Sound — 9
Ok, let's cut to the chase. Escape the Fate have had to go through a radical change. Losing a singer in Ronnie Radke with a unique voice and losing once guitarist was always going to mean the band wouldn't be able to make Dying Is Your Latest Fashion 2.0, which is the main criticism of this album from many people, especially fans of Radke and the more throaty screaming. Give Craig Mabbit some credit for coming in and doing a stellar job with his tuneful vocals and fearsome roar. What shines though are the guitars and the drums, providing interesting music for Mabbit to sing over. However some songs, although not particularly bad, do sound very samey, radio friendly and you wouldn't want to listen to them over and over again. Thankfully, this is more than made up for by the rest of the songs, that provide most of the interest on the album. 01.We Won't Back Down: the opener is a real crasher, starting suddenly and with a great deal of energy from start to finish, reminiscent of Atreyu's Doomsday on "Lead Sails, Paper Anchors." 8/10 02.On To The Next One: this isn't particularly a standout track, but it does have some neat guitar riffs and a very bouncy rhythm. 6/10 03.Ashley despite being one of the slower, radio friendly songs, this is a very good song. Singalong all the way through with interesting instrumentation. 8/10 04.Something: something heralds the start of the mediocre songs. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, but I wouldn't particularly listen to it obsessively. Still has good instrumentation. 6/10 05.The Flood: one of two tracks that sounds most like something from Dying Is Your Latest Fashion. Fast pace, heavy guitars, singalong chorus and a heavy breakdown with roaring vocals. 9/10 06.Let It Go: this is the worst track on he album. Again, nothing particularly awful about it, but it just fails to shine in any way. 3/10 07.You Are So Beautiful: this is a strange one, the verse and chorus, although quite catchy, are like the more generic songs on the album, but it has a heavy breakdown and good vocal work by Craig Mabbit that make it more memorable. 6/10 08.This War Is Ours (The Guillotine Part II): the standout track on the album. Visceral guitars, roaring verses and singing so powerful on the chorus it may knock you backwards. Escape The Fate show their diversity by introducing spanish guitars halfway through the song, before tearing through a very impressive solo. This song also follows the same pattern and riffs reminiscent to the very popular song (from the EP and first album) The Guillotine. 10/10 09.10 Miles Wide: a charging Rock n' Roll song that sounds like Atreyu's new style. Older metal redefined with a new age touch, with some good vocals from Mabbit and an interesting riff throughout. 10.Harder Than You Know: another mediocre song. Nothing to say about it that I haven't with the other songs. 3/10 11.It's Just Me: a surprising shift in style for the album closer. The verses sound generally unnerving, much like Finch's "Dreams of Psilocybin" on "Say Hello To Sunshine." The chorus has a great singalong chorus, and the song album sounds like it was made at the circus. Genuinely a very good song. 10/10
Lyrics — 6
Now the main issue with the album is the lyrics, especially in the songs that are less memorable. The lyrics are all about love, or breaking up with someone. Now this is fine, but it's repeated so much that it gets tiresome. Lyrics on This War Is Ours (The Guillotine Part II), It's Just Me, The Flood and We Won't Back Down are more inventive and better written. Craig Mabbit's vocals are simply amazing. He possesses and incredibly powerful singing voice, as well as the throaty roar I wish he uses more often in this album. Marks lost for the repetitive themes of some of the lyrics.
Overall Impression — 8
This War Is Ours was a make it or break it album for Escape the Fate, and I feel they have just about made it. For the next album they should concentrate on writing faster paced songs, which implement the styles of Dying Is Your Latest Fashion and their new style in This War Is Ours, and then they will truly be a fearsome combination of melody and heaviness. This album will no doubt upset purist fans of Ronnie Radke and the older style, but Escape The Fate can be proud that they have managed to keep making the music and what's more, mainly making very good music. I feel the mediocre songs are far outshone by the quality ones.