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Album Review: TBA

Friday, January 11, 2013

Album Review: Hatebreed – The Divinity Of Purpose

Once upon a time, whilst walking through a park, a good friend of mine was hassled by a drunk youth for money. Now, usually my mate would run a mile but, at the time, he happened to be listening to Hatebreed on his non-specific portable media player, so instead he proceeded to wind the volume up and dish out a beating that he never thought was in him. He’s sworn himself off the band now and has since become a pacifist. Okay, the last bit of that shaggy dog story was made up (he’s still a total nutjob who loves Hatebreed more than he loves himself – and that’s saying something), but it is a true, if slightly skewed, tale that highlights just how affecting heavy music can be.

Perfectly monikered, the volatile tunage that Hatebreed write, has been specifically designed to breed hate. Unsurprisingly, The Divinity Of Purpose is no different to the rest of their back catalogue, featuring lyrical content that shows these kings of bulging angst remain 100% dedicated to grabbing hold of you by the balls, tearing open your eyes to the grim reality of life today, and strengthening your resolve to it. Think of it as a two-part process. Firstly, they help you realise your weaknesses through association and, secondly, they supply the lyrical tools to empower you by suggesting you use, usually violent, counter-measures to correct your problems. Listening to Hatebreed is like having “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as your counsellor.

As time has passed and their discography has grown, these continual mind grenades should have got a lot older, a lot quicker, but the monster hooks they write and the methods they employ to suck you in, are just so goddamn addictive. From jinking breakdowns and barbaric, pounding rhythms to the vocal fury of call-and-response and the constant, monotonous barracking all suck you into screaming your lungs out, fist-throwing and pitting like you’ve never pitted before.

Take opener “Put It To The Torch” with its thrash-and-core, vein-bulging angst. It’s a simple, 2-minute assertion of dominance designed to incite total mayhem. The track rips straight through to the even harder smackdown of “Honor Never Dies” with hardly a pause for breath. The emotional forethought of how these songs would sound live is palpable. Take the chorus repetition of the purposeful title-track. There’s even a spoken-to-screamed building crescendo wedged in there. The fury of the pit that will explode on the smack of that snare as it all kicks off again is palpable. “Before The Fight Ends You” could have been written with my mate specifically in mind. It’s all remarkably straightforward and to the point with a chorus of “End the fight / Before the fight ends you!”, but that’s Hatebreed all over. And that’s The Divinity Of Purpose all over.

Unlike their last self-titled effort, there is no drop in pace, no “Every Lasting Scar” downtime. Without doubt, the album does what it says on the tin. It’s a savage, single-minded entity. The Renaissance-stylized artwork alone (created by painter Eliran Kantor) tells you just how serious they are about this merciless mission they are on. This is their religion and that’s the main reason why this comes recommended as one of their finer assaults. Having said that, the album’s main strength is also its biggest weakness. The sheer brute force of it is overwhelmingly predictable; one that lacks any level of sophistication or experimentation. Yes, perhaps with this album marking out Hatebreed’s 19th year, they should have offered something fresh, but to go against the grain now, not fully committed, and get it wrong might just ruin their iconic status – then who would my friend turn to when life deals him yet another shitty hand?

Also online @ Ave Noctum = http://www.avenoctum.com/2013/01/hatebreed-the-divinity-of-purpose-nuclear-blast/
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