Noir

For his solo debut last year as William Control, Aiden frontman Wil Francis delivered a record that appealed more toward industrial-rock rivetheads in Apotgyma Berserk tees than anyone who's a card-carrying member of Warped Tour Nation. Noir, the second installment in the Control canon, finds Francis abusing his hard drive with distortion ("Vorspiel") and big club beats ("All Due Restraint"), while delivering electronics-based music that's both geared toward the dancefloor (the dark-humored hip-hop house exercise "Why Dance With The Devil When You Have Me") or synonymous with the '80s ("I'm Only Human Sometimes").

What Noir has working against it is Francis' ambition: While his take on the Elvis Presley classic "Can't Help Falling In Love" is good, the acoustic-guitar excursion disrupts the overall atmosphere he's great at conveying. Ditto for "Soliloquy," another acoustic track that might've gotten placement on an Aiden record, but sounds positively awkward here. (Lyrics like "I've tried to cut away all the cancer that lives within my skin and bones," are positively cringe-inducing.) The piano-based title track fares better in its gothic sentiments (think more Emily Bronte, less Tim Burton), but ends Francis' electronic excursion on somewhat of a downer–until you get to the death-pop-disco in the hidden track.

While these excursions might force listeners to lean on the scan button on their sound systems, Noir goes far in displaying Francis' ability to convey industrial-rock menace, while putting a face on a genre that's been marginalized for a long time.

Victory http://www.victoryrecords.com