Sixth full-length ‘I Am Human’ sees Las Vegas’ Escape The Fate reunite with producer Howard Benson to shuttle through 14 tracks of metal infused rock. With five albums already behind them, ‘I Am Human’ takes a streamlined approach to its composition.
Opener ‘Beautifully Tragic’ showcases this by flying through harmonised guitar leads and pop-punk style palm muting within seconds. By the time we reach the bridge, comprised of squealing bends and sweep picking, it’s clear that guitarists Kevin Gruft and TJ Bell will be doing most of the heavy lifting on the record.
By the end of the first act, the group take a dive into pop-punk territory with ‘I Will Make It Up To You’. Using octave runs as bridges between sections, the track hits the major checkpoints of the sub-genre before launching into a solo built on speed and dive bombs.
As the album progresses, it begins to feel slightly repetitive until we reach its titular track, which takes a turn in the opposite direction. Using piano melodies and restrained guitars, the track allows vocalist Craig Mabbitt to take the lead. Allowing the vocals to open up and guide the track highlights that Escape The Fate knows how to work dynamics and hooks to their advantage.
Due to the strong body of work that the group have released previously, it makes it hard for tracks such as ‘Empire’ and ‘Riot’ to hold their own. Whilst both run through multiple techniques, they don’t have enough drive to keep them going.
‘Recipe For Disaster’ sees the band move towards their earlier metalcore influences with chugging guitars and tight riffs. The track is saved by the prominent use of synths to give additional melodies, and uses its bridge to build towards a breakdown before flying into a coda, playing with the sub-genre’s stereotypes.
As the album comes to its final few tracks, ‘Digging The Grave’ stands out, with drummer Robert Ortiz attacking his snare drum alongside cycling riffs and chanted vocals. The group fire on all cylinders, with Mabbitt trading high and low growls with himself before Gruft churns out twisting bends.
Strangely enough, if ‘I Am Human’ had been released a few years prior, it would’ve been a milestone for the group. But, after the progression that was shown on 2015’s ‘Hate Me’, the group have played it too safe with enough songs to dilute its overall impact.