Escape the Fate – Ungrateful
Record Label: Eleven Seven Music
Release Date: May 14 2013
It’s been years since I’ve listened to Las Vegas post-hardcore-turned-hard-rock band Escape the Fate, honestly. I was a fan of them while Ronnie Radke was in the band, after awhile, I got tired of them, including Radke’s constant “drama.” I eventually stopped listening to the band, but I did hear the first record with vocalist Craig Mabbit. I don’t remember too much about it, but I didn’t really care for it, mainly because I wasn’t into that kind of music. Ultimately, they’ve shied away from post-hardcore/scenecore music to more radio friendly hard-rock, but with some screams still. At least, that’s where fourth record Ungrateful stands. Now that I’m into more hard-rock/alternative-metal, this record seems like something I would be interested in. Not to mention, they’re now signed to the same label as Nikki Sixx’s band, Sixx:AM, who has a sound quite similar to Escape the Fate. I was rather skeptical on buying it, but I wanted to listen to something that I wasn’t too familiar with, yet knew something about. Escape the Fate is a band that I do know something about, but I haven’t listened to them in years. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I eventually started listening to it, but like I said, it’s a radio-friendly hard-rock record, if anything. It’s not a perfect album, but it’s pretty solid for what it is. I can’t really get over their 80s hair metal image, but you know what? It works for them. They manage to pull it off nicely, and the music itself works for them, too. There are a few problems with the record, such as the clichéd lyrics at times, and the radio-friendly guitar solos that show up in almost every song, but despite a few snags, it’s an enjoyable album for what it is.
One thing that made me really curious to check this record out, too, is that Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump co-wrote a song on this record. My first reaction was how would that even work? Patrick Stump doesn’t really work with bands like this, so I was rather intrigued. The song he co-wrote was seventh track “Picture Perfect,” and honestly, I’m not surprised that he co-wrote it, because it has his touch all over it, from the very catchy and huge chorus to the very imaginative and descriptive lyrics. It’s definitely got the “Stump Touch,” as I just decided to call it. And it’s also no surprise that song is one of the highlights of the record, including my favorite song. It’s the song that stands out the most for a few different reasons, mainly because of the lyrics, and overall sound of the song. It’s the only non-heavy song on the record, honestly. It doesn’t feature a breakdown or guitar solo, or even any harsh vocals. If anything, it’s supposed to be the most “romantic” song of the record, too. That doesn’t mean the heavier songs are bad, because they’re not. There are some great moments in that department, too, such as first track, which is the title track. It starts off on a very aggressive note, with vocalist Craig Mabbit screaming his lungs out. I’m not really crazy about his screams, but they’re not used obnoxiously, so they’re ultimately enjoyable. Second track “Until We Die” has some rather generic lyrics, but the sound itself of the track is really awesome, and forms a one-two punch when coupled with the title track.
For every memorable song, there are some that really don’t do anything. A few songs on this record really come off as generic radio fodder, and two prime examples of that are in the forms of third track “Live Fast, Die Beautiful,” and tenth track “One for the Money.” The former is a rather generic track about groupies, or women who are attracted to a band and want to sleep with them, and it’s kinda clever, but it’s nothing I have not heard before. The latter track is another generic radio-rocker. That’s all it is. It’s a nice song to get pumped to, and that’s all it really serves. The same goes for closing track, “Fire It Up.” It has the same vibe, but really doesn’t do anything memorable or interesting. The edge that these tracks do have is that they’re fun, and the musicianship is quite solid, so despite being filler, they do hold up. If you’re looking for introspective and deep lyrics, those are songs you may skip, and possibly the whole record. The lyrics on the record aren’t really anything to marvel at, and that’s really my main problem with it. They’re not awful, but they’re quite cliché. They deal with topics such as groupies, not letting “haters” get in the way of their success, drug addiction, unrequited love, and even just having fun. These are lyrics that are pretty cliché for the genre, but they’re not bad, either. Mabbit’s voice can also be quite nasally, but he does have a nice range, and he showcases it throughout it. His screams are rather dull, but they aren’t numerous. They do show up a lot, but not enough to where it becomes obnoxious.
Escape the Fate isn’t a band that I’ve listened to a lot over the last few years, but it seems like they’ve grown up ever so slightly. They’ve managed to ditch their reputation as “Ronnie Radke’s old band,” and morphed into a force to be reckoned with. There’s a reason they’re signed to Nikki Sixx’s label, and it’s because they’re a very solid hard-rock band. This band is kind of interesting, because most kids know them for their “scene” image, but they’ve ultimately ditched that for a more radio-metal image, so they can appeal to a lot more people. And it works for them. Throughout all the lineup changes, they’ve finally risen up through the ashes of the band they once were. Now they’re a band all their own, and they’re a force to be reckoned with.