Whatever you think of Escape The Fate, their resilience is admirable. Mid-2000s screamo is nowhere near as popular now as it was in…well, the mid-2000s, and despite an admittedly diminishing fanbase, they’ve continued to plough on regardless. But any props you can give them are instantly vaporised with fifth album Hate Me, as it becomes immediately clear that this is the same soulless, over-produced dreck they’ve been churning out for over a decade.
If you’ve ever heard Escape The Fate before, or even have any sort of knowledge about them, you’ll know what this album sounds like without having to hear a single note. Musically – unctuous to the point of sickeningly produced pop-metal with the odd glam-rock touch. Lyrically – the usual odious solution of “fuck the haters” anthems and vapid, ‘inspirational’ soundbites. It’s honestly like they’re not even trying anymore – they know exactly what their fans want, and that’s exactly what they’ll continue to force-feed them. What’s more, this same copy-and-pasted formula hasn’t changed in five albums, meaning that not only is Hate Me predictable in the extreme, it sounds dated as all hell. Lead single Just A Memory could have slotted perfectly in virtually any of their previous albums, while Les Enfants Terribles plumbs the depths of metalcore banality with unashamed attempts of mixing and matching clichés.
It’s the sound of a band that at least had some sort of fire morphing into a beige blancmange of homogeneity and general malaise. It’s not just the music either – this filters through into almost every aspect of Hate Me. Even though this is their fifth album it’s clear this band are yet to discover topics other than your everyday “you’re not alone” scene spiel or pointless callouts, those who are on the receiving end of which are never identified. Remember Every Scar takes what could have been a genuinely personal ballad and turns it into a lachrymose laughing stock, while Get Up, Get Out simply comes across as childish in its empty threats and general lack of spark. That’s the whole problem with Hate Me – flashy production is one thing, but when it album is clearly as soulless and pandering to a single core audience as this, it counts for nothing. And when the actual music does exactly the same thing, it’s almost worth giving up.
It’s not even that they’re not capable of making decent music as Live For Today shows, with its pulsating beat and at least semi-interesting composition. It’s the single instance of progression even in its vaguest form, but according to Hate Me, Escape The Fate are far too preoccupied with sticking exactly as they are and pleasing their current fanbase. As an exercise in completing its own mission statement then, you probably won’t find a better album this year than Hate Me. There isn’t a single moment on here that won’t please fans, but for everyone else, what we get is a band who would rather throw progression and heart out of the window than create anything of musical merit. There might be a change next time, but honestly, don’t hold your breath.
For fans of: New Years Day, Alesana, Black Veil Brides
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Hate Me’ by Escape The Fate is released on 30th October on Eleven Seven Music.