. The melodic racing tones of classic ‘Die Romantic’ grace ‘New Grave’ amid towering gang vocals which also include an appearance from Wil’s protege, Crilly from Ashestoangels.
An authoritative tale of a foreboding female figure hell-bent on taking your soul plays through the catchy ‘Eternal Halloween’, while Wil’s blood-curdling screams on ‘Animals’ build up to the closing seconds which provide a suitable soundtrack to life fading into the distance. ‘No Gods’ showcases the nostalgic anti-theology anticipated of Aiden, confrontational and determined in its venom-spitting, compounded by the goth-punk tones of ‘Pure Horror’, bringing a familiar call to arms framed by Ian MacWilliams’ skilful fretwork. Remarkable artistic expression bursts through the all-too-raw ‘Sins of a Father’, advocating the advantages of hell upon reflection on Wil’s real paternal loss.
Punchy from the onset, ‘Love like a Cemetery’ is packed with morbid beauty, with its swaying close fully aware of its mortality coming to an end, as closer ‘Bring the Knives’ emerges dark, industrial and doom-laden. Somewhat contradictorily, however, its closing lyrics summarise an optimistic sentiment amid the embrace of this end to an iconic band – “now it’s time to shine.”
Nostalgic from the onset, the entire record feels like a suitable swansong for a band that shaped the ‘00s emo revolution in its own image. Bands have come and gone in the time Aiden have been heralded as trendsetters for the scene, but as this iconic outfit take their final curtain call, at least they leave having satisfied all expectations.
Aiden’s self titled album is out now and can be downloaded for free from the following link – https://noisetrade.com/aiden/self-titled.