Shapeshifter shows that Craig Mabbitt still has what it takes to deliver a heaviness from which Escape the Fate has slowly drifted away. The Dead Rabbitts have found their voice, their style, and their niche. The album takes the heavy aspects from Mabbitt’s older projects and combines them with the melodic, rock and roll aspects of his newer work with Escape the Fate to balance out into a brutally sultry style.
Mabbit’s clean vocals have a soothing quality. They neither get too high pitched nor too nasally: like the Goldie Locks of vocals, they are just right. Interestingly, with this album you can hear that both Beau Bokan and Telle Smith sound similar to him, each of whom currently front Mabbitt’s previous bands. “Deer in the Headlights” has a melody reminiscent of 80s classic rock. Like Aerosmith meets White Snake… which may sound horrifying; however, Mabbitt’s delivery along with the instrumental backing makes the suggested mash-up quite delightful. He successfully brings a dramatic fullness to his voice without it becoming overbearing or cheesy. The chorus of “Deer in the Headlights” has a catchy melody, one that can easily get stuck in your head. “Black Cloud” also has that effect. The verses of “Black Cloud” lace Mabbitt’s gritty screams with cleans falsetto, creating an alluring dynamic. The choruses have a Def Leppard-like aspect that you can sing along to, that helps make the song memorable.
“Make Me Believe It” features everyone’s favorite comeback kid of 2014, Caleb Shomo. Shomo adds a distinct edginess to the track that nicely rounds out the album as whole. He and Mabbitt’s voices mesh exquisitely. “Edge of Reality” has one of the most enticing intros on Shapeshifter, and again, Mabbitt shows off his pipes during the chorus. The lyrics leave a little bit to be desired, only because they get a little repetitive and a tiny bit cheesy at times; however, being straightforward is better than losing an audience with overdone metaphors, so their simplicity is forgiven. Some of the repetitiveness does get tiring and a few of the songs sound very similar, melting together as a slight blur. Not a bad blur, but a blur nonetheless.
Alex Torres has some insanely crisp guitar licks throughout the album. “Bats in the Belfry” in particular shines with in your face heaviness. Some piercing harmonics from the guitar add a chaotic intensity to the already powerful track. “World of Disaster” also shows of the heavier side of The Dead Rabbitts. They honestly just do heavy really well. The drums, bass, guitar, and vocals all work together flawlessly to create a hard hitting intensity. Basically, Shapeshifter puts The Dead Rabbitts on the map[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL5mV8ETmqw]