Escape the Fate - United States
Ungrateful was a rebirth of ESCAPE THE FATE in many more ways than was originally intended when the album was being written. “We spent 2 years coming up with excuses,” says drummer Robert Ortiz “ We were writing the record, rehearsing for a tour, never thinking we were ‘ready’ to get out there again.” Once the band finally took a step off the ledge, it separated those committed from those who were ready to leave the fold.
With the lineup changes that occurred upon the release of Ungrateful, founding member, Max Green (bassist) and longtime friend, Kevin "Thrasher" Gruft (lead guitarist) were welcomed back into the fold. The two were forces of positivity for vocalist, Craig Mabbitt, on stage. “I always looked to Thrasher or Max onstage to back me up – to match my energy and give the crowd 100%. Now I have both of them and TJ (Bell – rhythm guitar),” enthuses Mabbitt.
While ETF came close to having the kind of VH1/Behind The Music-style flame-out that’s indicative of many careers these days, the band woke up and jammed each other’s faces into the grindstone, taking the most ambitious album of their career and breathing new life into it with an unmatched live presentation. In addition to the renewed brotherhood and spark in the band, Brandon Saller—the former drummer of Atreyu, currently fronting Hell Or Highwater—was enlisted to help Mabbitt, in the words of Ortiz, “find his inner rock god.” Mabbitt explains “He knows when it’s cool to scream and when it’s cool to sing and totally helped me achieve a better performance.” Beyond putting on a more enthusiastic stage show, the band has put a lot of emphasis on meeting as many fans as possible. “It is about getting with the fans and having a good time with them, the band is way closer now and we want to share that good energy with everyone,” explains Thrasher.
Ungrateful’s 11 tracks show a creative arc the band hadn’t dared to navigate on their previous releases. While lesser bands undermine themselves with the too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen mentality when using multiple producers, Escape The Fate have delivered a remarkably cohesive record that’s not only contemporary, but offers the same kind of immediacy that is the lifeblood of the entire history of rock music. Hard-driving but with an unrelenting sense of melody, Ungrateful is ETF’s statement of readiness for the BIG TIME.
Right out of the box, Ungrateful stakes its claim in the modern rock sweepstakes in no uncertain terms. The title track’s popular video takes on a timely issue – bullying – in dramatic fashion. "One For The Money" is a pure party- starting sports anthem that can pump up any crowd at any event. With its infectious sing along chorus and riffs that groove so hard, NOT throwing your fist in the air isn't an option. “Chemical Love” is a slight diversion, featuring Ortiz’ dancefloor-friendly beat and plenty of electronic flourishes and atmospheres. Beautifully arranged and brilliantly structured, “Picture Perfect” is one of Escape the Fate's best songs to date. The poignant ballad finds Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump co-writing an insatiable power ballad that pulls on the heart strings of anybody who has lost a loved one and would do anything to hold them one more time. At its essence, Ungrateful is a valentine to hard rock music, a record capable of bridging scenes, reconciling the calendar and fostering a new awareness in that culture’s evolution. “I like anything that will take a song wherever it needs to go,” says Craig, regarding the band’s m.o. “I think different things are needed for certain songs. We’re not really ‘experimental,’ but we’re not afraid to bring various elements into our sound. But really, I like to think of this as our real third album. Because this feels like a completely new band to me.”
Ungrateful is more than just the new Escape The Fate album—it’s a high-decibel mission statement. “If we were a big mega-million corporation,” Ortiz begins, “I think our mission statement would be ‘Bringing Real Rock To The Masses.’ Anything but that cookie-cutter stuff that’s out there now.” While Mabbitt agrees with his bandmate’s marketing flair, he offers another spin on the agenda of Escape The Fate in 2013—and beyond. “I’d say ‘Be Excellent To Each Other.’ Because that’s working for us.”
Master Premium in Arctic White (#109)
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