HATEBREED – “Hatebreed”

Hardcore leaders show first signs of variation since 2002

The label “the AC/DC of hardcore” wasn’t put on Jamey Jasta and co for no reason. There are quite a few people who joke that the band has been re-recording one song for years (and it isn’t far from the truth either). So what? Isn’t the music good anyway?

Well, it seems even Hatebreed themselves got tired of this, as their new and self titled (and that fact alone is enough to make you think “new beginning”) album they try to break free from their own mould. Clearly Jasta’s work with Kirk Windstein in Kingdom of Sorrow, as well as the cover album they put out in the Spring, have left their mark – the new CD is way more metal and shows way more variation.

It is visible from opener “Become the Fuse” on – an almost melodic riff introduces us into the song that builds up under Jasta’s screams and explodes into all-out Hatebreed somewhere around the 30th second. Reminds me of… Soulfly. There are melodies snuck in some unexpected (for Hatebreed) places in all of the following songs like “Not my Master” and “Between Heaven and a Heartbeat”.

The first single “In Ashes They Shall Reap” things go from the typical upbeat “I struggle with life and punch the shit out of it” type lyrics into melodic singing ala Kingdom of Sorrow. “No Halos for the Heartless” starts off with almost heavy metal gang chants “ooo-ooo-ooooh” and then “Every Lasting Scar” comes and things take and almost oldschool metal shape. The metal vibe is strengthened by an instrumental song full of solos – “Undiminished”, as well as a guest appearance by Dame Mustaine’s new favorite guy – Chris Broderick - in one of the songs.

This of course are only shades of the album’s vibe. Its backbone for sure is a typical Hatebreed sound and songs like “Hands of a Dying Man” and “Merciless Tide” are exactly what the band’s fans would expect.

Only time and fan reaction can tell if the serious metal injection was a good idea. It is a fact though, that Hatebreed haven’t sounded that fresh since “Perseverence”. Their self-titled offering brings new things to the mix without sacrificing the focus and brutality of the band’s previous work. Which deserves a thumbs up.

Verdict: 5 / 6

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