GENRE: Melodic Metal \ Post Hardcore
LABEL: Better Noise Music
RELEASED: Out Now
Craig Mabbitt – Vocals,
Kevin ‘Thrasher’ Gruft – Guitar,
TJ Bell – Bass,
Robert Ortiz – Drums,
Lightning Strike 2:46
Invincible ft Lindsey Stirling 3:52
Chemical Warfare 3:14
Erase You 2:28
Not my Problem ft Travis Barker 3:25
Burn the Bridges 3:40
Hand Grenade 2:40
Ashes (Broken World) 3:05
My Gravity 3:20
Walk On 3:34
ESCAPE THE FATE – a band I’ve followed for several years now, having first seen them play a thunderous gig at the Electric Ballroom supported by a very fresh faced New Years Day back in December 2016.
Since then they’ve delivered some excellent releases including both HATE ME and I AM HUMAN which pointed to a band clearly on the rise and with latest album, CHEMICAL WARFAE, it feels like a band where the talented fourpiece have finally found their perfect sound.
For me, Hate Me crossed multiple genres and presented a band still in search of their place in the multi-layered world of rock and metal and its follow up definitely continued the trend seeing the band continue to mature. Now, seven albums into their career, one that has, like many acts, had its ups and downs, they return with Chemical Warfare and the 12 tracks on offer are truly glorious.
By now, you would think you understood the band’s sound, knew what to expect from Escape the Fate but thankfully the team are smart enough to look at what is current, more importantly what is currently popular, who to work with, and the win… who to engage with to reach as wide an audience as possible. The latter sees them leaning heavily in the same direction that arena fillers Bring Me The Horizon have done. Whilst there are heavy moments on the album and the tracks are peppered with ripping guitar licks from Kevin Thrasher, the win comes from the pop leanings that make the tracks instant radio friendly hits, at home as much on daytime commercial radio as they are on dedicated rock music stations.
Opening with ‘Lightning Strike’ that contains the most infectious hook and intro to a song and guarantees multiple plays from the off, the band set out their stall and succeed in leaving the listener (this one at least) with the biggest shit eating grin on their faces. It nails just what music should be ‘enjoyable’! I want music to uplift and inspire and something like Lightning Strikes ticks all of the boxes required to make you feel like a million dollars by the time the song wraps up.
It’s followed by Invincible featuring the amazing talents of Lindsey Stirling on violin. The song also features on new horror flick The Retaliators, which, interestingly also sees label mates Papa Roach contributing to the soundtrack with Jacoby Shaddix also starring in the movie as well. Yet again, the song is INSTANT. It grabs from the off, takes enough twists and turns on its journey to keep you hooked and also harks back to the harder music the band used to produce which will keep long time fans happy.
The third single that fans will have heard already and is coincidentally the third track on the album is Unbreakable which sums the band up pretty well. They really are a bunch of grafters whose hard work is paying off in spades. Like Papa Roach, the big splash they made at the beginning of their career has been surpassed with their more recent material and like their label mates, Escape the Fate feel more relevant and a better band than they’ve ever been at any point in their career.
Both the band and their label have described this as “an ambitious third entry to what could certainly be described as their most powerful trilogy of albums.” I couldn’t agree more. As noted above, this period of work from the band is by their tightest, most anthemic and will definitely secure their musical legacy. Made together with A-list producer John Feldmann (Panic! At The Disco, 5 Seconds Of Summer, The Used) and co-produced by Thrasher, the album feels as personal to the band as it could do.
Chock full of driving anthems and softer moments that will garner them an army of fans, the guests are also supplemented with one Travis Barker, best known as the drummer for Blink-182, who makes a handful of appearances as well. Check out his input on the rather excellent Not My Problem.
Overall this contains fat hooks, choppy riffs, anthems aplenty and enough new material to see the tracks peppered over the charts globally for some time to come. Hugely enjoyable, this is a band that has come to terms with who they are, what they do and have delivered the best of what they do in a very very tight package indeed.
Reviewed by: Adrian Hextall