Hatebreed – The Concrete Confessional


Artist

Album

The Concrete Confessional

Label

Nuclear Blast Records

Year

2016

For Fans Of

Terror, Biohazard, Slayer, Trapped Under Ice.

Summary

If you look up the definition of ‘beast’ in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of this record alongside Jamey Jasta yelling motivational quotes at you.

Rating

90 / 100

Hatebreed, the hardcore band that pretty much all other hardcore bands wish they could be, have a brand new album out this month. It’s called ‘The Concrete Confessional’, and it is an ABSOLUTE MONSTER OF A RECORD, HOLY FUCKING SHIT GUYS!

Whenever vocalist Jamey Jasta spoke about the new album on his podcast – The Jasta Show (go get on it) – he spoke very highly of it and stated that each song was a “banger”, and we know what you are now thinking: “Well, what band wouldn’t hype up their new album?”, and you’re right, who wouldn’t do that? Crazy, ignorant bastards, that’s who! But look, we are telling you right now: the hype is real on this one, folks. ‘The Concrete Confessional‘ is one of the few examples of a band talking the talk, and then walking the walk.

Now, while the band hasn’t messed with their song formula too much for this outing, save for a few minor tweaks here and there, that doesn’t mean it’s bad by any means. Quite the opposite really, because if Pennywise, A Day To Remember and Slayer can get away with bloody murder by barely changing up their sound on each consecutive album then a fellow elite band like da ‘Breed need not worry, as this record is just so damn consistent throughout. They are perhaps one of the few bands on this planet that can release an album every three or four years, and the fans (diehards and casuals alike) will dig it regardless, because as stated above, it’s just so bloody solid.

But yes, this 13-track album is simply business as usual for the band, and by that we mean it’s fast and heavy, with some huge grooves and riffs, plenty of moshable parts with that ever present metallic sound. Equally, it’s sonically tight and very crisp and clean in the production and mix departments. But good God, not only are the band’s performances on point but so are these songs as a whole and we have to agree with Jasta that each track is indeed a bona fide banger.

Opener ‘A.D.’ definitely feels like a B-side from Slayer’s last record. Y’know – thrashy, political and fast – and it really sets the tone and theme of the record by kicking down the door and obliterating your ears over the walls with fast riffs and faster drumming. Moreover, the crushing finale of ‘Serve Your Masters’, the truly epic ‘In The Walls‘ – a definite standout – and the quick, punchy single, ‘Looking Down The Barrel Of Today’, are just classic Hatebreed tunes in terms of their structure and grit, and are just two great songs among an album filled to the brim with moments of sheer brilliance. Like that pure, old school breakdown in ‘Us Against Us‘, for instance. This writer hasn’t had his adrenaline spike this rapidly since he first heard ‘Beholder Of Justice‘ all those years ago.

Ultimately, this record puts a lot of their older work, namely their last outing, ‘The Divinity Of Purpose’, to absolute shame. Cue that painfully drawn out walk of shame scene from Game Of Thrones!

Thematically, the majority of the group’s back catalogue is mostly internally focused songs, dealing with personal emotions and certain mentalities, whereas this record is mainly externally focused (perhaps with the exception of ‘The Apex Within‘ and ‘Walking The Knife‘). It deals with the usual range of societal BS that bands tend to focus on, from political collusion and corruption, “The Man”, the failing of the American Dream, and so forth. But to their credit, it’s just that little more confronting and intense than most other bands can conjure up, and that’s because, much like The Ghost Inside and Stray From The Path, everything that comes from Hatebreed is all straight from the heart. It’s this level of drive, genuine anger and authentic passion that has allowed the group to last in this industry as long as they have, and why they can wait four years or so to drop a new album in a climate where many bands run through one to two-year album cycles.

It also helps that Hatebreed have some of the best riffs in the game but you know, whatevs.

At the risk of sounding like complete and utter kiss asses, when the line, “What once was brilliant, now has turned turned to rust” comes in on ‘From Grace We’ve Fallen‘, all this writer could think was how neither the band nor their sound has grown rusty over the years, and how they are still one of the best hardcore bands ever.

Conclusion

Sure, ‘The Rise Of Brutality’ may very well be the best Hatebreed record but ‘The Concrete Confessional’ is an absolute beast and is easily up there with the band’s, and the genre’s, best. Thirteen songs of this brand of hardcore/metal could have been far too much for other groups and thus become dull and boring, but Hatebreed really make this sound feel fresh and revitalising, all the while maintaining the energy and aggression of their style to the fucking max. ‘The Concrete Confessional’ has really been worth the four-year wait between this and their last record, and if it takes another four years for the next one, then we’ll gladly wait it out.

And guys – while Soundwave was an utter fucking bust, tour here soon, yeah? Okay? Cool! See you then. Cheers.

Tracklisting

1. A.D.

2. Looking Down The Barrel of Today

3. Seven Enemies

4. In The Walls

5. From Grace We’ve Fallen

6. Us Against Us

7. Something’s Off

8. Remember When

9. Slaughtered In Their Dreams

10. The Apex Within

11. Walking The Knife

12. Dissonance

13. Serve Your Masters