Hatebreed – The Concrete Confessional

Hatebreed
The Concrete Confessional
Hardcore Punk
Released: 13 May 2016
via Nuclear Blast Records

No matter how far away I get from heavy metal I always find that there are a few bands that drag me right back to headbanging and shouting until I have no voice.  Hatebreed are one of those bands.  No matter how long it is since I last listed to the genre, they always give me the one thing that I always look for in music in general.  Passion, integrity and kick ass music. The music of Hatebreed and I go way back now, I think their music is so ingrained into my psyche that I can’t actually turn my head when they bring out new material.  However, there is only one question to answer in this review.  Is this album, The Concrete Confessional better than their previous album The Divinity of Purpose.  The last album was so good and really cemented me as a true Hatebreed fan.

Well I’ll give it this…. There is certainly a more intense, almost overly aggressive, vibe to this. I mean all of Hatebreed’s albums are intense and in your face.  The Concrete Confessional however, is sharper and feels more direct. For the most part Jamey Jasta is quite creative with his wordplay and the language used in his albums.  Here there is more of a direct approach as if Hatebreed are directing their aggression right at the listener.  Some may think that this is antagonising and abrupt.  I think it’s a pretty bold way to get your point across.  Being that this is a very opinionated band, why hold back your though with metaphor and imagery when you can just say how you’re feeling right there and then. The album deals with heavy issues like social injustice, police brutality and drug abuse, so why hold back?

The music is just as direct.  With sharp consistent note changes and tight production the music stands as a way to punctuate the heavy subjects of the lyrics. Though I do feel that something is lost with this album.  I’m not finding it nearly as catchy or musically interesting as the previous records.  Nothing really sticks in your head at all, as if Hatebreed are laying it on a little too thick.  Think of the Hatebreed songs that you know, “Everybody Bleeds Now”, “Destroy Everything”, “In Ashes They Shall Reap” or even newer songs like “Honor Never Dies”, “Indivisible” or “Dead Man Breathing”.  They sticks in your mind because the music was creative and the lyrics catchy.  This album seems to be void of that, barring say a couple of songs “Looking Down the Barrel of Today” being a great example.  Even that only has one phrase though.  What I’m saying is I don’t think there’s a good compromise between the message they’re trying to deliver and the creativity needed to make compelling music.

Is this a good album? Yes absolutely, without question.  Is it Hatebreed? Yes, again it’s exactly what they wanted to give us.  Is it as good as The Divinity of Purpose, Perseverance or The Rise Of Brutality? No, I don’t think so.  The album is too far removed from what made those albums great. However, I’ll pose another question.  Was The Concrete Confessional meant to be a fun heavy metal album or was it meant to make you feel uncomfortable with the way you’re living?… Sure the band may say something in a press statement, but what a band says in interview and what they say on the record itself aren’t always the same thing.

4/5

Mick Birchall

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