16 July 2016

Hatebreed - The Concrete Confessional

Well shit the bed, it's Hatebreed! I've not heard these guys for years! Not that I was too arsed as I picked up a copy of (second album) 'Perseverence' back in 2002 and felt a little disappointed by it as although it was a bundle of fucking fury chock to the brim with chugging guitars, pounding drums, thumping bass as well as drill sergeant-esque vocals, there was a distinct feeling that it had all been done before, particularly by the likes of Agnostic Front, Madball, Sick Of It All and stuff like that. Something like this is usually ideal for a guy like me, a guy whose musical taste is about as deep as a piss-puddle in summer. Well, I managed to revisit 'Perseverance' before commencing this blog and I must say, the album has grown on me. It'll come in handy when I'm at the gym, perfect gym music. Not sure why this passed me by in 2002. Ah well.

Hatebreed formed in Connecticut in 1994 and began gigging and recording demos. Tours with acts such as Slayer, Deftones and Napalm Death would soon follow. This would then show in the bands music as a more metal influence became prevalent in the bands music which would then catch the attention of more fans. They also had the song "I Will Be Heard" featured on the soundtrack for a movie called xXx, which was an action film starring Vin Diesel (That feel when a guy is being touted as the next big action hero at a time when the public didn't want any action heroes). Lead singer Jamey Jasta would then go onto present the revived MTV show 'Headbangers Ball'. So things were going well for these guys at this point. There was a slight controversy in 2012 when CNN alleged the band were a White Supremacist band and linked them to a shooting at a Sikh temple, but CNN apologised to the band.

This brings us to this album, 'The Concrete Confessional'. Loudwire published an article which claimed the subject matter for the album would deal with such topics as drug abuse, social injustice, police brutality (a hot topic at the moment #blacklivesmatter) as well as self-positive through positive mental attitude. I daresay the music will then inspire people to rip their shirts off at the live show and then run into each other repeatedly, before going for a beer afterwards. Anyhow, let's go...

1) A.D - A bundle of fury with a decent guitar solo. This should start the live show off with a bang! The song then gets a bit slow in the middle, I understand this to be the 'breakdown'. But instead of launching back into the fast bit after everyone has got their breath back, it just rolls towards the end. Kind of like Celtic Frost, in a way. All in all, a fantastic way to start the album.

2) Looking Down The Barrel Of Today - Well, well, starting off with a Slayer-esque riff and a nice drum groove, we're then out of the traps and on our way before settling back into a groove. This is pretty good. NOW THE WORLD IS MY TRIGGER AND I'M GONNA FUCKIN' PULL IT!!! Gan on yaself!

3) Seven Enemies - Bit of a slow one, no doubt tailored for that slow-shovey-thing at the live show, in anticipation for the blastbeat! If that's the case, then they appear to be taking their time about it. Nope, no blastbeats. Decent enough song but...maybe needs a bit more work.

4) In The Walls - Here we go, circle pit to hell! Nice mix of old-school punk, thrash and sludge (towards the end). Seems to be a few breakdowns in the songs so far, I'm guessing it's  their thing as a similar effect was on 'Perseverance' too.

5) From Grace We've Fallen - Another slow one, well more mid-paced really. Nice vocals in the chorus, seems to be the slightest glimpse of a tune in there too! Seriously, the vocals are proper full-on drill-sergeant stuff.

6) Us Against Us - A fast motherfucker of a number, should get the pit going. Nice gang-back ups during the chorus. So far, we've had some good music although the influences can be heard a mile away. However, the difference between these guys and others is that at least these sound genuine.

7) Something's Off - Ah, yes. That other hardcore staple - the ominous bass intro! In this case, it leads to a fat groove with some kick-ass riffs! A bit of singing in here too, sounds more defiant than tuneful though. Bass is rattling like a motherfucker in this as well.

8) Remember When - Fucking hell, I'm getting flattened with grooves right now! We're looking at the latest gym music accompaniment for the next time I go to turn my fat into muscles. Slows down into a proper uber-heavy outro. Awesome!

9) Slaughtered In Their Dreams - Sounds like a Freddy Kruger movie. One of the good ones before he became a wise-cracking anti-hero. Mid-paced but still has some punch behind it. Especially the bits between the verses. Nice slow groove in there too. Song is over before you know it.

10) The Apex Within - Frantic opening before launching into fast verse with a "Woah-oh" backing vocals. Another hardcore trait, these guys have really hit the hardcore smorgasbord for this album! Thrash-inspired riffs and stampede drums, Canny one.

11) Walking The Knife - Decent mix of Thrash and hardcore punk. Nice breakdown too. Pretty much the same format as most of the other songs on here, which isn't bad as we've got a good album right here. Gang-back ups sound ferocious too.

12) Dissonance - We're back to the rapid fire stuff, which is nice. Also a breakdown amid the destruction, which is canny. Mind, the breakdown has a groove behind it this time. Another song which is over as quickly as it began.

13) Serve Your Masters - Mid paced rage-athon to bring the album to a close, Jamey sure sounds pissed over something! Nice thuddy song with a fast bit towards the end.

Well, that was a fine album which made me see the band in a new light - as in "Jerm now has a new fave band" kind of light. However, this is an impartial review so I'll get the negatives out of the way first - this isn't going to be for everyone due to the somewhat limited scope of the music. It's VERY basic stuff and somewhat derivative. However, sometimes it's good to go for a more linear option and you can't go wrong with this. It's produced well, played well and should find a spot in the collection of any hardcore fan or metaller.

7/10 - This is good and well worth a check.

Chris J.

Top Track: Looking Down The Barrel Of Today.

This album is available on iTunes.


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