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Review: The Concrete Confessional is the Hatebreed Album You Wanted

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“Once had a shotgun to my head/They said I wasn’t worth the bullets/Now the world is my trigger and I’m here to fucking pull it.”

Hey-o! Always dig Jamey Jasta’s aggressive positivity. And his group’s commitment to a very particular sound: a hybrid of old-school thrash with enough hardcore tropes (breakdown here, singalong there) to win over any and all fans of aggressive music.

A bit of the same, yes. But it’s hard not to like. The Concrete Confessional, Hatebreed’s seventh album and first worldwide for Nuclear Blast, is a comfort. It hits you in all the right ways, never veers from its mission and, with just one song breaking three minutes, doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Speaking of formula, this is normally the part of the review where I, esteemed metal critic, find the outlier track, the experimental one-off that suggests a “maturity” or hints at a new direction the band might go a few albums down the road. But… nope. To quote them: “All I hear is dissonance!” Jasta screams in, natch, “Dissonance.” Learn it, you’ll surely be singing it this some summer on some sort of energy drink-sponsored festival gig.

What we’re left is the songs that fit the Hatebreed mold best and worst. Good: “Us Against Us,” a polemic on corruption and a call for unity (in a hardcore song? Shocker!). The grooves of “A.D.” (which, title aside, does feel slightly Sepultura-ish) and “Serve Your Masters.” And the fatty bass line of “Something’s Off,” which almost feels like Hatebreed’s first attempt at an active rock hit.

The bad? A few of the shouted choruses seem odd; e.g. the chant of “Rats!” which concludes “In the Walls.” They’re talkin’ metaphorical vermin. I’m hearing a variation on “darn!” And the “whoas” within “The Apex Within” are pleasantly Misfits-y without really serving a purpose. Nice, I guess.

Overall: This is the Hatebreed album you wanted. Copy/paste this in three years. See you then.

Hatebreed’s The Concrete Confessional drops Friday on Nuclear Blast. You can stream the track “Seven Enemies” here and pre-order it here.

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