Escape The Fate has been through several lineup changes throughout their years as a band; the only original member remaining is drummer Robert Ortiz. The most recent member of the band to depart was lead guitarist Monte Money, who was one of the founding members of Escape The Fate. Money left for unknown reasons and whatever the reason was, it was enough for the band to not only record an angry, melodramatic song directed towards Money, entitled “Just a Memory,” but also make it the lead single for their fifth studio album, Hate Me.
Not only is the song “Just a Memory” melodramatic, but that specific term can pretty much be used to describe the entire album along with a few other terms, such as rushed, lazy, plastic, artificial, uncreative, robotic, stale and many more.
Escape The Fate have been able to create three above-average, energetic, well-written and well-structured Metalcore albums under the leadership of former Blessthefall vocalist Craig Mabbit, since former leader singer Ronnie Radke departed from the group due to legal troubles, drug addiction and personal differences with the band members (he is currently the frontman of Falling In Reverse, who have released three studio albums to date). Craig has done a rather good job of providing energetic and melodic clean and unclean vocals, along with well-written and inspired lyrics; however, his songwriting skills have never been as poetic and well-structured as Ronnie’s lyrics were on the band’s 2006 debut album, Dying Is Your Latest Fashion. But on Hate Me, nearly everything admirable about post-2006 Escape The Fate is non-existent.
With the absence of Money, the guitar leads and riffs on Hate Me are either unnoticeable, lazy, or just plain simplistic. Mabbit’s unclean, screaming vocals are usually excellent, maybe even better than Ronnie’s were, but on this album, Mabbit barely screams at all; this almost feels like a Pop-Punk album with slightly heavier instrumental and even his melodies are poppier sounding.
The subject matter of the songs on this album are not impressive at all either, in fact they are overused and rehashed subjects that not only have been overdone several times, but even Escape The Fate themselves have sung about them before, except with better songwriting! A great example of this would be “Remember Every Scar,” which is your basic run-of-the-mill “life is hard, but don’t give up, believe in yourself!” unwieldy Pop-Punk anthem that you can probably name ten other songs off the top of your head that have similar lyrics.
“Live For Today” is about exactly what the title implies and the verses sound suspiciously similar to their 2010 song “City of Sin,” except with added electronic effects on Mabbit’s voice, which delivers a vocal tonality on the verses that sound like a bratty teenager whining to their mother.
“Les Enfants Terribles,” one of the few tracks on the album that has screaming vocals on it is probably the only slightly interesting track on the album. Craig’s screaming on the verses is as strong as ever and the hook is pretty well done as well; the chanting choir was a nice change of pace as well. However, the track still has its flaws, such as how the riffs sound like they could have been on any popular mid-2000s Nu Metal song from bands like Disturbed or Slipknot.
But the worst track on this album by far is the closing song, “Let Me Be.” This song is something you would never expect from Escape The Fate; artists switching up their sound and experimenting with different sub-genres can either be a great thing or a terrible thing, depending on the end results and “Let Me Be” is the latter. This song is your typical radio-friendly poppy love anthem with gushy, sugarcoated lyrics, with a happy and bouncy acoustic guitar instrumental and to top it all off, a hook including an “oh-oh-ooh-ooooh” to highlight it. “Let Me Be” sounds like it could’ve been included on any of Imagine Dragons’ or Maroon 5’s recent albums.
Hate Me is an example of everything a die-hard fan of any band would hate to see their favorite band become. Escape The Fate are basically a parody of themselves on this album lyrically, and instrumentally they have become shallow and plastic; no emotion, no energy, no effort. Since Craig joined the band, each one of their albums with him was better than the last, they kept improving with each release, but Hate Me broke that cycle, and we can only hope that their next release restarts that cycle. Highlight tracks include “Les Enfants Terribles” and “Alive”.