Escape The Fate – Hate Me
Release Date: October 30, 2015
They’re coming and they’re out for blood.
Escape The Fate began its tumultuous ride in Las Vegas in 2005 with frontman Ronnie Radke, bassist Max Green, and guitarist Bryan “Monte” Money. The trio was soon joined by drummer Robert Ortiz, guitarist Omar Espinosa and keyboardist Carson Allen. Allen departed ETF in 2006 before the release of its first full-length album Dying Is Your Latest Fashion and Omar Espinosa soon followed, leaving the band in 2007. Dying Is Your Latest Fashion would also be the final release featuring vocalist and founding member Ronnie Radke.
Escape The Fate has been plagued over the years with drama and line-up changes. Radke, who at the time suffered with drug dependence and legal troubles, was shockingly ousted from Escape The Fate in 2008 and was quickly replaced by former blessthefall vocalist Craig Mabbitt. After Mabbitt joined ETF, the band’s line-up became a tangled web of comings and goings. Bassist Max Green has been in and out of the band numerous times over the years battling drug addiction and personal issues and was finally replaced in 2012 by T.J. Bell who left the band Motionless in White to join. That same year Michael Money, who is the brother of lead guitarist Monte Money, joined the band to fill out the rhythm section on guitar.
In 2013, the Money brothers elected not to go on a scheduled tour with the band and this wasn’t the first time that Monte Money had refused to hit the road with Escape The Fate. Due to the absence of their lead guitarist ETF had no choice but to regroup and they decided to bring Kevin “Thrasher” Gruft (LoveHateHero) on board to fill the spot left by Monte and Thrasher soon became an official member. Surprisingly, in 2013 Green was again welcomed back into the fold after getting sober and making amends with the band. Bell was moved over to rhythm guitar allowing Green to reclaim his position as bassist. Are you lost yet?
The bad blood between Radke and Escape The Fate continued for years with verbal sparring from both sides until the beef was finally put to rest when Radke and Mabbitt made peace with each other. It was soon announced that Radke’s new band Falling In Reverse and Escape The Fate were hitting the road together on the appropriately named “Bury the Hatchet” tour in 2014. After the tour ended, ETF was taken aback when Green unexpectedly announced his departure yet again from Escape The Fate only to join Falling In Reverse. Green left Falling In Reverse after several months for what was described as personal reasons and is now a member of the band Violent New Breed. After a revolving door of bassists the slot remains technically vacant, with Escape The Fate opting to hire touring musicians instead of adding another member.
Escape The Fate has put several albums under their belt during Mabbitt’s tenure as lead vocalist; 2008’s This War Is Ours, the 2010 self-titled CD, 2013’s Ungrateful, and now Hate Me. I think Mabbitt has more than proven not only that he deserves his position in Escape The Fate, but his love for the band and their fans.
“I’ve had to step up to the plate lately, for the fans as much as anything else, because they take the name Escape The Fate very seriously and I owe them something for that, for all the support they’ve shown us over the years. It’s very humbling for me to be able to listen to this collection of songs and think about where we’ve come from and what we’ve been through to get to this point.” ~ Craig Mabbitt
Their latest CD titled Hate Me was produced by Howard Benson (Papa Roach, Halestorm, My Chemical Romance, Mötörhead) and it’s the band’s fifth studio album and the second since signing with their current label Eleven Seven Music. The band wanted a label that would give them more creative control with their musical direction and I do believe that Escape The Fate not only found direction but have also experienced a much needed revitalization.
Hate Me starts out strong with the album’s first single, the song “Just a Memory.” It is hard and heavy with some enjoyably vengeful lyrics, “(Unpredictable) trusting you was a fucking mistake, (unforgivable) you will sweat in the pit that you make. Nothing can save you now.” It has metalcore elements, with Mabbitt delivering a nice balance of clean melodic vocals while also competently adding harsh guttural screams. The merciless breakdown “. . . someone like you, is gonna die alone, you’re gonna die alone, you’re gonna die alone . . .” is perfectly placed and executed. This is the way to get a CD going on a high note, mission accomplished.
You move from the authoritative “Just a Memory,” to the slower pace of “Live for Today.” The beginning of this song gives off a vibe reminiscent of a Linkin Park nu-metal feel but shifts gears and delivers low-end grit which moves into a new wave synthesizer suffused chorus. Gruft provides some very soulful guitar work that gives you the sensation of soaring from one musical note to another. Now a preamble, Thrasher will continue to supply articulate and passion-filled guitar composition throughout the CD.
