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Escape the Fate’ might make the band more famous, but it won’t win any originality awards

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A lot has changed for Vegas hard rock act Escape the Fate since the band released its debut album in 2006. You can hear the difference on the new self-titled ETF album, the first on major label Interscope, and it’s not necessarily a positive change. Not that ETF’s sound was ever particularly original, but whatever was distinctive about it has been rubbed off over time, first by the replacement of original singer Ronnie Radke with Craig Mabbitt, and now with mainstream hard rock expert Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Good Charlotte, Trapt) on board as producer for this latest release. Escape the Fate sounds like a compilation of the most successful heavy music on the radio right now, with songs that echo the likes of My Chemical Romance, Three Days Grace and Linkin Park itself (“Lost in Darkness,” with its tinny synth flourishes, might as well be a Linkin Park cover).

The Details

Escape the Fate
two stars
Band Guide
Escape the Fate

Mabbitt occasionally reverts to the death-metal growls that punctuated the band’s early work with Radke (“Day of Wreckoning” is appealingly intense), but mostly he sings in a bland, clean tone that reaches a nadir on the icky power ballad “World Around Me.” The band members have said many times that they’re aiming for stardom, and Gilmore has helped hone them into extremely accessible songwriters—“Zombie Dance” and “City of Sin” are as catchy as anything on the rock charts right now. This album proves they have what it takes to make it to the top; it’s unlikely, however, that they’ll have anything worthwhile to contribute once they get there.

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