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Escape the Fate powers past turmoil on album No. 4

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Annie Zaleski

The Details

Three and a half stars
Escape The Fate
Ungrateful

Since releasing 2010’s self-titled album, Las Vegas’ Escape the Fate has lost original bassist Max Green, gained two new permanent members and switched record labels, to hard-rock powerhouse Eleven Seven Music. Despite that tumult, the group’s fourth full-length, Ungrateful, shows few signs of stress.

Shredded metal riffs with the swagger of the ’80s Sunset Strip curl around metalcore breakdowns, squealing guitar solos and the occasional electronic stutter, framing plenty of rock radio-ready hooks (“You’re Insane,” “Until We Die”) and Linkin Park-like choruses (“Desire”). Although generic at times, the album does have detours that add compelling color. Slithering highlight “Chemical Love” is drenched with synth flourishes and spooky sound effects, landing it somewhere between Orgy and Depeche Mode, while understated power ballad “Picture Perfect” (co-written by Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump) is a touching ode to a dead friend.

What’s most obvious about Ungrateful is how comfortable the current Escape the Fate lineup sounds playing music together. Guitarists (and brothers) Monte and Michael Money nicely complement each other’s strengths, while drummer Robert Ortiz and bassist TJ Bell form a fluid rhythm section that easily handles both pummeling metal and more straightforward hard-rock fare. And although frontman Craig Mabbitt tends to highlight his clean singing voice rather than snarling Cookie Monster growls, he never skimps on aggression or raw emotion; in fact, his confidence radiates throughout the record. In the end, Ungrateful sounds like Escape the Fate succeeding at finding its footing as a band.

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