Written By: Tim Bannock
Label: E1 – Rating:
People who fault AC/DC for sounding the same on every album are missing the point, which is two-fold: (1) if you can rock out, then rock out, and (2) if you’re winning formula produces songs like “Back In Black,” “For Those About to Rock,” and (ten years down the road) “Thunderstruck,” then stick to it. Music isn’t and shouldn’t always be about innovation, because sometimes a certain sound or progression just elicits the right response. Enter Hatebreed, with their self-titled album, released September 29th.
Jamey Jasta and crew have been releasing roughly the same tracks since 1994. With six full-length releases and just as many people exiting the band over the years, the thing you need to know is that Hatebreed’s still going strong, still in demand, and pulling people into their shows. And they aren’t going through the motions; one listen to the Best Buy exclusive live tracks on Hatebreed’s new LP and you’ll know that these guys just love to wreck up the concert venues they play at. Bustin’ out 15 tracks (not including the aforementioned live ones), Hatebreed sounds just as strong as they did way back when they came rip-roarin’ out of Connecticut to tour with the likes of Slayer, Napalm Death, Entombed and many others.
All of that said, it’s not like they are putting out the same riffs. The self-titled album is the first full-length featuring the dual-guitar attack of Frank Novinec and Wayne Lozinak, as well as a guest solo by Chris Broderick, the new axe-man who helped Dave Mustaine tear it up on Megadeth’s latest release, Endgame. While that shouldn’t lead you to believe that Hatebreed’s whipping out the crazy technical solos on every track, it does allude to the fact that the guitar work sees some more change-ups than on previous releases, albeit only subtly more so. Not every breakdown ends with a held chord; several fills feature some neat harmonizing and the occasional pull on the whammy bar to get a higher-pitched squeal out of the note. Nothing ground-breaking, but it definitely makes tracks like “Between Hell and a Heartbeat,” “Through the Thorns,” and (especially) instrumental track “Undiminished” standout from previous albums.
If you can call their mosh-pit aggression “beautiful,” it’s because you can pick up this disc at any point and hear the influences of those classic bands mentioned earlier, and then get pummeled by the discordant mosh beats when the band goes into circle pit mode. Every single song has a slow break-down with crashing tones, and they all have fast, thrashy moments that remind you of late 80s/early 90s Slayer and Napalm Death. Essentially, Hatebreed knows just how to select the best early-era thrash riffs, tune them down a bit, and toss in a more modern mosh groove that reminds one of Fear Factory, later Testament, and Machine Head.
The kicker to all of this: a cover of Metallica’s “Escape.” How can you go wrong? You really can’t.