Since Mabbitt has joined Escape the Fate, the man has sure been through a lot. Constant berating from a bullish man named Ronnie Radke, a miserable sob in Max Green, two mediocre albums, a new record label, an album made and destroyed post-s/t because he himself despised it, and a few big lineup changes other than himself, him and his crew are finally back for Ungrateful. It isn’t an album to scrub clean their generic reputation, but one to do better what they tried to do in the last two records and place them on the mainstream rock radios probably for good. The hints of epic sound showcased in the more straightforward metalcore songs on Escape the Fate of 2010 have come full circle in this record on a very evident level. It’s a welcome change from the disastrous self titled dejection, makingUngrateful clearly defined as a radio-fodder metalcore album.
In the most literal way possible, ETF has combined the formulas of album writing for This War Is Ours and Escape the Fate. The song structure of open, bridge, chorus, bridge, refrain, sometime a solo, end, similarly follows that of self titled, but has the more upbeat vibes ofThis War Is Ours. The guitar work doesn’t directly follow either release directly, as that is probably the only thing that makes Escape the Fate interesting. Monte Money sometimes keeps the listener on edge with riffs, melodies, reintroduction of the breakdown which is actually not so sickeningly often as some bands, and his trademark solos. His brother, Michael, doesn’t do too much to set himself apart as the group’s official rhythm guitarist, and neither does TJ Bell, the new bassist, but they two and the talented Robert Ortiz on the drums make a predictable yet reliable foundation for Monte’s instrumental spotlight. As for Mabbitt, he has abandoned his usual methodless whining and uttering for a true element of tact in his singing and while he hasn’t really expanded much on his range, he’s done well to use it. The screaming is used a good amount more than in self titled which is welcome, since he’s been good at it throughout his career.
One strong downside to this record is a bunch of fodder. A few songs are good enough for radio consideration on their level of popularity, but songs that stand out with a unique sound whatsoever are few. Ungrateful is the aforementioned radio song, it, You’re Insane, Chemical Love, Picture Perfect, and Desire are the only ones that ring with their own vibe, with Desire probably being the most enjoyable of that group for it’s chorus. Those not mentioned all have a cliche structure of predictable guitars, builds, and choruses reminiscent of Avenged Sevenfold’s newer efforts in some measure. And probably the most useless element of the entire album is the corny piano pieces thorughout. They’re placed in some of the most awkward places on unfitting songs, and their presence brings down a record that would be much better raw of synthesizers in all ways. Craig has also taken a step back with some really really dumb lyrics. He was never a sterling example of lyricism but after some good lyrics before, his work on this album was disappointing to hear. The worst being “One for the Money”:
It’s my time
It’s your time
Help me down,
Now it’s don’t give a f*ck time
The song is pretty useless in general, but the lyrics make it horrible. You’ll hear it once and probably skip it every other time. The step away from creative control rampant in Escape the Fate has clearly not been made in full as the method of lyrics are now fully distasteful.
With some catchy tunes now under their belt to redeem of their old sins, Escape the Fate is ready to move away from experimentation and into the mainstream of metalcore. They’ll never be considered a special band, as it seems like this is the fate they cannot escape now but they’ll be on the radio without creative control helping, as they evidently wanted. Some elements of old will always stay as long as Monte Money is in the band, and that will be their redeeming factor to keep them at least slightly interesting as time goes on.
2. Until We Die
3. Live Fast, Die Beautiful
4. Forget About Me
5. You’re Insane
6. Chemical Love
7. Picture Perfect
8. Risk It All
10. One for the Money
11. Fire It Up