Monday, 11 July 2011

Music Review - Escape the Fate: Dying Is Your Latest Fashion (Album)

"Dying Is Your Latest Fashion" is the debut album from Las Vegas screamo quintet (now a quartet due to various member departures). The album is a somewhat schizophrenic affair with some songs being genuinly great rock songs, whilst others feel generic, uninspired and just generally uninteresting. Fortunatley it seems for the most part the good outweighs the bad.

The album kicks off well with energetic opener "Webs We Weave". This song has a good fast paced tempo and feels very punk/post-hardcore inspired. The interplay between sung and screamed vocals works very well, vocalist Ronnie Radke has a very emotional voice which means that the screams seem much more impactful when they are implemented. Unlike some bands of this genre Escape the Fate do not crowbar in screaming where it is not nessacarry, which means they feel more dynamic when they are used. This song has some impressive guitar work from the duo of Espinosa and Money.

Second track "When I Go Out, I Want To Go Out In a Chariot of Fire" is where some problems that plague the entire album begin to become apparant. As a vocalist Radke is up to scratch, he has a great range and can alternate between intense screaming and emotional singing with ease, as a lyricist however, he is not. There were times when I found myself cringing at the quite honestly atrocious lyrics. Take this extract from the dull "Reverse This Curse":

"So, this goes, out to, the ones that fall in love.
An to, the girl, that filled, my, dark"

Wait..."filled my dark" what does that even mean? It almost sounds like Engrish, and it isn't helped that this particular lyrics is very prominant and not hidden under a lot of instrumentation. The album is filled with these "wtf?" moments. Often times using bad, overplayed metaphors that make the song feel painfully generic. Then again there are the odd moments when the lyrics sounds genuinly poetic for example on an intense screaming section of "My Apocalypse":

"All the vibrant colors I see
And the shades that fill my dreams"

Unfortunatley moments like this are few and far between. To me Escape The Fate shine when they attempt heavier songs rather than the emo fare of "Cellar Door" or "Friends & Alibis". "The Guillotine" is a blinding assault based on the Halo video games that sounds closer to Metalcore bands like Alexisonfire. The song is heavy and fast with the odd inclusion of a hair-metal style guitar solo before crashing into a death metal, low-growling outro that displays some impressive drumming from Slash doppelganger Robert Ortiz. ETF really shine when they take these opposing genres and mash them together and somewhow manage to pull it off.

"No Sympathy For the Dead" is another great post-hardcore anthem that is more consistant than "The Guillotine" and easily makes up for the whiny faux-Motley Crue "Situations". The soaring pop-punk chorus compliments the hardcore breakdowns and more complex guitar fills.

"Not Good Enough For the Truth in Cliche" is the big single for this album. It is a pop-punk style song but this time it is well done, with an infectious melody and the choice use of some screams for climax of the song.

Undoubtedly the stand-out track of this album is slow burner "My Apocalyspe". The song starts out slowly with Radke singing softly over clean guitar before kicking in to a saoring chorus and some beefy breakdowns. Near the end of the song ETF hit their high point. The song builds to an epic crescendo with some immacilate guitar work favouring tapping and Radke bleting out some of the most intense screaming I have ever heard, before topping off the song with one final fist-pumping chorus.

The album ends with a suprisingly heartfelt acoustic track "The Day I Left The Womb" a tribute to Radke's family and the heartbreak of his mother leaving him at a young age. This is easily the best track lyrically as Radke isn't using tortured metaphors or failed poetic lines but is simply singing from the heart, as cheesy as that sounds.

"Please don't worry I am doing fine
Your much too busy to even find the time
so use your chemicals and take this to your grave
the boys you left are men you didn't raise"

Overrall Dying is Your latest fashion is a very mixed bag. If your willing to suffer through the played out screamo songs there are some absolute gems that will shock and impress you.

Rating: 3/5

Download: My Apocalypse, The Guillotine, The Day I Left The Womb
Avoid: Reverse This Curse, When I Go Out I Want To Go Out In a Chariot of Fire

For fans of: Atreyu, A Day To Remember, From First To Last