Review: Chasing Dragons’ Checkmate


Modern metal is a bit tiring isn’t it? I don’t mean to be a grumpy bastard but Bullet for My Valentine, Glamour of the Kill and Avenged Sevenfold all sound incredibly similar yet modern metal bands are obsessed with sounding like them. Can’t these bands try and add something different into their mix to help them stand out a little better? A different vocalist isn’t really that defining a feature.

Well according to Chasing Dragons having a female vocalist is the answer, except it isn’t. Chasing Dragons sound like Bullet for My Valentine, Glamour of the Kill and Avenged Sevenfold and they bring nothing to the table that hasn’t already been done. The band make the sort of fist-pumping, stadium metal that all these bands have been peddling for years and while they have a knack for writing a catchy melody, you’ve simply heard it all before.

The problem with Chasing Dragons’ new EP Checkmate is that despite all the similarities it has to other bands, it’s difficult to dislike. Chasing Dragons are clearly decent song writers as they turn out catchy pop metal anthem after another and some of the guitar solos like the ones on That’s Not Love and For the Sake of Murder are absolutely brilliant.

So why are the band using this talent to make such completely unimaginative and uncreative pop metal for the masses and where are the elements that make the band sound like them? They’re missing and this is Chasing Dragons biggest problem. If you told me these songs were made by Halestorm or In This Moment I’d have a hard time telling you otherwise. There’s nothing wrong with sounding like two of the biggest bands in pop metal right now but if that’s all that you’ve got going for you then why should I listen to your band specifically?

Regardless if you like this type of music then Chasing Dragons certainly deliver 5 songs of mindless air guitar metal for you to sing into a mirror. Guitarist Mitch has some brilliant old school heavy metal riffs in his arsenal and the guitar work on Broken Jaws makes it a real rocker. Drummer Kate is also a beast behind the kit and the pace of Checkmate is always frantic outside the ill-advised ballad The Last Defence. Vocalist Tank also has a decent set of lungs on her and her powerful yet raspy vocals deliver some seriously hook-laden choruses.

The band are clearly aiming big because the production is nice and bright which means the drumming pops and the bass is satisfyingly chunky. All the elements are here to bring Chasing Dragons in line with the biggest bands in modern metal, but for those of us looking for something more than another Avenged Sevenfold clone, Chasing Dragons just can’t deliver.

Checkmate is a competent pop metal EP with big riffs, catchy choruses and some great solos. I’m sure it probably has a pretty large appeal to fans of the genre but quite frankly the genre has outstayed its welcome and bands like Chasing Dragons are just going to be swallowed up in the festering cess-pit of pop metal. I’d be intrigued to hear what the band do next because if they can add some elements that make them sound a little more unique then they’d be a force to be reckoned with. ‘Til next time, Chasing Dragons.


Chasing Dragons’ Checkmate is out now and available to buy direct from the band.


About Lewis Clark

Long time fan of rock music and video games, webmaster and lead writer at UK Scumscene and SEGADriven. View all posts by Lewis Clark

2 responses to “Review: Chasing Dragons’ Checkmate

  • Metal Fan

    What an awful review, in almost every regard. You clearly demonstrate a very shallow understanding of “modern metal” but also the heritage behind it. I find it very ironic that you castigate Chasing Dragons for being mundane/unremarkable and yet then single out The Last Defence as “ill-advised”, when in fact that song is the true gem on the album. You totally ignore the far-from-unremarkable layered harmony vocals that far exceed in complexity and musical intelligence any of the bands you claim Chasing Dragons are trying to emulate, and the general song and harmonic structure that is far more common among prog metal bands than pop metal. Chasing Dragons ARE remarkable largely because they transcend the very limiting boundaries you are bizarrely trying to pen them in to – again, presumably because of your own lack of wider musical knowledge and experience. Fortunately other reviewers don’t seem to share your ignorance.

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