Saturday, May 14, 2016

Hatebreed - The Concrete Confessional (2016)

Knowing what he has done during his spare time, I was a little worried that Jamey Jasta was more focused on his podcast than on Hatebreed now a days, and judging the length of the new album, I had reasons to be so. "The Concrete Confessional" is a mere 33 minutes, so for those who hoped that the band had created a meaty album during the three years that had gone since "The Divinity of Purpose", tough luck. One should still remember though that the genre is hardcore, so it does not matter as much as it normally would, but still, the album is over before you know it.

The material that is in "The Concrete Confessional" though is what you would expect from the band. It is fast, angry, and heavy, a real knuckle sandwich of high quality metal. Jamey is screaming about the state of both America and the world in this album, and he really got a lot on his mind. It is sure to be a divider among listeners, some will appreciate that he speaks the truth, while others are simply tired of hearing his opinions. For me, I can stand it as long as the music is interesting enough.

In typical hardcore fashion, all the songs are short and jam packed with punch. Only one song ("Something's Off") is over three minutes in length, which gives us a total of 13 songs on this album. While all of the songs sounds fairly similar at first, I can sense some small exploration in the band's sound here and there. Do not worry, this is Hatebreed from head to toe, but some songs do have a little melody to them, which did surprise me a little. The abnormalities are barely noticeable, all to not chock the average Hatebreed fan.

The main focus is as always of Jamey and his vocals, being completely in you face for the full 33 minutes. They are loud, and are constantly in the spotlight, while the rest of the instruments chugs on in the shadows. It has always been a thing that has bugged me with Hatebreed, because I wanna hear what the other guys are capable of, but they rarely get a chance. There are close to no solos, and while the riffs are crunchy, they do not add anything special to the music. I still think that most of the album is of good, even quality, but it is nothing spectacular.

When it comes to songs that stand out, I did have a hard time finding them, but my persistence paid off. The previously mentioned "Something's Off" does stand out for its length, but is also the only time in the album where Jamey doesn't scream, and just sings normally in a part. Interesting and unusual. "Us Against Us" reminds me of the Slayer song "You Against You", not only because the titles are fairly similar, but because this song could just as well be a Slayer song with its aggressive thrash tone. The opening track "A.D." does a great job explaining how the American dream has changed, and we got some great aggression from "Looking Down The Barrel of Today", "Walking The Knife", and "Dissonance".

"The Concrete Confessional" is another rock solid release from Hatebreed, a album that does not differ too much from the band's previous efforts, but does put enough new details in to make it interesting. I am still having a hard time to fully appreciate the band, probably because hardcore is not quite my type of music. I am a man who loves long songs, solos, and innovative structure, in other words, the opposite of what Hatebreed is offering. I still like this album, and I know that fans of the band and the genre will love it, so the hope for the band to turn me over is not completely gone.

Songs worthy of recognition: Walking The Knife, Us Against Us, Something's Off

Rating: 7/10 Barrels of Today

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