Review: Escape The Fate – ‘Chemical Warfare’

Three years after the release of their acclaimed album ‘I Am Human’, Escape The Fate return with their latest release; ‘Chemical Warfare’, and although the music on offer is a million miles away from the metalcore sound of the early days, there is still enough in the tank to keep most long term fans happy, as well as bringing in legions of new fans attracted by the lighter, more radio-friendly material.

Many bands have “watered” their sound down over the last few years in order to capture a more widespread audience, often adopting more of an electronic sound. Recent releases from acts such as Bullet For My Valentine, Daughtry, and Papa Roach danced perilously close to Imagine Dragons-like territory, and in some cases, the end result was nothing more than a blatant attempt at jumping on what was the current trend at the time. It’s a fine line that can alienate those who have been with the band for years, but at the same time, bands do need to grow, and constantly challenge themselves by not repeating the same album over and over. Escape The Fate have been gradually toning their aggression down over the last few studio albums, and ‘Chemical Warfare’ is the by-product of a band looking at themselves through a different, fresher approach.

There are still guitar solos peppered throughout from Kevin (also known as “Thrasher”), and opening track ‘Lightning Strikes’ features some tasty guitar licks, later on, ‘Demons’ teases the listener with hints of explosive guitars, and they are quite welcome when they do appear. Ultimately, you would be not too far off the mark if you referred to some of the material on offer as “a ballsier version of Panic At The Disco”. The aforementioned ‘Lightning Strikes’, for instance, has gargantuan hooks from start-to-finish and hovers around the “not too harsh for commercial radio” mark. ‘Invincible ft Lindsey Stirling’ goes one step further and drops some harsh screams alongside the uber-clean vocals from Craig Mabbitt (as does ‘Burn The Bridges’), with the end result being a track that has great live potential. ‘Unbreakable’, ‘Erase You’, and ‘Gravity’ are too close to Imagine Dragons/Twenty One Pilots for these ears, but fans of both these bands should find plenty to enjoy within. The title track constantly changes tempo and styles and is a track that really grows on the listener (as does closing track ‘Walk On’), thanks mainly to the soaring, hooky melodies.

Not an instant album, and it takes repeated listens to perhaps appreciate what Escape The Fate are trying to do in 2021. Stick with it though, and you might just find something to enjoy within.

Available now through Better Noise Music, more information, here.

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