Sin City Escape from Minneapolis, MN has shared the stage with a number of major-leaguers in the rock and metal world including Breaking Benjamin, Seether, and John 5 of Rob Zombie. Started in 2014 by guitarist Brooks Bohmbach and vocalist Brandon Zastrow, these guys have managed to garner not only a huge local following, but made the lineup for major music festival Rock Fest in Cadott,WI last year. The band now consists of Brooks Bohmbach (guitars/vocals), Brandon Zastrow (vocals), Sam Janski (guitars), Addison Peck (bass), and Kyle Palma (drums). Now, the guys have completed a new album, Rise and Fall, and are trying to carve out their own path in the dense and difficult music industry. Getting a sneak peek at Rise and Fall turned out to be an exciting adventure through the journey of young band marking their territory and exploring their limitations.
Opening with “Ghost Inside,” SCE kicks things off with a strong energy. The string work is the real star on this track. Paired with Zastrow’s soaring vocals, the effects on this song work well to drive the track and create a haunting yet effervescent sensation. “Hangman” follows with more dynamic opening and here is where the bass and drums power through to gain focus. The percussion is undeniable on this track and cultivates the heart of the song. Add to that an intriguing echoic effect and the riffage in the bridge and you have song that makes you want to dance and headbang all at once.
On “Still Here,” the harmonies are blended beautifully in its softer moments while the complete orchestration of the song allows every instrument to have its moment. The vocals and lyrics are compelling and uplifting as words of support and encouragement are conveyed through a varied vocal range. If you’re looking for a battle cry, a powered anthem, Rise and Fall has “White Flag” just for you. The diverse melodies and string work are strong without feeling forced. It is a determined anthem of perseverance and defiance in the face of adversity. For those looking for something with a little heart, “By A Thread” is here to fill that gap. Telling a familiar tale of barely hanging on to something or someone, and the precarious nature of love and relationships, the song rings out with soulfulness reminiscent of some early Shinedown.
Need a change? Want to start a revolution? Need a call to arms? “Rise” is the track for you. While the dynamic range of Zastrow’s vocals is obvious on this song, the power of the combined efforts of Bohmbach, Janski, Peck, and Palma create the wall of sound behind his voice which is the truly invigorating part of “Rise.” It has heart and soul and tons of energy.There is something familiar about the style of “Running To You.” It’s got respectable stringwork and rhythm, and the sweeping melodies carries the emotion effectively, it feels like something holding it back from being more.
“Ride” kicks things back into gear with a head-on energy. It’s a pure adrenaline song meant to pick the pace back up and revive the senses. Even lyrically it appeals to the rush of excitement and drive of pushing limits. With “New High” there’s a Tool-meets-Nine Inch Nails undertone that is intriguing and engaging. There is an enthralling semi-darkness to this song that captivates, energizes and pushes you.
Wrapping things up and rounding out Rise and Fall comes “Good Fight” and “The Road.” With “Good Fight” the lyrics give voice to the struggles of the band themselves: “All my life I’ve searched for something…I’ll chase my dreams and make the sacrifice. I wanna fight, fight the good fight.” The struggle and the fight to make their way in the world and make this album, it’s all right there. “The Road” features some of the most beautiful string work on the album with very specific and impressive moments highlighting the mesmerizing violin work, likely attributable to Jon Chu of Skillet who loaned his talents to the album.
Overall, Rise and Fall delivers impressive and robust songs tempered with emotive and personal ballads. Being a new band and kicking off your career in balance is an impressive feat, and while not every track will be a banger or appeal to every listener, having enough options in equilibrium is a great start. Off to a rousing start, as Sin City Escape grows and matures as a band, their potential is uncapped and it’ll be interesting to see what they do next. Rise and Fall has not been released yet, but look for it and much more from these “Mill City” musicians.