Review Summary: Dim as it seemed at the time, there indeed was a light at the end of the tunnel for Escape the Fate.
Escape the Fate's decade-long stretch with singer Craig Mabbitt is one that is marked by instability, with their regular lineup changes being of most particular note. While there are still some fans that may long for the days of Dying Is Your Latest Fashion,
many have accepted that the Escape the Fate of today is not the Escape the Fate of yesteryear. Their album quality hasn't been the most consistent from release to release either: whilst polarizing amongst fans, 2010's Escape the Fate
still remains their crowning achievement from a commercial standpoint as well as being my personal favorite album of theirs. They had large shoes to fill when following it up, so it was inevitable that 2013's Ungrateful
would be a less palatable affair, yet still it provided plenty of worthwhile content for fans to appreciate. Hate Me
, on the other hand, is undoubtedly their most inconsistent album, making its follow up seem like a classic in comparison.
The album starts off with lead single “Just a Memory”, which is arguably one of their most blatantly ferocious cuts to date along with “Ungrateful”, the previous album's opener. Channeling a vibe similar to that of something from Craig's side project The Dead Rabbitts, the track serves as a send-off to former guitarists Monte and Michael Money. It almost seems misleading when you consider the tracks that follow; only “Les Enfants Terribles (The Terrible Children)” retains its fiery spark, as the rest of its tracks are generally more along the lines of alternative rock. The results of their shift are mixed; while “Breaking Me Down” and “Let Me Be” are tasteful enough offerings that feel honest enough to stand up against the best of their slower cuts, many tracks on Hate Me
either feel contrived or otherwise insubstantial. “Remember Every Scar” rips its main verse melody directly
from the song “Drown” by Bring Me the Horizon, and I wish I was exaggerating. “Get Up, Get Out” is somewhat unconventional, as it's primarily driven by a simple tritonal riff, yet that doesn't stop the writing from feeling half-baked. “Live for Today” and “Alive” are standard radio-rock fare, the latter of which bearing a striking resemblance to “Broken As Me” from nu metal band Papa Roach and the former being one of Escape the Fate’s worst songs penned to date.
The band's attitude is of note as well when discussing Hate Me
, if that wasn't already obvious from the get-go when the album was announced. Craig Mabbitt always had a fairly listless attitude when it comes to the perception of Escape the Fate, but their initial “don't-give-a-fuck” mindset eventually turned into an egocentric “haters make me famous” state of mind. This doesn't ring true for every track, but there is a certain level of anger that emanates from this album, even if it's not always expressed aptly. Whether it's opener “Just a Memory” or the industrial-tinged title track, one can sense that a majority of the record is spiteful in nature with very few exceptions. “Breaking Me Down” details a desire to cut someone that the writer loved out of his life because his emotional strength had deteriorated as a result, while “I Won't Break” is a more direct and cutthroat attack. “Remember Every Scar” and “Let Me Be” are the only songs on the album that show zero signs of anger, the former being a cheesy inspirational song and the latter being a love song, and one that was presumably directed towards lead singer Craig Mabbitt's now ex-girlfriend. “Let Me Be” in particular is a jarring change of momentum for a record that is so driven by abject hatred, and it almost fits better on I Am Human
than it does on this album.
As a whole, Hate Me
is their weakest and most inconsistent release to date, but glimmers of hope still remained. Many songs reek of overproduction, and while Howard Benson may have rectified his mistakes here with his work on their follow-up, that doesn't excuse his role in this album's downfall. It's almost a miracle that they were even able to recover as much as they did this year with the emotionally mature I Am Human
, emphasizing the dark and light elements of existence in a yin/yang sort of fashion. Simple statements can be a tad bit more profound than what meets the eye, as Mabbitt and co. have proven before and after this, but it's no doubt that they often come off as contrived during the thirty-eight-minute runtime of this album. While it may be too difficult for some to not give in to the demands of the title track and, well, hate them,
there is some merit to be found here; in all fairness, even its weaker cuts aren't irredeemable. With that being said, its stronger moments don't make the album wholly worthwhile in the long run.