Artist: Falling In Reverse
Album: Just Like You
Release Date: 24/02/15
Label: Epitaph Records
Falling In Reverse: for many people, the name of this band is synonymous with one man only: Ronnie Radke, the band’s volatile frontman who found fame as one of the founding members of Escape The Fate, and a songwriting genius who’s either the saviour of the modern metal scene or the most prominent symbol of its decline, depending on who you speak to. So, does the new Falling In Reverse album ‘Just Like You’ stand a fighting chance of getting any of Radke’s many detractors onside?
If there’s any justice then it may well do, because it’s definitely the band’s best work, comprising a set of catchy and varied songs which provide the perfect showcases for Radke’s incisive, intelligent and often intensely personal lyrics. Opener ‘Chemical Prisoner’ is an early album highlight, and showcases just how good Falling in Reverse can be. It begins with a deceptively quiet and unassuming guitar riff, before opening out into a stadium filling anthem, complete with swooping guitar work (including a truly fantastic guitar solo) and truly thunderous drums. And that’s without even mentioning the lyrics. There’s no doubting the sincerity of lines like ‘I’ve watched this rip apart my family’ and ‘But when the drug is runnin’ through me I can feel no pain/It’s not worth the price I pay’ especially when they’re delivered in Radke’s signature anguished howl. There can be no doubt that this is a song written by someone who has experienced the pain of which he sings, and puts paid to the oft-repeated claim that Ronnie Radke and his band are nothing more than inauthentic record label puppets.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, there are uplifting moments here too, such as the ludicrously catchy pop-rock title track, which preaches the message that we’re all assholes sometimes. Doesn’t sound uplifting, but the cautious hopefulness of the lyrics combined with the jaunty gang vocal powered chorus makes for a song that feels like a ray of sunshine through the often dark lyrical matter of this album. There’s also complete musical curveballs, like the gentle, wounded closing number ‘Brother’ a tear-jerking ode to Radke’s brother who passed away last year. Featuring nothing more than a piano to accompany the achingly vulnerable vocal, it makes for an understated but heat-wrenching end to the album.
The album’s not without a couple of low points though, and they usually occur on the heavier numbers of this album. Tracks like ‘Die For You’ work perfectly well as metal songs, the musicianship shown on them by Falling In Reverse is consistently impressive, with Jacky Vincent’s guitar work in particular being jaw-droppingly skilled throughout. However, the screamed vocals that are prominent on the heavier tracks often make the lyrics hard to discern, which is a shame when they’re so personal and intriguing.
Overall, this is another fine piece of work from the men of Falling In Reverse, an album which is rich in sharply observed confessional lyrics, dizzyingly technical and precise instrumental work and songs that somehow draw those two disparate elements together into accessible ear worms with hooks that will take up permanent residence in your brain. Hopefully, it should be the album that silences all those detractors once and for all.
Pick up ‘Just Like You’ on iTunes HERE.