Escape The Fate Embrace The Riff

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Originally published in Guitar World, January 2011

Monte Money ups his game on the group’s latest album.

Hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada, the post-hardcore quartet Escape the Fate understand the concept of “upping the ante.” Pulverizing guitars graced two earlier records, but solos and layered parts were scarce. All that has changed on the band’s new self-titled disc. Escape the Fate is all about incendiary solos, endless parades of dark and splintered six-string riffs, and locomotive rhythms. Intent on improving his chops, Bryan “Monte” Money, the band’s brutal fretboard ninja, swapped his Les Paul for an Ibanez and began a regimen of furious finger-strengthening exercises on an acoustic guitar. “With this album, I started everything with the riff,” he explains. “More solos, more shredding and me practicing a lot and getting better as a guitarist. I tried to make the guitar sing more than just hitting notes.”

That vocal-like lyricism soars all over tracks like “World Around Me” and “Lost in Darkness.” Money wanted to balance that controlled approach with a go-for-the-throat attitude. And who better to talk to about unadulterated guitar fury than Mötley Crüe’s Mick Mars? The pair collaborated on a song that didn’t make the final cut, but what the ETF guitarist came away with was far more valuable. “I was so clean and a perfectionist, and I didn’t want to hit any messed-up notes,” he admits. “Mick grabbed my guitar and goes, ‘Just hit the fuckin’ thing!’ He started making crazy noises with the Ibanez and said, ‘You’ve gotta be messy and make sounds with it.’ ”

Money brought the grease to “Issues” and “Massacre,” the first two singles respectively from the Don Gilmore–produced (Linkin Park, Rob Zombie) album. He unleashed a barrage of deadly techniques on these including unbridled whammy bar dives, savage ping harmonics and even harmonized sweeps. “I think I’m a fun and theatrical player doing dark metal,” Money considers. “I’m somewhere between Brian May and Edward Van Halen with a little bit of Zakk Wylde. I get bored with all those radio rock bands and I miss solos. I want to have that sound back of a good classic rock album.”