Originally written by Tim Pigeon
Ah yes, Hatebreed, a band that has been a flashpoint of sorts for discriminating metalheads lately. Lambasted by some for being the leaders of the new wave of chug-heavy, mosh-ready hardcore, and by others for simply gaining a ton of exposure, Hatebreed have just kept on keeping on with their third release, The Rise of Brutality. Even after signing to Universal they’ve stayed the path, and continued to grow, all without compromising their core heaviness even a bit.
While the first LP, the legendary Satisfaction is the Death of Desire, set the bar high for the hardcore genre, the follow-up to that, 2002’s Perseverance, saw the band absorbing lessons from the mighty Slayer, just pushing their sound a bit more towards our side of the music world. This new album picks right up where Perseverance left off.
Right from the start, they hit you with a crusher in “Tear it Down”. In this song and others, Hatebreed make it a point to illuminate their hardcore roots through the backing rhythms and occasionally blatant old-school HC riff. On the other hand, the next track, “Straight to Your Face” is just pure NYHC. “Facing What Consumes You” builds up to blazing thrash speed, before finishing you off with some nasty gang vocals. “Beholder of Justice” is a musical steamroller, while “This is Now” maintains the quality but slows down the pace just enough to remain effective. Lastly, the powerful closer, “Confide in No One”, wields a machine-gun-like double-bass assault before finally yielding to one last big breakdown, just in case you needed to get in a few more windmills or floorpunches.
As for the aesthetics, the vocal delivery of Jamey Jasta (as you all know, semi-permanent host of the new Headbanger’s Ball) is as strong as always, with the same perfectly-understandable shouting he always brings. Jasta’s lyrical themes still center on the usual topics – independence and standing up to any oppressive forces in life.
Sean Martin’s guitar work has marginally improved in the past year, and certainly in the past six years. Each main riff sounds like it’s begging to be dropped into a rocking breakdown. The knob-twiddlers have done a supreme job of clearly capturing Hatebreed’s downtuned crunch, but my guess is that they have a good deal more money allotted for their studio time than most metal acts.
By now most of you should know what to expect from Hatebreed. They are not going to boggle the mind with mathematically-precise technicality or majestically-flowing duel leads. No, instead they exist solely to remind you that sometimes the best way is really the simplest way. This is music to jack you up, make you shout out choruses at some innocent bystander, and then punch an inanimate object. I was impressed by this album because most heavy bands have a tendency to regress, rather than progress as they become more veteran and gain a substantial following. If the band didn’t lose you with Perseverance, then they won’t lose you with The Rise of Brutality either. Altogether, it’s a pleasantly crushing effort from these Connecticut lads.