When I was offered to review ESCAPE THE FATE’s newest album, I could picture my teenage-self bursting with excitement! The newest record, Chemical Warfare, from Nevada’s post-hardcore outfit is to be released on 16th April.
To quote singer Craig Mabbit: ‘We want people to connect deeply with the music and disappear in it. Get lost and then return from the album, or show, feeling inspired about themselves.’ I cannot completely agree that this was my perception of the album, but it was enjoyable all the same.
This album is said to be the final piece of their ‘most powerful trilogy of albums’, consisting of 2015’s release Hate Me and 2018’s I Am Human¸ and the ambition is apparent when you see the A-lister John Feldmann on the producer list and BLINK-182’s Travis Barker making an appearance.
The album opens with Lighting Strike. The track is catchy to say the least with a memorable chorus ‘Baby, I’m a lightning strike, living like I’m never gonna die. Taking the world by storm again, let me light up the sky’. The track definitely has poppy influences, similar in sound to early 2000’s pop-punk bands such as FALL OUT BOY and PARAMORE. A fun opening track!
Next up is Invincible. Heavier than the opening track but not quite ‘metal’ in my opinion. Some eerie and moodier vibes with this track, highlighted by the violin played by Lindsey Stirling. The breakdown during the track’s midpoint had me headbanging along. There are hints of LINKIN PARK and BRING ME THE HORIZON sprinkled throughout this track.
The third track, Unbreakable, has a thumping dance track behind the lyrics, which reminded me of some cheesy 2000s DJ. This track didn’t do much for me.
The title track begins with a similar sound to the opening track, reminiscent of those early 2000s pop-punk bands previously mentioned, but once the vocals begin, the track turns into a more mature sounding track. This is a track about depression after a break-up, something I struggle to relate to as a nearly 30-year-old man. A highlight to this track was the bridge, ‘there’s people all around me, I just wanna be alone. I feel much better when I’m drowning on my own!’.
Erase You eases off slightly, slowing the pace of the album. Another song about dealing with the depression after a break-up by drinking copious amounts of alcohol. There seems to be a recurring theme here. Not a bad track but the lyrics feel a little immature.
The next track, Not My Problem, is probably my favourite track on the record, mainly because of Travis Barker’s recognisable drumbeats. Another catchy bridge and chorus. The breakdown is quite unique, with the repetition of the lyrics ‘Gave you an inch, you took a mile. The more you b*tch, the less I smile.’ The layering of screaming with singing the lyrics is a great addition to the ending of this track.
Burn the Bridges follows with an interesting opening verse. Some catchy lyrics spoken, rather than sung. The chorus sounds more typical of this record but then reverts back to the same style verse. I couldn’t quite make my mind up on this track. Another great breakdown in the final quarter of the track.
Demons and Hand Grenade follow and are much of the same. Following the same formula which is proven successful for creating catchy songs. A little flat in places but overall enjoyable tracks, like the rest of the album.
The pace is slowed down slightly again with Ashes (Broken World). Some of my favourite lyrics on the record ‘Don’t build an empire, ‘cos I’ll just burn it down. This broken world belongs to anyone, I’ll be the king when it’s all said and done.’.
My Gravity is the penultimate track which continues with the slower pace. The vocals on this track expresses the most emotion in my opinion. The quieter verses are a nice change in pace.
The final track, Walk On, begins very eerily with distorted sounds. The acoustic sections of the song remind me of a festival hit song!
Overall, I did enjoy this record, although there were times when the delivery didn’t feel genuine. The recurring themes of break-up problems and substance abuse can become a bit repetitive, but not enough to put me off listening to this record again. I get the feeling that this album will be more popular with a younger audience, rather than long-time fans of the band.
Words: Jack Andrews
Chemical Warfare will be released 16th April 2021 via Better Noise Music.
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