Review Summary: A mis-matched trainwreck of an album that boasts just three listenable songs compared to a whole hive of wretches.
Despite employing one of the most repulsive men in music, Falling In Reverse are a band that shot to the forefront of the metalcore scene with the release of debut album The Drug In Me Is You. The above average guitar work and emotionally charged although immature lyricism propelled them straight to fame and commercial success even though the album itself wasn't all that great sounding. The more commercially successful metalcore bands of today are almost instantly recognizable as a punching bag for music critics due to their insistance upon abusing breakdowns and the general lack of ingenuity in song writing and Falling In Reverse's debut is no different.
Come 2013 and the release of their second album, Fashionably Late, and things are far different for the band. In place of the dull, black and white monotony of their past work the band decided to toss all their influences and various different ideas onto a canvas and the result is an album that completely polarized many people. The addition of several rapped verses, a slower tempo overall and the inclusion of numerous electronic sounds are a turn off to many, whilst the frequent mentions of social networking sites and vocalist Ronnie Radke's general attitude are often cited as the reasons why Fashionably Late was met with a lot of negative reviews. Despite this, the album found a decently sized market and pulled them in with some relatable themes and hook-filled songs, and it has more than enough substance to it to attempt to appeal to everyone.
People looking for an album that sounds similar to their debut will be disappointed, but album opener Champion is certainly a nostalgic throwback for the most part. This track is fueled by an energetic guitar riff and some aggressive vocal work from Radke who spews absolute venom on this release pertaining to the years preceding the release of this album in which he went to prison, and how he is determined to be a better person. The theme may be cheesy, but for the first half of this song it works, before out of nowhere Ronnie dives head first into an angry rapped verse. The way the song transitions so fluidly between the screaming infested first two verses, the catchy chorus, the extended rapping section and the breakdown and guitar solo that close the song is something to marvel at, and gives the band a song they can be proud of.
Another highlight of this album is the title track, which has much more of a pop-rock sound to it and the band show surprising dexterity to pull off this track. The chorus is one to chant along to, whilst Radke's heartfelt lyrics about an ex girlfriend who crushed him by continuously standing him up carry this song forward. The verses showcase pop-oriented Falling In Reverse to be a well-oiled machine, whilst the simplistic guitar work throughout could not better suit the rest of the instrumentation. One more songs leap out off this record, and that would be Rolling Stone. This track thunders forward with one of the heaviest riffs on the album and once again serves as a neat throwback to their past, before another rapped verse leads directly into a dubstep section. Think of this song as a better version of Champion.
Sadly, this release is plagued by numerous flaws. No matter how good the three previously mentioned tracks are, there is no excuse for an abomination such as Bad Girls Club. The electronic beat that drives this number is as mundane as can be found anywhere, whilst Ronnie's arrogant, overly confident style of vocals do not suit the (abysmal) lyricism. This track follows on from Champion's energetic kick start to the album, and only serves as a reminder why everyone despises Radke. Factor in an atrociously executed call and response idea toward the end and this track truly is a stinker. Alone slows the pace of the album right down with some laughable rapping, whereas Game Over's appalling lyrical content using numerous video game metaphors serve as two more examples of where this band really screwed themselves over. More often than not, it is Radke who kills off any credibility the band has on this release. His lyrics are repetitive, dull and uninspired and his vocals have an overly cocky sound to them that is guaranteed to irritate.
Fashionably Late is a release which draws its influences from a variety of sources but unfortunately the bizarre track choices such as the gimmicky and pointless inclusion of a country track toward the end of the album just drags it further down the spiral. This was an album that had a lot of potential to improve upon their last release and massively expand their fan base but unfortunately the majority of this release is sickening to listen to. Occasionally, this comes close to being a respectable record, but sadly it is a case of no cigar.