Aiden: ‘Knives’

Yay generic anger!Album name: Knives
Artist name: Aiden
Genre: Emo
Released: May 12 2009
Label: Victory
ZME Rating: 2/10
Website: aiden.org


Jesus Christ. Look, I’m not saying that Aiden are the worst band in the world. But you know that feeling you get when you see a 13 year old boy trying to be rebellious by wearing a lot of black and swearing in a really unconvincing manner, claiming that he’s angry at the whole entire world and is gonna, like, break stuff? That feeling of pure, irrepressible disgust and expasperation? Imagine if the 13 year old boy wasn’t, in fact, 13 years old: rather, he’s 27 years old, and prone to acting like a petulant teenage girl in the middle of a strop if he doesn’t get his way. That’s what Aiden’s Knives is like – just a big, immature hissy fit, playing itself off as some sort of music.

And now imagine that the kid’s name is William Francis, but he calls himself “wiL”. Seriously.

I realise that sounds a lot like a mid-20th Century quinquagenarian proclaiming rock n’ roll to be the devil’s music; it sounds like I’m just too old and embittered to understand why these kids are so angry at the man, man! But no, I’m 21, prone to listening to a good amount of loud guitar music – and I can honestly say, with my hand on my heart and the best of intentions: Stop it Aiden. You’re embarrassing yourselves, and everyone around you. Just stop.

I’ll give Aiden the benefit of the doubt. Angry music is hard to pull off in any sort of respectable manner without looking like colossal, whiny tits. Slayer made a career out of looking like colossal, whiny tits, so it’s not like Aiden are alone in their dismal situation. It’s just that when people scream about how the world sucks, to a generic metal backing, it tends to come across as, well… kinda pathetic and annoying. Yes, you’re angry – but do you have to inflict such soulless, angsty vomit-rock on us as your means of expressing it? Can’t you just suppress it for years, and then  passive-aggressively take it out on your loved ones like the rest of us?

Apparently not. Instead, Aiden see fit to air all sorts of adolescent anger on Knives, apparently rather fancying themselves as a kind of epic, filmic band – dialogue samples from The 25th Hour and The Devil’s Advocate spill out across songs with relatively little context. The sample from The 25th Hour seems to have been chosen simply based on its tendency to use a certain four-letter word, and the Devil’s Advocate clip… well, I’ll talk about that later.

So yes, Aiden are pretty ticked off at someone. In the most generic, bland, predictable way, of course – so cue lots of pseudo-aggressive-but-actually-hilarious song names. “Killing Machine”; “Scavengers of the Damned”; “Excommunicate”. It’s like reading the diary of a 15 year old Ed Gein right after his first girlfriend dumped him. Fittingly, all of this plays out to a cavalcade of cookie-cutter guitar riffs and drum rolls that fumble around in the background like awkward teenage lovers who know what goes where, but not when, or why, or how. For all the teenage insecurity and angst “wiL” mutters on about, the music does a far more capable job of reproducing those feelings of youthful shame and humiliation, just by being pretty awkward and shameful.

Of course, “wiL” does mutter on, and boy howdy, are you in for a treat with these lyrics. The aforementioned “Scavengers of the Damned” contains such utterly unique and original gems as “Death has come to set us free”, and “It’s up to me to make you f***ing bleed”. The album’s positively strewn with this kind of lyrical mastery: “Carve a message in my arm/ in candlelight, sew it up with hate”… “I’m f***ing sick, don’t take me”. If John Lennon’s lyrics sheets get framed and displayed in exhibitions, this lyrics sheet would probably get used to mop up a nosebleed the janitor at that exhibition might have.

All of which is nothing compared to the drubbing deserved by the utterly woeful, inexcusable “Crusifiction”. Work with me here, because I’m as atheistic as they come, and have no ideological objection to this song. It’s not like I’m sitting here nursing a Bible, crying because Aiden are *GASPSHOCKHORROR* singing about how awful religion is. Like it’s something shocking and new or dangerous. Opening with dialogue from The Devil’s Advocate, it culminates in the startlingly insightful chorus, “F*** your god, f*** your faith, in the end, there’s no religion.” Well, quite: that’s the whole world convinced, then. You don’t sound ridiculous at all.

