Review Summary: Uncompromising yet unsurprising.
Hatebreed are one of the exceptions in heavy metal where clichéd lyrical content is actually acceptable. Certain ideologies that revolve around self-empowerment, such as ‘Standing for something’, ‘together we’re stronger’ and ‘screw those in higher power’ are often used over-excessively by metal bands to a point where these messages sound like the inane wining of an infant’s tantrum rather than an affronting attitude directed at corrupted authorities. (Looking at you, Five Finger Death Punch)
So why are Hatebreed the exception? You could argue that their music has always been fairly one-dimensional throughout their 20 year career as they’ve always opted for a fast paced, zero bull*** attitude with lyrics depicting the aforementioned subjects on every one of their albums. Ironically, that is the core reason why they are excused and embraced by many. It is the reliability that you know what to expect from this band and you are assured that the messages Hatebreed convey are true and actually invigorating to listen to.
The music that comprises Hatebreed’s seventh album sounds essentially like “Slayer: As sung by Jamey Jasta” and every song, except ‘Something’s Off’ is under 3 minutes long for Hatebreed’s direct and unapologetic charisma toe solidify on “The Conrete Confessional”. Their straightforward delivery of beefy riffs rapidly attack on tracks such as ‘In The Walls’ and ¬‘Serve Your Masters’ waste no time in getting you off your ass while Matt Byrne’s frenzied drumming is reminiscent of Dave Lombardo and his blastbeats provide a short sharp shock during the numerous breakdowns over the album. Hatebreed’s origins are from a hardcore background and on ‘Us Against Us’’ the crossover from hardcore to metal materialises when the vigorous riffs give way to brooding breakdowns.
Jamey Jasta’s performance on “The Concrete Confessional” steals the spotlight and reveals him as one of the most forthright lyricists in modern metal. On opener ‘A.D’ he flexes between condemning higher authorities’ greed for degrading the American Dream in a way that is as blunt as a hammer. Whereas in ‘Walking the Knife’ his lyrics are more of a metaphorical sense depicting the inevitability of chaos as “lighting the candle at both ends”.
Believe it or not, there is an iota of experimentalism in “The Concrete Confessional”. Jamey Jasta seems to be telling us this album is not a duplicate of “The Divinity of Purpose” nor any other album. He adopts an unexpectedly melodic voice half way through ‘Something’s Off’ which is a welcome element amongst the unimaginative gang vocals of “OFF, OFF, OFF”. In contrast, he deepens his voice in ‘From Grace We’ve Fallen’ to emphasise the frustration behind the theme of moral decay.
There’s not enough progression for this album to sound unlike Hatebreed and their standard approach is far from groundbreaking for them. But, it’s enough for us to maintain interest in the band’s future and provides us with an adrenaline-fuelled experience rather than dismiss them as a band that refuses to progress. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.