Review Summary: Rain In Hell gives fans a new perspective on the group. It contains some brand new songs, two covers, an acoustic track, and a killer live show making it a must for any fan of the band. Recommendations beyond that...not so much.
Aiden is a band that takes a lot of shi
t they don’t deserve. Than again, when you dress in black, wear make up, play a popular genre of music offering minimal originality, and are on Victory Records you sort of set yourself up for insults. Unfortunately, many people take that angle on the band. I mean after all who really cares that they got signed to that label with two members still in high school. Who really cares that with those members still in high school they managed to play over 100 shows, sacrificing breaks from school to tour and put out a debut record. At such a young age, the band was indeed quite eager and committed to the music business. Want proof, how about eating Subway sandwiches on tour states away from home on Christmas Day? With that level of dedication it is no coincidence that Aiden has made quite a mark on the modern day scene. After an impressive touring run following the release of Nightmare Anatomy
, the group decided to do an EP/DVD entitled Rain In Hell
and release it on Halloween.
The EP shows some diverse sides of Aiden, as they pull out some covers as well as an acoustic song. With the group being so young and usually confining themselves to a certain style of music, the last three songs are all either hit or miss. But we will get into that in a moment. “A Candlelight Intro”
opens the EP and I can’t help but feel a bit gypped right off of the get go. With only a 6 track EP many will find a 2:22 long intro quite unnecessary. Throwing complaints aside, the introduction works better than half of those heard on more recent metalcore albums (and yes I’m looking at some of the band’s label mates). With the sounds of rain, thunder and a heavy chorus driven guitar lick over some distant sounding drums and moderate bass, things have an industrial feeling to them. Overall I can get into the introduction but I really feel as though they should have held it off until their next full length.
The first real song here is “The Suffering”
which opens with the famous “Burn your friend’s”
chant. The verse is very vocal and bass driven, and easily enjoyable as well. After a slight build up, things go into a half time feel, bringing out a wonderful chorus. wiL’s vocals sound great during the section and really bring a memorable atmosphere into things. However, the song takes a plunge downward during the bridge. It is the typical vocal driven one with quiet guitars, audible bass and some nice rolls; well that is the first part of it at least which works much better than the second half. During the second half they just use the clean guitar and vocal format. While it serves as a nice build up into the chorus, it disrupts the flow of the song. So far at least the EP is off to a decent start. A clean intro opens up “We Sleep Forever”
which features some enjoyable bass grooves and guitar riffs. Once more, the first half of the verse places its focus on bass and vocals. The second half reveals some interesting guitar licks as they mix things up slightly. The chorus brings out some well placed “ohh’s” and give the song a much more relaxed feel to it. Things stay that way for the majority of the song, as here they put together a decent bridge which appropriately fits the song. It locks focus more so on instrumentals as opposed to the faux-dramatic clean guitar and vocal build up they typically surrender themselves to. The end result is much more pleasing as the song feels quite organized. Solid composition along with its laidback atmosphere makes “We Sleep Forever”
an enjoyable tune.
Up next are the two covers, and let me say they both end up hit or miss for the most part. “White Wedding”
starts out fairly promising and never really reaches a low point. The major problem which plagues the song is just how much power it lacks. Things just sound very bland on the vocal end. Instrumentally things certainly work out better but they really do not bring the song out of its slump. The verse is probably the most enjoyable part of the song due to the classic guitar riff over quite audible bass. Aside from that there just really is not a whole lot that stands out here and as a result, things are quite forgettable. Thankfully the group redeems themselves with the established and legendary Misfits track in “Die Die My Darling”
. It starts off suspiciously quiet with some delicate bass and soothing vocal delivery. Things later explode into the traditional fury of the song. But right as I say traditional I deceive you all, as the group really makes this song their own. They switch up some of the chord progressions adding some new flavors to the song with octaves. However, the most noticeable difference is in the verse as they add a very pleasing guitar riff. Things never sound overdone and listener’s are never under the impression that Aiden is ruining the classic. Vocally wiL delivers a wonderful performance, as his tone really works well with his band mate’s modifications. This is certainly one of the highlights here as the group took the song, managed to make it their own while keeping its core intact and delivered a superb performance overall.
