Growing up, Falling In Reverse frontman Ronnie Radke (formerly of Escape The Fate) taught himself to play guitar with Blink-182 and Green Day songs while rapping along to Eminem and Dr. Dre. He skipped school and went to shows, doing whatever it took to make a life outside of the hardships of his upbringing.
Coming Home is the album Radke always wanted to make. Unfortunately, his on and off-stage antics have landed him in trouble on more occasions than I’d like to count. He channels a lot of this energy into the tracks on this album.
The album begins with a space-rockish title track. The track is something you might expect from a Starset single, complete with voiceovers that discuss communications and self-destruct systems.
This space-rock vibe carries on throughout the album, with pretty, polished synths overlaying the raunchy guitars and fast, steady drums. We don’t hear the normal heavy guitars and double-pedal drums until the later tracks in the album, and the fast rock-rapping we’ve seen on past Falling In Reverse albums is almost non-existent.
The earlier tracks on the album seem to want to tell a story: Growing older, losing friends and loves, feeling out of place, getting in trouble. Towards the end of the album, whatever story was being told seems to have been abandoned.
Coming Home has been advertised as the bands “mature” album. Sonically, the album is tight: The instrumentation is incredibly clean, with heavy layers of production and heavy synths. The maturity of the album helps to overshadow the douchebag-rockstar persona and illegal antics that have seemed to follow Radke since his early days with Escape The Fate.
Lyrically, the highlight of this album is the second to last track, “I Don’t Mind.” The verses show a vulnerable Radke saying that he’s worried about turning into his mother. His addictions are similar to hers, and at one point, he admits that he’s morally unjust and will always be remembered for his antics and discretions rather than the good he’s done and the positive actions he makes. Unfortunately, the blandness of the chorus drags down the emotion of the verses.
Unfortunately, as other reviews have pointed out, most of the lyrical aspect of the album really are the downfall. Radke has such a distinguishable voice, and when he nails a good lyric I want to jump up and shout, but a lot what he uses on this album seems to repeat the angry “I hate my friends” or “I hate the world” mantra. He uses a wide vocal range, but when he goes into his pitched screams, the cleanliness of the music seems to dissipate.
Overall, I enjoyed the album. The tight-knit instrumentals and heavy, produced synths work well to show how the band has grown and matured since their earlier albums, although there’s still improvements to be made.
At the end of the day, if Coming Home is the album Ronnie Radke dreamed about making as a kid, I would say it was worth the wait.