Continuing to change their sound on seventh album ‘Chemical Warfare’, Escape The Fate double down on the pop-esque elements they touched on a few times in the past along with economic structuring to create a record set on pushing them towards mainstream rock success.
With the assistance of producer extraordinaire John Feldmann on co-production duties alongside guitarist Kevin “Thrasher” Gruft, ‘Chemical Warfare’ sees Escape The Fate embrace a more polished production to suit their new soundscape.
Sleazy riffs and catchy ad libs that drive opener ‘Lightning Strike’ waste little time as tightly wound guitars and streamlined verses push towards the hook laden chorus. Ticking all the boxes that’s expected of them, Escape The Fate condense their sound into a track that doesn’t outstay its welcome, preferring to push through chunky guitars and wide choruses at a rapid pace.
Continuing to lean towards a more pop sound, singles ‘Invincible’ and ‘Unbreakable’ both meld synths, driving guitars and vocally driven structures. Whilst the latter sits closer to pop-rock, ‘Invincible’ combines the group’s hard rock and pop influences well as violinist Lindsay Stirling works in tandem with the track as opposed to an afterthought.
Following on from the title-track, ‘Erase You’ plays with faster vocals and electronica driven verses to create a welcome change of pace. Highlighting the strengths of Escape The Fate‘s second chapter, the synth driven choruses and committed pop sound works better than adding distorted guitars into the mix. Whilst following number ‘Not My Problem’ does prove contrary to this, as jagged chords drive its chorus home, ultimately ‘Chemical Warfare’ is stronger when the group focus on working with contemporary soundscapes.
Granted, the stomping ‘Demons’ does show that the band haven’t forgotten how to craft moments of crunching guitars and lurching breakdowns, but ‘Hand Grenade’ brings a stronger energy to the record and serves as a definite highlight. Ultimately, whilst Escape The Fate have been moving closer to this sound in the past few years, it’s still a little uneven and could benefit from a more condensed track listing, with ‘Ashes’ and ‘My Gravity’ falling into the background.
Closing on ballad ‘Walk On’, Escape The Fate show that they can still deliver a solid pop-rock track. Bursting with chunky guitars, hook driven choruses, and gang vocals, ‘Walk On’ closes the record on a high note. Whilst ‘Chemical Warfare’ does try to broaden its scope, ultimately it doesn’t always hit the mark, but with some clear highlights peppered throughout, Escape The Fate could capitalise on their new sound next time around and deliver a career best.