Hatebreed // The Divinity of Purpose
Rating: 3.5/5.0 — More gang shouts of encouragement!
Label: Razor & Tie [US] | Nuclear Blast [EU]
Websites: hatebreed.com | myspace
Release Date: EU: 2013.01.25 NA: 01.29.2013
The soundtrack to your motivational posters is back to beat your lazy ass down and gang-shout in your ears, telling you to stop procrastinating and get that damn term paper done!
Yes, that was definitely written just to grab your attention. If you are in college and currently reading this even though you have a term paper due before midnight, stop reading this right now. Hatebreed’s motivational anthems only work when the deadline is still at least a few days away! Just like prayers. You certainly don’t pray for something and expect it to turn up in a few hours’ time, do you? (Unless it starts with “n”, ends with “g”, and contains “o”, “t”, “h”, “i” and “n” in between.)
Anyway, it might seem like Jamey Jasta is back with seemingly more introspective lyrics—just look at the damn title! Who would’ve thought both “divinity” and “purpose” would appear in the same line in a Hatebreed album title?!?!—and they tell the story of a man torn between the ‘light’ and ‘dark’ side. It is cliché, but hey, it’s a nice change of style for a band that has mostly dealt with lyrical themes of self-empowerment and the triumph of one’s will over personal demons. This is the first album on which we see frontman Jamey Jasta approach his lyrics in a more metaphorical way than before.
However, Jasta’s lyrics are still very direct and don’t sound as philosophically sophisticated as the album title might suggest. (“Honor Never Dies” opens with this simple line: “Sometimes, standing for what you believe, means standing alone!”; “Nothing Scars Me” is an anthem chocked full of: “Nothing! Scars Me. Nothing! Scars Me. Nothing! Scars Me. NOTHING FUCKING SCARS ME!!!”). But who listens to Hatebreed for profound lyrical ideas in the first place? The heavy, bassy grooves and uplifting gang shouts have always been the main attractions. Hatebreed fans live for such moments as the catchy series of riffs heard in the introductions of “Own Your World” and “Dead Man Breathing”, and the heart-stopping breakdowns heard towards the end of “Boundless (Time To Murder It)”.
The Western-classical-art-influenced album cover is painted by Eliran Kantor (the same guy who painted the album cover for Sigh’s excellent album from last year, In Somniphobia), and it is probably the best Hatebreed album cover to date. It marks the first time Hatebreed has ever had a painting for an album cover, and if not for the brutal flamin’ band logo, any unsuspecting power metal enthusiast (who hasn’t heard of Hatebreed) might mistake this record for some historical power metal album.
There is no reason for Hatebreed fans to hate this latest gang shout fest. Play it at underground bars and shake up the place with good-spirited rowdiness and synchronized headbanging. To the stubborn, procrastinating college kid who has read up until here, not even Jasta’s shouts of encouragement can save your grade point average now. Go listen to some Shining and entertain some suicidal thoughts [the staff of AMG does not support or advocate suicide, nor do we support blowing your GPA — Steel Druhm].
Jamey Jasta Talks About “The Divinity of Purpose”