Photo via kerrang.com.

4/5 Stars

Escape the Fate, an American rock band originating from Las Vegas, Nevada, are well-known for their hard and alternative rock music. On April 16, the band released their seventh studio album “Chemical Warfare,” their first full-length release since 2018. The album consists of 12 songs that mark the most experimental period of Escape the Fate’s career to date.

This latest venture by Escape the Fate continues a greater trend of change in the band’s style. Since their debut, each album has exchanged elements of hard rock and metalcore for pop rock, similar to what fellow post-hardcore band and label-mate Bring Me the Horizon has done. It is a risky move, as many of Escape the Fate’s most loyal fans remain dedicated to their original hard rock vibe. Regardless of risk, “Chemical Warfare” has upbeat and catchy songs that will impress listeners.

Escape the Fate was formed in 2004, but features a different lineup of members today from their debut album. Currently, the band consists of drummer Robert Ortiz, vocalist Craig Mabbitt and guitarists T.J. Bell, Kevin “Thrasher” Gruft and Erik Jensen. Of the band’s original members Monte Money, Ronnie Radke, Max Green, Ortiz, Omar Espinosa and Carson Allen Ortiz is the sole remaining founding member. The current members are now signed to Eleven Seven Music.

Previous albums released by Escape the Fate are “Dying Is Your Latest Fashion” (2006), “This War Is Ours” (2008), “Escape the Fate” (2010), “ Ungrateful” (2013), “Hate Me” (2015), “I Am Human” (2018) and now “Chemical Warfare” (2021).

The songs in “Chemical Warfare” range from two to four minutes long, following their new trend of pop rock with electric guitar riffs and catchy sing-along choruses. Notable songs in the album include “Lightning Strike,” “Not My Problem” and “Hand Grenade.” The album also features guests artists Travis Barker and Lindsey Stirling.

Although some of the songs are upbeat and pop rock, several songs retain the band’s trademark intense emotionality. The song “Demons” features a screaming breakdown, showcasing Mabbitt’s vocal flexibility.

Escape the Fate went through a bit of trouble in the making of “Chemical Warfare.” In February of this year, all of their gear and instruments had been stolen from their practice space in North Hollywood, California. However, the band still came out strong and released a fun and impressive album. 

Change can either be a good thing or a bad thing. In the case of Escape the Fate, the newly developed pop sound of “Chemical Warfare” is a bold but positive change. Whether this change will be well-received by their fan base of roughly 2.1 million monthly Spotify listeners remains to be seen. Without overdoing it, Escape the Fate established a new, poppy feel for their music, and there is no doubt they will continue to take a step up into the world of pop rock in a fun, successful way.