Sound — 7
Though they hit a weak point with Conviction, Knives is a solid, strong comeback from the Seattle horrorcore outfit. Filled with catchy, chanting choruses and a delightful return to the nightmarish content of their earlier albums, Aiden have really put out a winner. Although it's not quite as charming as their sophomore effort, Nightmare Anatomy, this album is a good step up from the last one. When I listened to Conviction, I got worried that their music had gone soft. But, not to worry. Knives hits harder than any of Aiden's albums before it, starting with the track, 'Killing Machine' which is opened with wiL (now going by his full name, William) spitting "f--k me. f--k you. f--k you and this whole city and everyone in it." wiL's vocals are much, much stronger this time around, which is perfectly suited to the slightly heavier feel on this album. The song then progresses into a light guitar chug which crecendos at the song's chorus. In spite of guitarist Jake Wambold leaving the band earlier last year, they are still sounding fine. Although it lacks some of the great dueling riffs that he and Ibarra offered on earlier tracks such as 'The Last Sunrise', the guitarwork is still energetic and stays true to the band's syle. The songs do take a few listens to grow on you. The first time I listened to the album, I was satisfied but not overly enthused. At first, each song sounds a little too much like the last. However, having had it on constant rotation all night and day since purchasing it, I am coming to love this CD. On the downside, the songs aren't particularly groundbreaking. They're infectuous and thoroughly lovable, but no creative boundaries have been pushed.
Lyrics — 9
Lyrically, Aiden are alot more abrasive on this record, which is suited perfectly to the strength in both the rhythm, percussion and singing on the new tracks. Anti-religion seems to be a prominent topic on this album, as well as the whole heaven/hell bit. On 'Crusifiction', wiL roars "f--k your God/ f--k your faith/ and in the end/ There is no religion." The lyrics feel alot angrier than past efforts, and whether this is good or bad may depend on the listener. I found it a refreshing break from the more romanticized vibe on Conviction. There are also some point in the record where the lyrics reach a new level for the band, which is great. 'King On Holiday', being one of the most interesting of these/ opens its second verse with the lines "I was born to try to suffer this fame/ I sold my soul for dirt." Lyrically, I am of the opinion that this is their best album to date.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, Knives is one of Aiden's better albums. It has some weaker points but is, all in all, a strong and enjoyable rock album. If stolen/lost, I would most certainly purchase it again, although it may not be a top priority. Highlight tracks: 01.Killing Machine: absolutely wonderful kickoff for the album. 02.Scavegers Of The Dead: instantly catchy opening riff. 03.Elizabeth: it's about Countess Bathory, which I quite enjoyed. Aside from Venom's 'Countess Bathory', I haven't heard many songs about her. Unfortunate, she's fascinating! 04.The Asylum: very catchy verses and chorus. 05.King On Holiday: lyrically, one of the most interesting and meaningful. Also, on a final note, there is a track called 'Portrait' which consists of a short spoken-word recitation by a girl about being raped. Though not a musical piece, 'Portrait' is both chilling and heartbreaking. Loved it, a definite standout track.