With its ever-changing lineup of musicians, Escape the Fate are as well constantly altering their musical style. The 2013 departure of lead guitarist Monte Money has left drummer Robert Ortiz as the sole founding member remaining in the set; with him it seems that Money has taken the group’s creative force. Their fourth studio album, and last with Money, Ungrateful garnered fairly decent acclaim whilst pumping out singles like the catchy “One for the Money” and the emotional “Picture Perfect;” yet the 2015 release Hate Me fails to impress.
One of the band’s weakest productions, Hate Me feels like a blind cash grab. Full of cookie cutter hard rock tracks and dispassionate lyrics and themes, there is not much available to make this album memorable. Comprised of merely generic hard rock listeners may ironically follow vocalist Craig Mabbitt’s command as he sings out “Hate me cause I live this way/ Hate me for the things I say.”
Things start out strong as “Just A Memory” opens with a fast-paced sweeping guitar lead reminiscent of former Falling in Reverse guitarist, Jacky Vincent’s signature sound. The next three tracks, however, prove to be lackluster. Without flourish given to the instrumentals, focus is drawn to the flat lyricism. Disconnected and apathetic words ring loud throughout the majority of Hate Me, such as the uninspired lyrics of “Live For Today:” “Couldn’t find words to say/ Everybody’s in the way/ That’s okay, could care less anyway.”
Some of Escape the Fate’s edge is most definitely gone. The acoustic “Let Me Be” is a We The Kings-styled attempt at a heartfelt pop song. What was meant to be sentimental turns off putting as the track’s title is repeated more than thirty times within the time frame; to say that the repetition gets old is an understatement.
The high energy “Get Up, Get Out” offers a spirited overlay of both clean and unclean vocals to a crowd-moving piece; sadly the work of guitarists Thrasher and TJ Bell is pushed to the background as an emphasis is placed on the beat. Still when given the opportunity to thrill, such as in the breakdown of “Les Enfants Terribles,” the players are confined by time; by adding additional reiterations of the overused choruses Escape the Fate are not allowing their true gems to shine.
The majority of Hate Me is in essence meaningless filler. The change in direction towards a more mainstream sound shown on this album doesn’t reflect the band’s potential. Not that change itself is a bad thing, but this change was not a success.