Unfortunately Rain In Hell
falls from its peak at record speed. The last track “Silent Eyes”
is the group’s first acoustic track I do believe, and trust me if that is not true one certainly would think it was. Vocals are really all over the place here. They can go from a higher pitched whine with minimal pitch awareness to a very quiet mumble in seconds. Guitar wise there is not a whole lot to praise here either, as things are very safe and basic in terms of the progressions. Overall wiL just has not yet discovered how to make his voice work with a song like this. It sounds very awkward overall and they definitely should have a few more trial and error sessions before they decide to record another song like this. Credit to them for trying something different, but it is quite obvious here that wiL is out of his comfort zone. In the blink of an eye the reasonably smooth EP takes a huge plunge.
Well if things ended there I would be extremely disappointed. In a sense they do, but as silly as this may sound I did not buy the EP for the EP itself. I bought it for the DVD. I am willing to bet the majority of sputnik has not seen Aiden live. My recommendation; the next time you are at a festival they happen to be playing at, if no one else you like is on don’t take a lunch break. Rather take a hike up to their stage and grab yourself a listen. The main feature on the DVD is their 6 song set from the House of Blues in Chicago. It was their opening slot from the Never Sleep Again Tour which was headlined by Hawthorne Heights. At this time the band was practically unknown as Nightmare Anatomy
had been released about a month ago. This is obvious by the opening song or two, but by the time they close with their famous “World By Storm”
one can just feel how much they have won the crowd over.
That really is not a surprise, as they sure do know how to rock out and command their audience. Their high energy stage show consists of guitar spins, mic spins, and even some stage dives and crowd walks. On top of it, they deliver a fairly tight performance overall and despite it being the last stop on the tour, wiL puts forth an incredible effort vocally. Plus the set list just can’t be beat for how short of a time they had. Knife Blood Nightmare, The Last Sunrise, Die Romantic, Goodbye We’re Falling Fast, I Set My Friends on Fire, and World By Storm. With a strong set list and a wonderful stage show and sound, Aiden come through with a terrific performance at the House of Blues. The rest of the DVD contains their three music videos (see the first three songs from the set list), I Set My Friend’s on Fire from Warped Tour, and The Last Sunrise in London as well as Unbreakable in another club venue. The sound on the music videos is pretty rough, as the production sounds different than on the record. The closest they come to achieving the quality of the HOB show is with the “I Set My Friend’s on Fire”
performance where the group call for their infamous wall of death. Being a big Warped Tour crowd was on hand, the chaos is actually pretty impressive although I’m sure the term wall of death next to Aiden looks goofy to many. Overall one can tell that the main focus of the DVD was the House of Blues show, and with good reason as well. It sounds the most polished and feels the most put together in terms of filming.
If not clear by now, the DVD is slightly more consistent than the EP itself. While the CD portion suffers from some bland and awful tracks, the biggest flaw found on the DVD is production. All in all though, Rain In Hell
does serve up a decent amount of material for any Aiden fan to enjoy. Some enjoyable new tracks, a strong cover, and a brilliant live show are not bad at all for only 10 bucks. On the other hand, a typical listener of the band might be displeased with the end result here due to the fact that 2 of the 6 songs on the EP are either under-par or dreadful. However, I’m sure that plenty will be redeemed after watching the House of Blues show, as it accurately shows how much heart and passion Aiden put into their live shows. But, if I was a casual listener I would not be totally convinced to buy this for a 6 song live show. That possibly reveals the biggest flaw of the EP package; its limited audience. For the most part it is aimed at fans of the band and will shut many others out due to its inconsistent quality. But with that being said and from an Aiden’s fan point of view, Rain In Hell
is indeed an appropriate “appetite holder” until their next full length is released.
EP Rating: 2.5
DVD Rating: 3.5
Final Rating: 3/5