I’d like to preface this whole discussion with the fact that the sole impetus for this review arrived via Angry Metal Guy‘s unfortunate observation that Product of Hate hail from my own hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kenosha (derived from the Potowatomi name gnozhé meaning “place of the pike”1) is a somewhat large city abutted against lake Michigan and the Illinois border which currently—as is the case with so many other Midwestern cities and towns—finds itself in the later stages of post-industrial soul-searching. After the departure of manufacturing from a city that used to be second to Detroit in automobile manufacture, it’s been through some rough times. It was a great, if uninteresting, place to grow up, however. Some of its public schools were pretty good when I went to them, it has a nice lakefront and a few quite good, if small, museums. Suffice it to say, the town inspires very little in people, which brings us to this album.
The most difficult part of this reviewing game are the albums so pedestrian, so utterly devoid of character that writing about them is nearly impossible. Upon listening to Buried in Violence, a black butt of despondency gathered over me, and my thesaurus quaked with excitement as I reached towards it, opened it, and leafed about in search of any possible way to express the album’s nature other than the one you’re about to read. Alas, Roget could see only so far into the future, and my search was fruitless. Product of Hate sound like Lamb of God, but worse.
That’s not to say that Lamb of God are a terrible band; I certainly don’t revisit their music often, or ever, really, and I haven’t listened to their latest album Sturm und Pretense or whatever it’s called. But I graced the streets of Kenosha with their music at soccer-mom-approved volumes quite a few times in my youth and they really did have a lot going for them at that point. The band was tight, they had a fun, if superficial Middle Eastern influence on their leads, and Randy Blythe has a very distinctive voice and wrote decent politically charged lyrics. Product of Hate lacks almost all of this, but most sorely felt is the impact of the band’s god-awful lyrics.
Whereas “Redneck” was a believable anthem of aggression, made even more enjoyable by the fact that it was a fan favorite focused on force-feeding Blythe some humble pie, Buried in Violence’s songs fall flat on their faces attempting to ape that angst. Atop cookie-cutter backing riffs, Adam Gilley’s Blythe impression roars on and on about hating you (“Nemesis,” “Unholy Manipulator”), killing you (“Kill.You.Now.,” “Annihilation,” “Monster”), dominating you (“As Your Kingdom Falls,” “Blood Coated Concrete,”), watching your kingdom fall (“As Your Kingdom Falls,” “Unholy Manipulator”), etc., for about 40 goddamn minutes. So far as I can make out, the majority of these songs were written specifically to back WWE entrances and inspired only by that most pure and petty form of hatred that can only form between an employee and their asshole boss. As far as the instrumentals go, they’re spectacular in that I truly believe that each member of this band spent their entire life prior to the release of this album in a tiny room listening to Lamb of God. With the exception of the Shadows Fall-ish “Revolution of Destruction,” every single riff and every single lead are Morton & Adler throwaways. I honestly think that Napalm Records kidnapped these men as babies and has hidden them away at some radio-metal black site to spend the entirety of their existence producing sweet groove metal secretions like a domesticated aphid.
As if to prove that this band was custom-injection molded for Ozzfest, Buried in Violence concludes with a cover of “Perry Mason,” which I only recognized as a cover because its lyrics are juvenile in a different way than those of the rest of the album. I’m honestly surprised and quite disappointed that the band chose to cover a song that isn’t on Sacrament, but that would have only accentuated just how far short of the mark their own music is.
The hometown advantage does not exist for Kronos; this album is boring, derivative, and bad. I don’t like it and there is a strong chance that neither will you. If you do like it, please note that there is another band, called Lamb of God, that you should like instead of this band.