Escape the Fate is gearing up to release their seventh studio album, Chemical Warfare, on April 16, 2021 via Better Noise Music. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to get an early listen and share my impressions with the Spinning Thoughts community and I couldn’t be more excited. This album truly has it all – from intense, heavy breakdowns to huge choruses with crossover appeal, and a few all-star guest appearances along the way. Chemical Warfare is destined to be another success for this ever-evolving band.
The album starts off with “Lightning Strike.” The chorus is a big, catchy melody that gets me singing along every time. This song has huge crossover appeal and can easily be another massive hit for the band. Speaking of crossover appeal, the next track, “Invincible,” features world renown violinist Lindsay Stirling. The song starts with a heavier riff and the verse highlights a very deep bass tone. The transitions feature a heavy vocal, giving the song a bit more edge than the first track, but maintaining the crossover appeal. The chorus has been stuck in my head for months (this track was an early release), but the highlight for me here is the breakdown. Leading into the inevitable violin solo and outro, the track takes a really crushingly heavy turn. I am a sucker for violin in heavy music, and the entire last minute of the track is one of the most intriguing segments of the record for me.
In contrast to “Invincible,” the next track “Unbreakable”, is a more light-hearted, poppy track. The transitions and sing along chants coupled with the quick vocal runs in the second verse are sure to give this song a huge appeal and I can see this track turning heads on rock radio as well as pop radio. “Chemical Warfare” is up next, and it’s another engaging track. To me, this song draws comparisons to one of my favorite bands, The Used. The chorus has an intensity to it that is rarely attained without using heavy vocals. The bass lines through the verse are outstanding, as is the layered, driving line in the bridge. “Erase You” uses unique hip hop/EDM elements with the low bass tones and drumbeats. The vocals, though sung throughout, have a cadence that is unique and gives off a totally different vibe. This song is unique and is a great transition for the rest of the effort.
“Not my Problem” features Travis Barker and is one of my standout tracks on the album. This song really highlights the strength of Escape the Fate to write really good rock songs and put a larger appeal into them. This track is built around a great chorus with a big sound and transitions give a sing along vibe. This all gives way to another amazing breakdown that is sneakily heavy and leads into a reimagined, heavier version of the chorus to close it out.
“Burn the Bridges” is easily my favorite track on the record. The intro has a heavy feel with an electronic lead line that stands out from the other tracks throughout the effort. The verses use a lot of hip hop effects over a solid bass display. The chorus line is solid and one of my favorites on the record. Most notably though, the breakdown is the heaviest moment on the album and I truly didn’t see it coming. This song already had a more intense chorus than most, but the build to an even heavier breakdown hit me by surprise.
“Demons” is another song on the heavier side. It possesses an intensity throughout that doesn’t quite match “Burn the Bridges” but it keeps the best run on the album going strong. There is another massive breakdown here, though it feels like less of a secret getting there with a more natural build. The guitar solo is intense and really steals the show on this track. “Hand Grenade” lets off the gas a little, which is refreshing after the heavy stretch and adds to the psychology of the album. The riff in the chorus is large and heavy and so is the breakdown, but the intensity is dialed back just a bit. This song has a catchy chorus that I can see making a huge commercial success. “Ashes (Broken World)” is another anthemic song. The style changes a few times throughout, from driving riffs to more subtle and acoustic fingerpicking. Most notably is the breakdown that again hits heavy out of nowhere coupled with a short but very sweet solo.
“My Gravity” slows down the pace and features clean vocals in a more stripped-down manner. The chorus adds an intensity without picking up the pace. The final chorus utilizes (close to) a cappella vocals during the build and truly is a highlight with the clean harmonies throughout. The album comes to a close with “Walk On.” I’m a sucker for the slow build – these songs always get to me. The song starts off with soft vocals and subtle riffs in the background. Every transition adds another layer and the band does a really good job getting to the final chorus as an over-the-top moment without going overboard and changing the feel of the song.
Chemical Warfare is a masterpiece. It truly has something for everyone, from the radio rock fan to heavy fanatics. This album has upbeat and fun songs and incredible heavy moments. Make sure you check out Chemical Warfare from Escape the Fate, available everywhere Friday April 16 from Better Noise!