Of course, it wouldn’t be nearly as bad if “wiL” didn’t feel the need to bellow “I am the devil!” during the bridge. Honestly, son, get a grip.

Knives is filled to the brim with that kind of misplaced rage and pubescent sweary-rebellion that longs to be offensive, but it’s so laughable even a busload of nuns would have a hard time getting worked up about it. Just to get across quite how hilariously over-the-top “wiL’s” anger is, I’ll give you a tiny sample of an open letter to Apple Software he posted on the Aiden website.

So what if a crappy punk band from Seattle sings about the deception of religion as a whole? So what if they sing about Catholic priests molesting little boys? Who really cares at all if they wail about a Hungarian Countess that was born in the 1500’s and killed over 600 women? Who Cares? The PMRC? Ted Haggard? Congress? Jesus? Oh wait, no… JESUS ISN’T FUCKING REAL.

Haha! You showed them!

Grow up.

  1. Killing Machine
  2. Let the Right One In
  3. The Scavengers of the Damned
  4. Elizabeth
  5. Crusifiction
  6. The Asylum
  7. Portrait
  8. Excommunicate
  9. King on Holiday
  10. Black Market Hell

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  • kkk

    Tch. You are obviously more acoustic-music guy. Nothing wrong with that though, but if someone likes Aiden, what are you to tell them quit?

  • Petetard

    What a bunch of self-centered retards.awesome review al!

  • Spitfire

    After conviction, this isn’t the kind of album I expected from Aiden but it’s not as bad as the review suggests. Any fan of Aiden will probably find alot to like and its worth a listen or two.

  • King of the Scarecrows

    I have never been a fan of Aiden but I heard this CD and it’s the best thing I’ve ever heard them play, it almost makes up for that dreadful “Cry Little Sister” cover they did for Lost Boys 2 (which was equally as dreadful)

  • funtwo

    Why can’t these lame bastards fuck off the face of the earth, or at least the rock scene? The world doesn’t need this filler crap taking up precious CD space in music stores. More importantly, it doesn’t need to hear this seemingly neverending, uninspirering garbage from a band with a singer that needs to tell the world about all his heroin and suicide battles at every oppotunity he gets at talking to the press

  • darkbluemannequin

    Really? Showing their passion and emotion is called being HUMAN. And being an artist. If you don’t like their music then don’t listen to it. WiL is angry. So what? If I had a voice like his I would probably be cussing out the world too…have you looked around lately? Obviously not since you would notice how fucked up it is if you had.

  • SimpleMonkey

    I love Aiden. They just aren’t your style. The lyrics are amazing – they swear, yes, but it is expression. This world is fucked up, people have the right to shout about it. Aiden are a godse- Devilsend to a lot of us who UNDERSTAND. If you don’t like it, screw you.

  • hellsya

    do think your little bitchy review is actually going to change any ones opinion the only difference between will’s letter to apple and your little rant against Aiden is that people care about what will has to say but no one cares about you or what you have to say

  • http://misterhands.wordpress.com Al Byrne

    No, hellsya, the difference between my review and wiL’s letter to Apple is this: His letter was a self-righteous, whiney, sweary rant at a megacorporation that made him look about as mature and threatening as your average swearing baby. My review was a peurile way of expressing the fact that his album was rubbish. Apples and mouldy, sweary oranges, guy.

    Also:

    “If I had a voice like his I would probably be cussing out the world too…”

    I can’t really argue with that – I’d be pretty angry if I sounded like wiL.

  • Steve Lampiris

    To Hellsya: If this “little bitchy review” didn’t actually matter, then you wouldn’t bother 1.) reading it and 2.) commenting on it. The very fact that you post a comment saying it doesn’t matter negates the review’s very irrelevance.

