Review: “Weight Of The False Self” by Hatebreed

Kicking up a storm since 1996’s “Under The Knife“, the return of Connecticut bruisers Hatebreed has been a long time coming, four years after 2016’s “The Concrete Confessional” and with a record delayed by a Global Pandemic. Their eighth studio album “Weight Of The False Self” was written and recorded in the second half of 2019 and once again sees them team up with Chris “Zeuss” Harris (Crowbar, Suffocation, Emmure) as vocalist Jamey Jasta, bassist Chris Beattie, drummer Matt Byrne and guitarists Frank Novinec and Wayne Lozinak march forth into the next chapter. The question is, will the new record bring them the success of songs like “Looking Down The Barrel of Today“, “Destroy Everything” and “I Will Be Heard“? Not to mention, how did the brilliant single “When the Blade Drops” recorded in the same sessions not get included on the record?

One of the pre-release singles “Instinctive (Slaughterlust)” brings the two sides of the wall of death crashing together as the opening track of the album and all the Hardcore staples are present and correct; breakdowns, gang chants, circle pit worthy tempo changing riffs and Jamey Jasta’s distinctive bark. The “BLEIGH!” moment in the final breakdown brings it all together as what you might call a certain and safe opening from the band, dipping their toes in and testing the water and the same can be said of “Let The Rot“. Both have the potential to become live favourites with the extra energy and atmosphere at the shows and if it ain’t broke, why fix it? The change up starts with “Set It Right (Start With Yourself)” which sees Jasta pointing the finger and telling you that you need to get your s*** straight before you can start talking down on others and change the World. He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone. Jasta delivers with venomous intent. There has been a fair amount of talk about inner struggles and the album title track provides an inner monologue and a mantra for those who suffer from those thoughts on how to get themselves out of trouble and lyrically hits home with its message.

Moving from strength to strength with a groovy opening to “Cling to Life” which brings a somber note, some Crowbar isms and an unexpected solo. A departure from their main sound, its slower but still a solid head banger, showing that they have something more in their locker should it be called upon with an extra emotional edge rarely seen from a band of this nature. That groove continues into “A Stroke Of Red” which has some pause break riffing that allows Beattie’s bass line to bleed through in a classy fashion before a big step up to the circle pit educing calls mid-track as the track rages off in a faster, harder direction, setting the scene for the the Punk Speed Thrash of “Dig Your Way Out“. Another song on the motivational side lyrically, (perhaps Jasta will turn to writing self help books in his senior years?) it benefits from a slow down to huge breakdown mid song. The towering “This I Earned” echoes the sentiment of “I Will Be Heard” and “In Ashes They Shall Reap” and is built for the live show with a bulldozing brute force and perfectly executed pause break riffage making for a clear stand out. The first two thirds of “Weight of The False Self” ends up being a set of songs that grow on you over multiple listens.

If 2009’s cover album “For The Lions” told us one thing, it was that Hatebreed love a bit of Thrash and in “Wings of the Vulture” the band head off in that direction, playing a stripped down and chrome plated version of the genre with a certain amount of 80’s nostalgia and a tip of the hat to Integrity. Jasta switches into storytelling mode and that continues into “The Herd Will Scatter“, the pair playing perfect partners but unlikely to make the live set despite being solid concrete affairs, that darker intensity and chug suiting them down to the ground. The Hardcore Punk verses and Thrashy chorus of “From Gold To Grey” would make for a great Biohazard song with all the hallmarks there but it’s the finale in “Invoking Dominance” that steals the show. Wayne Lozinak’s somber leads reminiscent of 2000’s era Metalcore during the intro before the hammer comes crashing down on the skulls as Hatebreed go full throttle with Metallic Hardcore at its finest and Jasta spitting absolute fire. Overall a solid album with a few real stand out moments, you can’t help but feel that Hatebreed need to take a risk or two more with their next outing. What they do, they do so well that it suffers from the law of diminishing returns [7/10]

Track listing

  1. Instinctive (Slaughterlust)
  2. Let Them Rot
  3. Set It Right (Start With Yourself)
  4. Weight of the False Self
  5. Cling to Life
  6. A Stroke of Red
  7. Dig Your Way Out
  8. This I Earned
  9. Wings of the Vulture
  10. The Herd Will Scatter
  11. From Gold to Grey
  12. Invoking Dominance

Weight Of The False Self” by Hatebreed is out now via Nuclear Blast

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