For many, Italy is the home of well thought out spaghetti, sexually intimidating accents, and Mafiosos who meet outside cafes and own high-end strip clubs. For the band ‘Aged Teen,’ Italy is their home- gritty, grunge, and rough around the edges. So just when you thought Italy didn’t have it in them, you will be surprised to know they have a burgeoning metal and hard rock scene- and ‘Aged Teen’ are right in the midst of the mayhem.
‘Aged Teen’ has no “middle ground.” Musically, the group slams their foot to the pedal or coast at 15 along a public park. Their latest LP “This is Not an Exit” plays on the very idea of derailing expectations. The EP opens with a heavy riff-centric track called “Seaside Suicide,” channeling the likes of Blaze Bayley era Iron Maiden with a thick healthy heaping of grunge rock the way of Seattle circa-1989. Following this song is the double hitter of “Close” and “Self-Doubt,” the latter being an absolutely gorgeous ode to personal demons. Gorgeous may not be a term considered all that acceptable for ‘Aged Teen’ in the beginning of their career, but they have clearly warmed up to a softer sensibility, offering acoustic balladry over all out rockers. It is also interesting that the best song on the EP is probably “Self-Doubt”.
Lyrically, it’s approachable and excellent. Sonically, it’s beautifully layered, accents in all the right places and containing the best vocal performance. The band places all their influences in a blender, adding stronger touches of Danzig-era Misfits and Danzig-era Danzig. The group includes a nice portion of their grunge counterparts, but wisely adds their own creative flair to create a sound that is not only alarmingly fresh but also oddly familiar. “Nightmares” is the shortest song on the EP, and again shows the band opting to dial down the frantic eccentricity for something more quaint and self-reflective. Not everything here is acoustic. “Shocking Blue” is easily one of the heaviest songs in the band’s catalog. I can’t quite determine what the song is about- the great riff keeps overwhelming my lyrical interest. ‘Aged Teen’ doesn’t try to quietly and intimately balance out their softer influences with their heavier.
Where some tracks blatantly channel Black Sabbath and alternative American grunge, others remain more soft rock radio friendly. The beauty of “This is Not an Exit” is not in the lyrical department, but in the band’s choice to ignore temptations to do anything other than what they believe is right. The band doesn’t opt to appease all fans, and wind up with songs of muddy pseudo-hard rock; instead they divide their musical palette into two distinct sides. The EP, albeit short and unreleased as of yet, remains brilliant in its ability to show that ‘Aged Teen’ can reflect two distinct ideas of who they are- they are broken and they are hard, but they aren’t jaded. It’s a cliché as old as time itself, and yet ‘Aged Teen’ makes it seem all the more appropriate and reconcilable. Hell, it’s even in their name. The group plays with innocence and naivety with perfect aplomb.
Ryan Merkel is a writer on music, pop culture, entertainment, business, and all those other fun things which make life tick. He is an entrepreneur, designer, and overall pop culture enthusiast. Ryan owns the clothing line LoveMended with his wife, which focuses on fashion and charity, as well as the music blog CultureTease. Ryan is the author of two novels, and currently lives in Florida.