Escape the Fate
Chemical Warfare


4.0
excellent

Review

by mika USER (63 Reviews)
July 29th, 2021 | 51 replies


Release Date: 04/16/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: You're invincible, like a stone to the flame

My experience with Escape the Fate has definitely been different from the norm, if everything I see on the internet about them is indicative of the overall reception. I was always more partial to the Craig Mabbitt era than most, despite it arguably being the most critically contentious era. A lot of people would rather re-spin Dying Is Your Latest Fashion than even entertain the thought that their current direction could be stronger than what they were doing before. My perspective going in is that of a stalwart fan of the Craig Mabbitt era. Of course, there’s been a few missteps, namely Hate Me being a bit of a mixed bag, but they’ve been getting back on the right track. Chemical Warfare might just be their best album that isn’t their self-titled.

I’m convinced that Craig and co. intend to turn Escape the Fate into a mishmash of everything. Examples include hard rock/alt-metal stylings in “Lightning Strike”, “Invincible”, and “Ashes (Broken World)”, metalcore on “Demons” and “Burn the Bridges” which also sees lead singer Mabbitt lay down a rap verse ala Ronnie Radke, forays into pop-punk on a Travis Barker-featured “Not My Problem”, inspirational pop rock like “Walk On” and “Unbreakable”, and even some stuff in the realm of trap mixed in, i.e: “Erase You”. The common complaint I’ve seen is that they “don’t know what they want to be”, well I can tell you: they want to be whatever the fuck they want to be. Experimenting with multiple different styles has been a thing for a long time. It’s not hard to see that they’re just having fun making stuff that doesn’t sound all the same. It’s funny how people already complain a lot when a band like Nickelback stays largely within one or two sounds and then still have an issue when a band like this digs deeper and does many different things.

Don’t get me wrong though, it’s perfectly possible for this kind of experimental dive to fail; hell, Escape the Fate have been trying to perfect this for the past three albums and it finally feels like they’re realizing it here. Granted, “Unbreakable” is admittedly kind of a mess, and even the band said they didn’t want to include it yet the label made them add it because they wanted it. Frankly, Eleven Seven’s been a burden for these guys for a while and I’m shocked they haven’t up and left, but I digress. Outside of that one little blight on the album, there’s a lot here that works quite well. Title track “Chemical Warfare” is one of the most standard-feeling songs here, featuring a structure you’ve likely heard before, and it lyrically doesn’t deviate much from usual cuts from this band, as shown here:

The bells are ringing out, it's five o'clock somewhere
If I told you that I missed you, wonder, would you even care?
I guess I keep pretending, ignorance is bliss
But not knowing if you loved me only feels like loneliness

Basically, it’s the same failed love lyricism we’ve heard for years. While some may consider it whiny and petulant, and even say that Mabbitt should “get over it already,” is it really any different from, for example, Taylor Swift writing about boys for eons? This tells me this band, among others, just has not had the best luck with love. Maybe Mabbitt needs a hug, some support, not some internet troll telling him he’s not allowed to feel the way he does.

Musically, the rest of the album has multiple different modes, and it flows into itself pretty well. Going from the alt-rock of the first two songs, to the dancey “Unbreakable”, to the back-to-basics title track to the trap-influenced “Erase You”, it’s not super hard to see where they’re going with this. Since that’s followed by “Not My Problem”, it comes off like they’re taking the styles that are currently hot - trap and pop-punk - and having a go at it themselves while doing what they’re good at as well; and it works. When they get back to their usual rocking formula, there’s still influences from that scattered around, such as the rap verse in “Burn the Bridges”. I’ll admit that at first I wasn’t sold on the first single “Walk On”, but there’s such an earnest and emotive quality to even that and it helps keep me invested. Other notable moments include “My Gravity”, which along with the title track might be my favorite thing here, for little explainable reason other than I just enjoy the idea they were going with a LOT.

This is the result of years of tweaking the formula Escape the Fate has crafted from Hate Me onwards, and I think this is the first time I can say for sure that they’ve written a consistently good album front to back since at least Ungrateful. Even I Am Human had a few stinkers as much as I enjoy the good moments, but the only thing here I’d even consider axing is a song that even the band would’ve left off, so I’m not completely factoring it in with my perspective. Overall, good work, and I’m excited to see where they go next.