Next up to the plate is the second single released, “Remember Every Scar.” The beginning leads you to believe that this is going to be just another sentimental pop rock song but “Remember Every Scar” unpredictably delivers some rather philosophical lyrics concerning the importance of remembering the mistakes and heartache that brought you to the here and now. It reminds us not to forget the past, but not to dwell on it either, only understand that, “all the tragedies make you who you are.” I was pleasantly surprised by this track.
“Breaking Me Down,” is an above par ballad, beginning to end. You feel the emotional bond and how heartbreaking it is to witness someone spiral when you want to help them even if it’s at the risk of your own undoing. “I wish that I could hate you, I wish that I could start by cutting you out, ‘cause when I look in your eyes, I know, I am watching you drown . . . I know deep inside, I’m holding you up . . . you’re breaking me down.” The vocals are impassioned, the guitars emotive, and overall an authentic thought-provoking song.
“Alive” is a mainstream rock song about hanging on through the tribulations of life. This is not my favorite track on the album, but I did enjoy the meatiness of the intro and a very sweet guitar solo. Quite frankly the guitar riffs are some of the most enjoyable parts of this song. “Alive” is most certainly radio friendly and I can appreciate the never give up attitude of the lyrics.
When “Get Up, Get Out” started I discovered another solid intro, but the first verse did not seem as smooth transitionally as I would have expected; however, I remained vigilant and the song does settle in and effectively finds its groove. This track “started out face down” but then “hit the ground running” and will definitely be a fun song live, it will command you “get up, get up now.”
Now on to one of my favorites, the title track “Hate Me.” There is really nothing to hate here, it is an assortment of greatness. “Hate Me” is a concoction of alternative/hard rock, post hardcore with a dash of nu-metal and essentially unadulterated ear candy that feels a little dark and dirty. It reminded me sonically of Papa Roach, not surprising considering the CD is produced by Benson. The only critical thing I could possibly say is there is a drum fill at approximately the 3:47 mark that is out-of-place and off pace, but that’s all I got; other than that, “Hate Me” hits the bullseye.
“Les Enfants Terribles (The Terrible Children),” has a harder edge to it and is absolutely rock-solid. It has industrial inspired synthesizers with an appealing back-beat. Mabbitt’s vocals are spot on, Ortiz’s drumming is perfectly choreographed, and Thrasher delivers some throaty guitar riffs. There were moments that brought in a Motionless In White feel, which I am not complaining about–I admit it, I love this song.
The 9th track is “I Won’t Break,” a call out to anyone that has thrown shade in their direction. ETF is putting everyone on notice that no matter what you throw at them, they are here to stay: “You left me out in the pouring rain, but the water only heals me faster. I am the one you never will erase, you better learn my name, because I won’t break.” An intense synth-infused intro gets this song off on the right foot and the in-your-face lyrics are delivered superbly by Mabbitt. There are definitely a few head-banging moments and it’s pulled together by its downright catchy chorus.
The final track on the CD ties everything up with the sweet, mid-paced “Let Me Be.” It reminds me of the closing song at the end of a movie as the credits start rolling. As the song fades in the background you reflect on the experience.
After it is all said and done, drummer Robert Ortiz is the only member left of Escape The Fate’s original line-up. To some who were with ETF from the beginning Craig Mabbitt will always remain the man who unceremoniously replaced Ronnie Radke, but say what you will about Mabbitt, he is still standing proudly out in front of Escape The Fate. ETF has survived, and I do not believe that they could have made this CD had they not endured the past decade.
Mabbitt has a unique tone and is not afraid to tackle the clean and harsh vocals. The addition of Gruft has brought a new guitar sound into the band with a bluesy style similar to guitar greats in the realm of Joe Satriani. The new line-up seems comfortable working together and successfully bringing their individual talents and musical influences to the table which is evident from the freshly infused songwriting and the variety of musical styles. As Mabbitt himself said:
“We have all worked on lyrics, all contributed to the songwriting process. We’re the most unified as a team I think we’ve ever been, certainly in my history in the band. I actually wish we hadn’t done a self-titled album already because I think this is our most definitive statement yet.”
Escape The Fate is back with a revitalized drive and a desire to move past the drama. Hate Me is a solid offering from Escape The Fate and definitely worth a listen.
Hate Me Track Listing:
- Just a Memory
- Live for Today
- Remember Every Scar
- Breaking Me Down
- Get Up, Get Out
- Les Enfants Terribles (The Terrible Children)
- Hate Me
- I Won’t Break
- Let Me Be
CD Bundles: https://www.districtlines.com/Escape-The-Fate