Escape Grace - II (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Escape Grace

II (2005)


Well, I guess judging a book by its cover didn't pan out quite so well this time. I had gotten pretty good at being able to call whether or not a band would suck soley by their album art lately. This time, though, one snuck through and I made the wrong pick.

Escape Grace's album art is absolutely atrocious. Their music is not. Their album art looks like it was a 9th grader's Photoshop project, but their music is complex and calls to mind both Snapcase and Boysetsfire. So, acknowledging and moving on from my completely incorrect assumption, I will now say that II far exceeded my low expectations and actually proved to be a solid blast of `90s-inspired hardcore fury.

Vocalist Cole Harper could easily have been the vocalist for Progression Through Unlearning-era Snapcase and not a single person would have been the wiser. This inflection and delivery is a great basis for the rest of the band to build off of, and they do their very best to inject an ample amount of variety over the course of this four-song EP. In only 15 minutes, their sound becomes clearly defined, and unfortunately it seems they just hit their stride when the last song, "Lotus Eater," starts to rage.

At over five minutes, it's easily the longest song on the album, but it's one that's effortlessly able to retain all momentum throughout. The time is split pretty evenly between vocals and instrumentation, and there's various stages that the song goes through in which their style is tinkered with to make sure that nothing grows stale, and nothing grows tiresome. I'd say it's a mission successful, as even if you were to grow tired of Harper's vocals, the other three members of this four-piece are right there to challenge with some creative song structures and every bit as much energy as their frontman possesses. Equally at home on a shorter song like "Gordmandizer," they let the bombast and swirls of dissonance take the lead, and I can't say that they're worse off for it. Picking up intensity as they go along, everyone feeds just as much off the throat searing vocals as they do the pounding fills and wall of distortion.

An unquestionably impressive debut from a band I was willing to write off before even hearing a note. I'll still probably not pay much mind to the old adage about books and their covers, and every once in a while, a band like Escape Grace will come around and remind me that I'm a fool.