IS HATEBREED THE BEST HARDCORE BAND OF ALL TIMES????
Everybody knows that Hatebreed is by far the most popular hardcore band in the history of the planet, but not everybody knows that they are beyond a doubt the best hardcore band of all time. I can feel the butthurt starting already, but lettuce be srs, brahs: no other hardcore band has consistently dropped album after album of brutal mosh jams. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a step through history and prove it! In more-or-less chronological order, I will go through the bands who some might say hold the title of “best hardcore band of all times” and illustrate why Hatebreed is #1.
Obviously, Black Flag is literally the best band of all time — so much better than so-called “seminal bands” like X, Television, The Voidoids, and whatever other bullshit oldz hold up as paragons of that era. I mean let’s be honest: those bands are shitty rock n’ roll that only out-of-touch geeks who write books about “seminal punk bands” actually like. That said, comparing Black Flag to today’s bands is apples and oranges: different eras that really can’t be held up against each other. Let’s move on!
Again, apples and oranges — ST is without a doubt the second best band of all time, and the soundtrack to me in 8th grade, but it’s really a completely different genre of hardcore than Hatebreed. Trust me, if I had to choose between my mother’s life and ST’s legacy, I would choose Suicidal in a heartbeat. I don’t want anyone to think that I’m moving past the greats, but it’s really impossible to compare them to Hatebreed, you know?
Here’s where we start to get into the era in which we can compare apples to apples, where metal meets core and CROSSOVER is born! I love The Age of Quarrel, but the fact is that there are like 3-5 great songs on there and a bunch of filler. And as great as AOQ is (and the demos before it), lettuce be reality: that’s really their only good album :( Yeah, yeah Death Camps and all that aren’t awful but COME ON SON, they are definitely not exactly great. And their more recent output, well, let’s just pretend it didn’t happen.
Yet another example of a band who dropped a legendary, untouchable, and brutal 7″ only to fall off hard and fast. “Fed Up” is basically the best hardcore song of all time, followed up with two runners-up (“I’ve Lost” and “New York Crew”– see our 2009 “Scene girl reviews Judge 7″“). But as usual, it was followed up by a lackluster LP with only one good song on it (“Bringin’ It Down”), not to mention the abortion known as Mike Judge & Old Smoke. Verdict? Hatebreed by a 1 zillion miles.
If there is anyone who’s earned the title of “most overrated hardcore band,” it’s Cleveland, Ohio’s INTEGRITY. I can feel the butthurt from here, but lettuce be reality brahs: Integrity were at best hit-or-miss, and mostly built their fanbase on their larger than life image (read my old interview with Ezec of Crown of Thornz/Skarhead for more details on how grossly inflated this image is/was). I’ll go on record as saying that they have exactly 1.5 good records: Systems Overload and a couple songs here and there from other releases. Not a bad band, but worlds apart from Hatebreed (did u see what I did there).
If you said Terror is better than Hatebreed, I will give you pass. I mean, I don’t think I agree, but if you prefer Terror I can’t really argue with that. When it comes to straight-up, traditional hardcore, there has never been and will probably never been a better band than @TERRORHARDCORE [via Hawthorne, California’s own CENTURY MEDIA #mosh #nastyposse]. Basically, Terror takes the template laid out by 80s/90s bands like Judge, Outspoken, Inside Out, etc., and made it a zillion times better than any of the OG bands ever did. So if you think Terror is the best hardcore band of all time, I can get behind that. We can agree to disagree.
Straight Ahead (honorable mention)
Although they only really released one actual record, Straight Ahead are close to my heart. If you were ever into Infest, Crossed Out, or Spazz, this band is the template for everything they did. Members went on to join NYC Mayhem, Youth Of Today, Sick Of It All, and other NYHC legends, but in my humble opinion, their 1985 demo is the best thing they ever did (that’s right, I said “I only like the demo”).
BEST OF “H8BREED”
A common misperception about Hatebreed is that they either suck because DIDN’T change (“All their records sound the same”), or that they suck because they DID change (“They’re too metal now”). Clearly, the band cannot have it both ways, but the truth is that they get better with every album. From back in the day, when they were a DIY band playing shitty VFW halls with crappy bands like Morning Again, to present day when they are headlining huge festivals, Hatebreed has always brought the mosh, and that is why I consider them the best hardcore band ever!
I believe “Smash Your Enemies” was on their demo, which I jocked hard back in 1996 or whenever it came out and still jock pretty damn hard — I even have a “SMASH YOUR ENEMIES” tattoo (srs)
“Perseverance” is literally the hardest song of all time, even harder than other Jamey Jasta joints like “Born To Crush You.” I also have a “Perseverance” tattoo — yes, that means I have two Hatebreed tattoos!
IMO “As Diehard As They Come” is one of their most underrated songs, but FUCK — the meta-breakdown at 1:35 will never be topped; it is the mother of all breakdowns.
When I saw them play “Not My Master” a couple years back, I was honestly afraid someone would get maimed or killed (it was in Cincinnati, where a couple people had been killed/stabbed/etc over the years). The breakdown in this song is so fucking heavy that it’s almost irresponsible!!
I could go on forever about Hatebreed, and all their songs over all these years, but you get the point: Hatebreed is not only the most popular, but best hardcore band in the history of recorded music (as you can see from the examples above). What do you think??? Is there anyone better????
Sergeant D. smashes his enemies every day at Stuff You Will Hate.