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user ratings (39)
2
poor


Comments:Add a Comment 
veninblazer
July 29th 2021


12946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Been forever since I've written something this long, but I figured I'd give some attention to something I've been digging for months since it came out. Doubt I'll do much else, but here.

Digging: Bullet For My Valentine - Bullet For My Valentine

treos777
July 29th 2021


510 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Review convinced me to spin the new album lol I don't think it's very good but I'm exactly the person who thinks they peaked at dying is your latest (and that album isn't very good on reflection) good review though! Some of the trap stuff appealed to me a lot more than I thought it would so that's something

veninblazer
July 29th 2021


12946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah this is a solid album. Kind of shocked at the poor reception but I mean I'm also not shocked bc my favorite album of theirs barely left the 1.9 camp.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 29th 2021


58255 Comments


SO LOCK AND LOAD

Digging: dltzk - Frailty

bloc
July 29th 2021


67167 Comments


Album art looks like a thrash/crossover album from a shitty no name 80s band

veninblazer
July 29th 2021


12946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I quite like the artwork, it's better than the last album's for sure

TheSpirit
July 29th 2021


28781 Comments


Nice review! I used to really love this band. Obviously, got into them during Ronnie-era, but my passion really flourished during This War is Ours, which I was obsessed with. The S/T was more a mixed bag for me but still pretty good overall. I haven't really enjoyed much since then to be honest. I don't really mind their "experimentation" (using that word loosely, as I don't really believe pivoting between post-hardcore, metalcore, and pop rock is particularly worthy of the word anymore) but I think you can hear their identity crisis in the music. Nothing (to me) is really done with any depth, and the surface level interactions with each sound they pursue can comes across not just bland, but hollow too. I understand your point regarding Nickelback but I don't find that a particularly strong argument given there are tons of bands who have stuck to one sound and enjoyed consistent critical acclaim. Still though, nice review and as a longtime EFT fan it's refreshing to see someone enjoy them for once.

veninblazer
July 29th 2021


12946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@TheSpirit: wait, wait. weren't you a contrib for a long time? i'm confused. thanks for the support tho

Alondite
July 29th 2021


416 Comments


I used to jam No Sympathy For the Dead all the time, but apart from that EP and few select songs I never really cared for these guys much.

Nice review.

TheSpirit
July 29th 2021


28781 Comments


I was contributor for about 5 years but I was (rightfully) demoted back to user b/c my output was pretty inconsistent.

veninblazer
July 29th 2021


12946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

ah i see. was wondering about that.

Snake.
July 29th 2021


23714 Comments


no more bands from las vegas

society has progressed past the need for bands from las vegas

parksungjoon
July 29th 2021


38569 Comments


>Album art looks like a thrash/crossover album from a shitty no name 80s band

2000s album by a noname thrash band mb, i could see that

bloc
July 29th 2021


67167 Comments


That too yeah lol

veninblazer
July 29th 2021


12946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i mean if u look at the alternate vinyl cover, i see almost, idk, this sounds like blasphemy but, Ride the Lightning vibes from the cover. its basically this with a purplish blue coloring to it. i actually own the vinyl copy, sounds even better on there.

tyman128
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2021


2760 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

pretty well written review, but I definitely disagree lol

Digging: Silent Planet - Iridescent

veninblazer
July 30th 2021


12946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

damn, this album looks like a diamond in the rough of ur 1's xD (a couple of those i'd give 2's but most of that is admittedly terrible enough to be a 1) have these guys fallen off hard for you or were you never into them?

tyman128
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2021


2760 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

oh I was never into them honestly speaking, this was just me trying to give them another chance and realizing I really really don’t like them

veninblazer
July 30th 2021


12946 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

ah, i see. i personally cannot see any logical reason as to how this is BELOW King 810, AJR and Imagine Dragons, but eh.

Emim
August 1st 2021


31388 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

This just sounds downright awful.



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