Modern Day Escape
UNDER THE GUN
With so much focus on the current demise of hard rock and heavy metal today (and yes, this focus is justified for the most part), it seems that people are missing a lot of bands that are creating quality music these days. How could you not? It's easy to become very disenfranchised with an entire genre of music when it's flagship band is an uncreative band like Nickelback. Still, there are bands that are creating highly interesting, powerful hard rock that should be getting a lot more attention. One such band is Modern Day Escape. While the band seemed to find their audience with well conceived videos and decent songs with their last effort, HOUSE OF RATS, they have clearly defined their sound while stepping up their song and lyric writing with their latest, UNDER THE GUN. In all avenues, UNDER THE GUN features a tighter, more cohesive Modern Day Escape than we saw previously.
By far, the biggest improvement in the band comes from vocalist James Vegas. Whereas Vegas seemed more interested in the party aspect of his writing on HOUSE OF RATS (see songs like "Maybe Holding Hands Wasn't Such A Good Idea" and "Fit For A Queen"), he now seems a lot more focused and, well, powerful. Listening to a song like "Tiger's Blood", you sense a lot more output of Vegas' tougher days coming out in the music, and it's a welcome experience.
In fairness, Vegas is not the only one that's brought a much more serious, stronger approach to UNDER THE GUN. The entire band did. Marti Rubels and Mark Burn have seemingly locked into a more defined, tight sound than was previously shown for the band. The result is a much tastier tone and sound that dominates powerful tunes like "Angels Up Above" and "The Syndicate". The same can be said about the band's reformed backend, which lays down extremely thick foundations on each and every song. Former Black Veil Brides drummer Sandra Alva has not only joined the band recently, but she seemingly took overall pacing and power of the band into a new, stronger direction. Her playing powers songs like "Playing Victim"; easily the strongest song on the disc and one that should play well to the BVB fans that Alva's presence in the band will immediately draw.
PITRIFF RATING - 94/100 - Great disc from a modern rock/metal band that seems to have written a collection of songs far stronger than the dreck that dominates radio today. It would not be at all surprising to see Modern Day Escape become a major force at radio and on the road with the release of UNDER THE GUN. This is about as strong as this genre gets.