The War is Ours | Escape the Fate
Drama-rama abounds for these four Christ-kiddos hailing primarily from Las Vegas. Escape the Fate’s first two efforts sported Ronnie Radke on vocals, but after several run-ins with the law (the last one ending in a four-year prison sentence), Escape the Fate ditched Radke.
Separately, while blessthefall was opening for Silverstein on a European tour, lead singer Craig Mabbit suddenly picked up and went home, citing “personal reasons.” Rumors spread that these “personal reasons” involved certain parental responsibilities. Mabbit eventually resolved his issues but despite pleas for a reunion, was rejected by blessthefall. Mabbit was left in need of a band and Escape the Fate in need of a singer. A perfect match! Well…an interesting one at least.
With “This War is Ours,” Escape the Fate has become yet another post-hardcore band making a particularly half-hearted attempt at melding the bombast of arena rock with the grit of post-hardcore vocals. My Chemical Romance tried it and couldn’t pull it off, even with an enormous fan-base. I’m not sure why Escape the Fate expected to succeed where My Chemical Romance couldn’t. Plus, only half the album goes wholeheartedly for this throwback. The rest of the album is more of a true mesh of Mabbit’s vocals with Escape the Fate’s instrumental style.
“Ashley,” one of the best tracks on the album, is immediately comparable to blessthefall’s “Higinia”: both mesh god with girl. Although “Higinia” is about Mabbit wishing for more time with his grandmother and “Ashley” seems to be about more of a romantic relationship (or perhaps “baby” refers to Mabbit’s actual baby…), the comparison is inevitable, though the instrumentation is very different. Blessthefall’s is surprisingly jarring and complex, while Escape the Fate relies on traditional pop hooks. This affects the way Mabbit sings the two songs. The melody of “Higinia” is significantly more disjointed while that of “Ashley” crests and falls with pop-rock regularity.
“Something” is Escape the Fate’s attempt at the new-age power ballad. The attempt is as boring as similar fare from the ’80s; the only truly interesting element is Mabbit’s high-pitched refrain of “can you help me understand” in a half-sung, half-screamed timbre. This, in fact, might be more interesting than anything else found on the entire album. Overall, however, the song is a bust.
The title track is more post-hardcore, in the realm of blessthefall, than anything else on the album. It features Mabbit’s distinctive growl timbre with fast, intense guitar and drum work. While it’s nothing special, it’s at least a kick in the pants, with a twangy guitar part that is almost never heard in the genre.
Finally, this album takes its most outrageous attempt at ’80s throwback with “10 Miles Wide,” as Mabbit completely changes the sound of his voice to mirror Bon Jovi’s or someone else your mom probably swooned to. It sounds fake, it sounds forced and it sounds flat-out bad. Worse yet, the guitar part matches it. It’s as though they tried to be as ridiculous as The Darkness while not being as self-conscious as The Darkness were to realize that it is, in fact, ridiculous!
Overall, “This War is Ours” proves that Mabbit doesn’t need blessthefall, and Escape the Fate doesn’t need Radke. That said, it’s not a great album. Perhaps with more time together the next album could be a better combination of their skills. Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of the scene or just interested in hearing the album, it’s worth picking up. Escape the Fate will be performing with A Skylit Drive on November 23 at Fubar.
For fans of: blessthefall, Silverstein, ’80s power ballads/arena rock
Tracks to download: “Ashley,” “Something,” “This War is Ours (The Guillotine Part II)”