  • http://yahoo.com jayne

    what a cruel and evil thing to say!!! u know some people like aiden and like what they sing theyre very good singers. and if youre going to review them can you atleast not say they’re humiliating them selves cuz theyre really not! this is the music they sing this is what they like and apparently what you dont and if you dont like it well then dont listen to it or talk about it.

  • kevin

    Wow. you know, when i first read this review i started to get mad. Then I realized, it doesn’t matter what you think. You just don’t understand the music. He sings Crusifiction because it’s about a short story that he wrote. That letter was to apple because they rejected an application for his new album Knives because it was “obscene and offensive” even though you can buy songs like one that talks about Slim Shady beating his wife and dumping it in the ocean. At least that’s what wiL did after he sent that letter.

    I also like the fact that you say your an Atheist yet you start off the review crying “Jesus Christ”.

    I would like to point out that if a 15 year old girl is writing things like “killing machine” and “Scavengers” then I would like to meet her cause that means she’s not your “cookie cutter” teenager. And I like how you think their musical abilities are “awkward and shameful”. Speaking as a drummer for 5 years now, music is my life. If you knew anything about GOOD music, you would know that these aren’t “cookie cutter” parts. They are actually technical and hsve talent, something which is hard to come by now and days.

    Finally, i would like to quote you in your review, “Can’t you just suppress it for years, and then passive-aggressively take it out on your loved ones like the rest of us?” If that’s your way of dealing with anger then perhaps you should visit an anger management class. Or instead of taking out on your loved ones, just do us all a favor and kill yourself. i’m sure nobody would care.

  • BWise

    Dude. You cant just tear apart a band. just cause u don’t like them doesn’t mean everyone does. I!!! think they are they best band on the planet and they have altered my love for music like nobody else before. They are f***ing awesome. Dont be such a dick.

  • http://misterhands.wordpress.com Al Byrne

    Of course I can tear Aiden apart. I already did. Look at it up there: it’s glorious.

  • kevin

    Gloriously stupid. Not to mention pathetic.

  • http://misterhands.wordpress.com Al Byrne

    Oh, do cheer up, Kevin. You’re bringing the mood down.

  • Grace

    Wow… this review seems to be more filled with rage and anger and awhole lot whiney-er than you say ‘Knives’ is..
    Which I believe is a great album. And you obviously don’t get what any of the songs are about, so I guess you are free to draw these misinformed conclusions.
    But next time you’re going to criticize something so harshly, you might want to understand it first.

  • Benjamin

    LOOOOVE this review!!!! Well written and very funny. You have bought alot of good pionts forward. and i partly agree. I do own this album and i do like it, bloody godsend after the shit that was Conviction *hurl* But yeah there is alot of half arsed hate aimed at nothing. I think Crusifiction is a funny song, which is a prefect example of hate aimed at nothing. If jesus isnt real (which he isnt) then why throw so much hate at…nothing…strage, but i enjoy the rest of the album :)

    But hats of for the review, an interesting article.

    But in the future i suggest to ZME Music to get someone to review music they are parcially interested in.

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  • shibby

    right kinda got a little on the annoyed side with this review, specially taking quotes from there songs out of context thats precisely what you do when you don’t understand what the story within the music is, i know all music is up to interpretation your quote of “I’m f***ing sick, don’t take me”, is from the Asylum which as the title suggests is about some mental asylum (my interpretation) before these final lines before this its “i’m not sick, i’m not insane”, to put it in a nutshell, he doesn’t wanna be taken to a loony bin don’t blame em there horrible.

    you are entitled to your opinion and all the quotes about your “glorious” little rant is in my eyes the 15 year old who’s just been dumped, you can’t complain about a band having a lil rant then you have a rant about it, doesn’t make sense.

    i will have one pick at Aiden no matter how many times i’ve seen them and love them, was portrait necessary? it is a very disgusting disturbing song that i have to get off ASAP or i may throw up or throttle a man.

    but i do love Aiden and no-one can change me just like no-one will change any band if we have pointless rants on these kinda things

    pointless rant over, happy me now :) bye bye off to listen to a bit of the album =]

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