Released: Oct 30, 2015
Genre: Post-Hardcore, Metalcore
Label: Eleven Seven
Number Of Tracks: 10
Escape The Fate still try to thread the needle between a pop metal sound and an aggressive metalcore sound in "Hate Me," but the repetition in composition ultimately has the album floundering.
Hate MeFeatured review by: UG Team, on november 05, 2015 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: With other post-hardcore bands like Glassjaw, Finch and Saosin falling apart into indefinite hiatuses or worse on such short notice, the fact that Escape The Fate is still running after what the band has been through is pretty surprising (making their band name quite apt). Of course, the biggest color detail of the band is how founding members Ronnie Radke and Max Green were somehow involved in the death of an 18-year-old, resulting in Radke ultimately going to prison for the crime while Green continued to operate the band by getting Craig Mabbitt to play the role of vocalist (much to Radke's contention). Green eventually left the band for his own out-of-hand debauchery, and with the founding lead guitarist Monte Money leaving the band recently, the only tenured members left are Mabbitt and founding drummer Robert Ortiz. Again, how they've managed to float throughout this time is a bit astounding.
Aside from the lineup changes and sensational drama, Escape The Fate's sound has also gone through a ringer of expectations throughout the years. After hitting the bulls-eye of emocore with their debut album, "Dying Is Your Latest Fashion," the band would take a sharp turn into more of a pop punk/hard rock territory in 2008's "This War Is Ours," spurring outcries from many critics and listeners who rued the change in style. This schism within their listenership has resulted in Escape The Fate continuing an ambivalent juggling act between retaining their emocore roots and continuing in a pop rock/metal lane. After their heavily-produced, genre-dabbling self-titled album in 2010, 2013's "Ungrateful" sought to try threading the needle between their heavy side and poppy side, with production duties being split between Monte Money and Atreyu's Brandon Saller, and renowned rock producer John Feldmann, but with lukewarm reception, it didn't succeed in its mission.
On their fifth album, "Hate Me," Escape The Fate are still wrestling with this duality of being both heavy and pop-friendly, pulling harder from both sides. With the chug-happy opener of "Just a Memory" and the obsessive pinch harmonics in "Les Enfants Terribles" being stronger metalcore efforts than what has appeared in the band's last few albums, their pop rock side also antes up even further into the simple grandeur of arena rock, heard in the elementary riffs in "Live for Today," the anthem-desperate singalong in "Remember Every Scar," the stomp-clap section in "Get Up, Get Out," and the dubtstep-tinged eponymous song. Yet in this increased strength of those two poles, much of the middle ends up being stuff heard before, quite noticeably - the swingy muted strums in the industrial metal cut "I Won't Break" derives from the "Escape The Fate" song "Zombie Dance," the verse riff in "Remember Every Scar" feels like a lighter variation of "The Aftermath (The Guillotine Part III)," and the acoustic-to-power ballad closer "Let Me Be" conjures the same saccharine vibe as the penultimate "This War Is Ours" song "Harder Than You Know," with the cheesiness increased threefold.
On a redeeming note, the band's new lead guitarist Kevin "Thrasher" Gruft acts as a saving grace to an extent - being a formidable replacement for Monte Money, his solos breathe some much-needed skill into "Alive" and even more so in the 4/4-to-3/4 measurement switch in "Breaking Me Down." But even though Gruft sufficiently fills this hole of lead guitar duties, other guitar bouts of his in "Hate Me" end up being emulations of Money from earlier ago, like the opening neoclassical tapping riff in "Just a Memory" being a similar opening burst as the "Ungrateful" song "Live Fast, Die Beautiful"; yet another reminder that "Hate Me" suffers from dishing out things already dished out before. // 5
Lyrics: With the more prominent pop rock flavor in "Hate Me," Mabbitt's lyrical pen follows along with efforts that are much more positive and uplifting. But though the "beaten and bruised but still persevering" messages in "Alive" and "I Won't Break" align with each other well, the positive messages in "Live for Today" and "Remember Every Scar" fundamentally clash with each other (the former promoting letting go of past grief and savoring the moment in front of you, and the latter advocating to never let go of that past grief in order to fuel yourself). Other uplifting lyrics substitute the warm positivity with spitting aggression, like in "Just a Memory" and "Hate Me," but the forceful uprising in "Les Enfants Terribles" is a depiction that's nearly the same as that in the "This War Is Ours" opener "We Won't Back Down." // 5
Overall Impression: In Escape The Fate's continued search for their ideal dual-wielding of pop-friendly metal and unrelenting metalcore, the face value of "Hate Me" shows a strengthening between those two poles substantially, which, if not ham-handedly, gets the job done to a certain point. But the big fault in "Hate Me" is not Escape The Fate failing to truly nail the perfect balance, but that their continuous efforts towards this goal renders the album paddling in circles, with many moments sounding the same as their previous albums. Balance may still be a thing Escape The Fate wish to conquer, but with the escalating staleness and blandness heard in "Hate Me," striving for freshness ought to be their new priority. // 5
Roqua_99, on november 06, 2015 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Graige Mabbitt has come a long way with his vocals over his albums with Escape The Fate. While keeping to his powerful vocals, especially apparent in this album. His vocals are strong and loud, and not much more could be asked from his performance. However, more can and always will be. I didn't feel there was enough growl and power with his heavy voice. It's there, and it's strong; use it. This is especially apparent when the album is a balled. There isn't a whole lot of songs devoted to the heavy side of the band. While unfortunate, there are a numerous number of preteen/teens out there that will find this album as apart of their normal playlist on there iPods.
Good effort from Craig, strong vocals on the tracks that needed them. Needed a tone more heavy and just downright hateful grunt. Especially as this is the new album, and Escape The Fate have built the reputation of being a metal band. There just was not enough heavy stuff to make a good setlist. Geez, I'm really nailing him... Sorry mate! // 7
Lyrics: Lyrics? Well, what's there to say...? Nothing ground breaking here. Basic lyrics. There are the odd moment when you'll remember a lyric and sing away with the song, but there is nothing here to make you "LOVE" the lyrics. Most of the songs, as talked about before are on the softer side, and this makes for some stronger lyrics. This doesn't by and means go to say that the lyrics of the heavier songs are going to be behind and boring, the heavy songs (of the very very very few) are the ones that stand out and shine.
Alongside the kind of disappointing lyrics, I feel as if this is the reason behind the lower effort from Craig. They don't feel, or sound for that matter like Escape The Fate lyrics, they are a little odd and out there. This also will be apparent when the band goes to start adding new songs to live setlists, I don't feel as if there will.
"Let Me Be" is the one song that stood out to me. Not only lyric wise, but instrumental wise. Is this really the direction Escape The Fate is going? I'm not a HUGE fan to be honest of this song. Feels very radio. Not much else to say, great songs, seems the lyrics where just kind of there. // 4
Overall Impression: Overall, this is a great album if you are a fan of the band. This isn't the album to tell your friends about to get them into Escape The Fate. The solos are there, Kevin did a top job, as usual, "Just a Memory" is one of his best solos throughout the album, it's fast, it's crazy and it's in your face; it's a balls to the wall solo.
The rest of the band do their part, great drums, bass is there and rhythm guitar is there. The tones of the guitars are also different since the last album. All the usual distortion is there, but it's more dialled back, and toned more to the djent genre... If this is even been accepted? You'll bob your head, sing along and just enjoy the album. Don't expect anything better than their self-titled and "Ungrateful" but, it's worth a spin. That's my little view on the album, it's hard being critical on a band I enjoy so much. This is also my 1st review, and I'm not the most gifted with words and grammar; so I apologize now. Rock on guys! // 7