Hatebreed returns with their eighth studio album Weight of the False Self which is classic Hatebreed with a few surprises thrown in.
The follow-up to their 2016 album The Concrete Confessional has been long anticipated amongst their fans, especially since they were teasing this release on their 2019 tour with the Dropkick Murphys and now the wait is over. Hatebreed is one of the most prolific bands in the hardcore scene with longevity of over 20 years. They have been on almost every festival for those years and have earned a loyal fanbase due to their songs and the energy of their performances. The new album Weight of the False Self only serves to solidify their standing as the top metal hardcore band around.
Fans of Hatebreed know their songs to be all around three minutes, fast and intense, and all having a strong message. This album is no different. There seem to be some common themes through it like death and loss, but there is a large overwhelming message about improving yourself, fighting for what you want because if you don’t do that then you cannot help the world or yourself. This is not a new theme expressed by Jamey Jasta and the rest of the band but the juxtaposition of the fast, aggressive, almost angry-sounding music mixed with the message is powerful. It makes the listener want to fight for themselves and what they want.
The album opens with “Instinctive (Slaughterlust).” There is no build up, it launches straight out with Jasta’s vocal and the music simultaneously slapping the listener in the face, waking them up and putting them on notice that they need to listen to this. The songs just keep going from there. There are the fast riffs that are expected from the guitar pair of Frank Novinec and Wayne Lozinak and the pounding drums provided by Matt Byrne and the bass of Chris Beattie. One of the standout tracks is “Set it Right (Start with Yourself)” with powerful lyrics like “if you want to change the world start with yourself” and “if you don’t deal with this now it will never go away.” It empowers the listener to fight for themselves, look at what they want, and go for it with everything they have. This theme continues with another great song, “This I Earned.” Here Jasta screams “I wasn’t born with it, I bled for it.” Very true and a reminder to the listener that nothing worth having is just given to you.
When you listen to all the songs you can almost see them being performed live. Songs like “Dig Your Way Out” and “From Gold to Grey” are excellent mosh pit songs – fast and intense. The vocal style of Jasta singing and the band joining in allow the listener to almost see and feel what it is like being in the crowd at one of their shows, yelling back these lyrics. This helps create the overall intense feeling of this album. There are some surprises on the album as well. Both “Stroke of Red” and the final song of the album “Invoking Dominance” have more metal musical elements to them, bringing to mind old thrash metal when you first hear it. This is different for Hatebreed but it works very well here and almost seems to compliment some of the themes of the songs about pushing yourself or improving yourself. Don’t be afraid to try something new because like in this case, it might just work. “Invoking Dominance” starts with a longer metal sounding intro before moving right into the hardcore sound that is expected. Both that metal sound and a long intro are different from what we have seen from Hatebreed in the past but it flows seamlessly together. The lyrics of this song, like “now I reclaim what’s mine,” are powerful and motivating and the perfect way to wrap up an album like this. The listener has no excuse but to go out and fight for themselves and what they want.
The Weight of the False Self is the metaphorical weight that is carried by every individual. “Seen or unseen, everyone is carrying a burden. The music we love helps us bear the weight,” said Jasta. That is a perfect way to describe this album. It is intense and motivating. The energy comes through from start to finish, you can’t even imagine the band being constrained in a recording studio to produce it. It has a natural and powerful feeling that cannot be ignored.
Weight of the False Self on Nuclear Blast Records is available from November 27th. This is a must listen to for any fans of Hatebreed or metal hardcore.