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| 15 April 2021 | Reply

Label: Better Noise Music

Release Date: April 16, 2021

Rating: 90%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Escape the Fate has been cranking out music since 2008 and hit my radar with a strong self-titled effort in 2010.  With their latest effort, they have landed square on my radar again with an album full of great songs. Disc opener “Lightning Strike” comes at you fast and hard and has all the makings of a killer song from the crisp vocals to the fun guitar riffs in the mix and held down perfectly with solid bass lines and thunderous drums.  This song should create a perfect mood on the front end of a live set once the band can get back out and tour.  Craig’s vocals really shine on the verse and chorus alike on this track.  “Invincible,” which features Lindsey Stirling, works to create a killer one-two punch to open the disc.  The song slows the cadence a bit, but doesn’t detract from the opening energy.  The chorus and transition features a slight hardcore vocal that helps ties this disc to some older material while also showing growth.  The rhythm section hammers the track through the chorus and bridge.  Title track “Chemical Warfare” is a personal favorite on the disc that seems to pull the best from not only each track on the disc, but from the bands discography.  The vocals are great and the guitar work from Kevin Thrasher steps things up a notch.  “Not My Problem,” featuring Travis Barker, is a another song that takes a more mature approach to the bands sound and seems to set the bar for them.  The swirl of clean and metalcore vocals marries the old and new facets of the band.  “Demons” kicks off with slamming bass lines and vocals that punch their way through the musical component.  This track delivers some of the more dynamic fretboard work from Thrasher on the disc, from solos layered in the mix to the transition pieces.  “Ashes (Broken World)” builds on the sound of other tracks on the disc and helps tie the different songs together.  The anthemic vibe woven into the intro and chorus lend themselves to a great track to get the crowd involved at a show.

“Unbreakable” unfolds and we are trapped in a contagious track that is as inviting vocally as it is sonically from a musical standpoint.  The cadence of the track swirls perfectly thanks to Robert Ortiz’s drumming and the vocals that weave in and out of the verse ands chorus.  “Erase You” blasts through you for less than 2:30, but it is a great 150 seconds.  The opening verse and chorus transition perfectly with little shift in the sound of the musical interlude that supports the vocals.  The song is a left turn, but doesn’t deviate too far from the path cut by the rest of the disc.  “Burn The Bridges” is another track that seems to swirl in new facets and sounds with an almost rap verse that shifts to a melodic chorus that lets Mabbit’s vocals shine through the sound.  The programming twisted in the track with the band adds punch tot he track.  The bottom end is tied down on the chorus thanks to TJ Bell’s bass lines.  “Hand Grenade” is catchy and has a familiar vibe woven into its musical DNA that gives it an ETF groove that shows a different side of the band and highlights their growth.  It would have been easy for them to fall back on their laurels and kick this out with a metalcore sound, but they draped a melodic sound over the track.  “My Gravity” has an acoustic sound tossed into the mix and that combines well with the various programmed components and nicely offsets the powerhouse feel of the chorus.  Ortiz’s drumming in this one stands out on the chorus and transitions and gives the song some depth under the guitars and vocals.  Disc closer “Walk On” takes the familiar route of most of the tracks on this disc, led by Mabbit’s vocals and Thrasher’s guitars with Bell and Ortiz anchoring the track.  Be sure to check out the solo on the bridge… this could have been on many of my favorite discs from the late 80’s.  Don’t mistake the power ballad feel of this track for the softer side of ETF; the song construction on this song, and the rest of the disc, delivers new grooves and swirls them with the band’s vibe creating a stronger and more mature sound for the foursome.

Tracklisting: Lightning Strike – Invincible – Unbreakable – Chemical Warfare – Erase You – Not My Problem – Burn The Bridges – Demons – Hand Grenade – Ashes (Broken World) – My Gravity – Walk On

LINEUP: Craig Mabbitt (vocals) – Kevin Thrasher (guitar) – TJ Bell (bass) – Robert Ortiz (drums)





Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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