Aiden - Conviction (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Conviction (2007)


I've always felt like Aiden caught a lot more flack for their image, for their age -- for just being Aiden -- than they have for their music. While far from pioneering anything remotely inventive, the bulk of Aiden's earlier work was not too far removed from skatepunk-influenced goth like Love Equals Death with a technically lacking shade of Strung Out and Rufio mixed in (take "Enjoy the View" off the band's Victory debut, Nightmare Anatomy, or the shamefully catchy "Die Romantic" as evidence). However, the music on Conviction resembles none of the above, and unfortunately for Aiden has supplied cynics with a legitimate reason to tarnish their name.

Conviction sounds like it was ruined by producer Jerry Finn in the same way he pushed the goth-punk of Alkaline Trio's Crimson and Tiger Army's Music from Regions Beyond in the wrong directions, with an oversaturation of hi-hats and bass drum kicks. But Conviction wasn't produced by Jerry Finn. And whoever decided Aiden should go for the Joy Division / Cure sound should probably reassess their confidence in dispensing ideas.

Quite possibly the biggest problem with Conviction is that more than half of the 11 songs seem to be filler, or at least of disposable quality. The dull two-minute, piano-and-vocals intro track "The Opening Departure" unfortunately sets the tone for the album, which rarely rises above a listless drone. "She Will Love You" opens with a sterile dance beat uncomfortably close to Tiger Army's "Prelude: Signal Return," but unlike Tiger Army's, fails to explode with energy, instead pushing the torpid rhythm through over four minutes of boredom-induced agony. While one of the best tracks on the album, "Teenage Queen" is severely out of place on Conviction and probably exists solely to entice middle-school aged girls into scrawling the title's words onto their binders and notebooks, or more ambitiously changing their MySpace headlines to match. "One Love" is also a fairly decent pop-rock song that may find its way to your local radio waves if stations aren't boycotting Victory for their supposed mistreatment of radio-rock darlings Hawthorne Heights.

For the most part, it seems as if Aiden pinpointed their one strength (energy), and decided to wipe it out entirely in songs like "Hurt Me," "Moment" and "Darkness." In fact, the record's final three songs, "Believe," "Bliss" and "The Sky Is Falling" have to be one of the most boring conclusions on any record in recent years. The solitary song on Conviction that even comes close to packing the punch of the band's earlier work is "Son of Lies," which features Efrem Schulz of Death By Stereo. Don't ask how much they had to pay him to do it, 'cause I don't know.

After two fairly cold (and in my opinion unfair) reviews for Aiden's earlier work on this site, I was hoping to give them a fair shake if they could at least come close to matching Nightmare Anatomy. However, this is not the case; Conviction is a resounding disappointment, and Aiden has certainly earned their score this time.