Nightmare Anatomy

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Billed as a band that blends punk, post-hardcore, and goth sounds, Aiden is actually a bit more straightforward than that: their sound is a surprisingly well-developed blend of melodic punk and screamo. The goth influence is mainly visual: in the liner photos their heavily made-up eyes all glare out at you from under diagonal, dyed-black bangs. Ink, piercings, baleful stares -- they've got the whole look down pat. In fact, Aiden's visual image is so generic that it actually lowers expectations for their music, which takes you by surprise with both its lyrical subtlety (okay, its relative lyrical subtlety) and its pop-smart structure. None of the eleven songs on Aiden's sophomore album is less than good, and several -- including the disturbingly hooky (given its subject matter) "Die Romantic" and the rhythmically disjointed "Unbreakable (I.J.M.A.)" -- border on excellence. "Genetic Design for Design" offers a surprisingly sincere plea for parental forgiveness, and "Goodbye, We're Falling Fast" is perhaps the most fun and exhilarating slab of screamo yet recorded. Very young and very early in their careers, the members of Aiden offer much hope for their future here.

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