Pastor and musician Aaron Rios
’ debut EP, Hiding Place
, is an eclectic mixture of the electric guitar moments of early Michael Gungor Band, the theatrics of Israel Houghton, and a sprinkling of Deitrick Haddon's soaring vocals. “You Alone Reign” is the biggest standout of the four songs, with its genre mash-up of 2000s-era gospel, worship, and a few dashes of hip-hop thrown in for good measure. The vocal-shredding yelp in the latter half of “King of Glory” is achingly-passionate and the most interesting moment of the song. However, the song ultimately treads a little too closely in melody and lyrics to a previously released praise chorus written by Donna Atkins titled, “Glorify Your Name.” This may or may not have been intentional due to the limited amount of chord progressions available to any songwriter, but it ultimately left this reviewer distracted. “More of You” is a smooth listen, aided by a vocal assist from Leah Thibodeau. While closer “Hiding Place” and its ambient beginning is pleasant, it - and the two songs preceding it - falls short of the heights of “You Alone Reign.” This is primarily due to song length and lyrical repetitiveness, with some of the lyrics falling prey to cliché. “Hiding Place” does come closest with its slow-burn build, and electric guitar flourishes making for a peaceful and encouraging close to the album. Overall, Aaron shows enough flashes to have high hopes of future releases. One would think that the recordings may lose a bit in translation with the live versions packing a more dynamic punch. Ultimately, with his velvety vocals and passionate desire to usher listeners into praise and worship, Rios is off to a good start with Hiding Place
being a solid launching pad for additional music.
- Review date: 4/27/20, Josh Balogh
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