There are a few bands in my book who can do no wrong, with a solid run of must-have albums. Sabaton, Slayer, Alestorm, Nickelback… (OK, I may be kidding about one of them) …and Hatebreed. The Jasta-fronted hardcore outfit has been on the go since 1994, without a single duff release out of their eight so far. Will Weight Of The False Self continue this successful trend?
Opener “Instinctive (Slaughterlust)” has already been made available as a video and it’s as good an start as you’re going to get. If anything, its only fault is that it’s Hatebreed by numbers. It contains every wonderful trope of the band that makes them the crushing success they are. The trademark vocals, the crunching guitars, the backing shouts from the rest of the band, lyrics about not bowing down, the head-pounding slow sections running into faster circle-pit inducers, the chugging bass-led outro… Job done. Next!
“Let Them All Rot” and “Set It Right” pass by well enough, being fairly good filler (every Hatebreed album has some) before the title track absolutely destroys. Again, this one pulls on the stronger parts of their formula and very much deserves its name on the front cover. Another highlight is “A Stroke of Red” which is more of a chunky metal song (is “chunky metal” a thing?), a slow builder it ends with an absolute flurry of violence which is going to leave any live crowd wondering where their limbs have gone and whose forehead it was that smashed their nose.
“This I Earned” deserves a place on a setlist once we’re again allowed close enough to each other to crowdsurf, likewise “The Herd Will Scatter” and “From Gold To Gray” which just demand full on chaos.
And then we get to “Invoking Dominance”. Thought the album peaked with “Weight…” but I was wrong. The closing heavyweight is every bit as good if not better. The intro is superb, the kind of thing a band can walk on stage to… and then it just erupts. I think it’s the heaviest, most powerful song on the album and it’s not exactly lacking competition.
One surprise is the lack of “When The Blade Drops” which was released earlier in the year. I guess you’ll have to buy / stream that separately as it’s also a damn good song!
Weight of the False Self isn’t going to win Hatebreed any new fans that couldn’t be sold on their earlier releases. This isn’t their “Black Album” and I can never see them changing their sound enough such that people would change their mind about them… and that’s one reason I love them so much. You know what you’re getting with a Hatebreed album. You always have, right from the days of Satisfaction is the Death of Desire.
Eight albums in (nine if you include the covers release) and they still come out swinging spiky balls on sticks. Long may it last!
Weight of the False Self is out on November 27th