Hatebreed – Weight Of The False Self (Album Review)
Hatebreed – Weight Of The False Self
Released: November 27, 2020
Jamey Jasta | Vocals
Chris Beattie | Bass
Matt Byrne | Drums
Frank Novinec | Guitar
Wayne Lozinak | Guitar
Powderfinger front-wanker Bernard Fanning negatively described the metal bands at the 2005 Big Day Out as “Cookie Monster Music” whilst hating on the atmosphere created by the heavier bands and their legendary energetic fans. So for mine, Bernie Poo can sit barefoot in a sook circle full of Kmart Karens and go fuck himself! It’s like he forgot that the mighty Pantera gave his mob the much-coveted opening slot back on their 1994 Sydney show when his horrible band were just starting out. We, the fans, were right to throw bottles of piss at the whining fucks.
Playing at the end of that long, hot, dry, drunken 2005 Big Day Out that also included metal heavyweights Slipknot and System of a Down, was fucking Hatebreed and let me assure you, they absolutely destroyed.
After roughly 10 hours of going flat out in 40 plus degree weather, every bastard in that Hatebreed pit should have been too fucked to move. But the lads in the band weren’t having it. They rounded us up, told us to get our arses into gear and we obeyed, moving about in great big fucking circles, dodging the waiting Regurgitator fans that demanded we respect their personal space. I walked away bruised, filthy, physically & emotionally drained. Everyone’s ears were ringing. It was a genuinely triumphant day.
15 years later and Hatebreed are still out to destroy, this time with their eighth studio album Weight Of The False Self, and just like that BDO show so many years ago, this album is fast, hard and unrelenting from start to finish.
What do you expect though? You don’t go and call your band Hatebreed then go and bang out a couple of ballads. No. You go full berserker every second you’re performing, either live or in the studio.
But how has the band’s sound progressed on this album? Well, it hasn’t really. If anything, sonically the lads have picked up from where they left off on 2016’s The Concrete Confessional. If you’ve heard this band before, you know what you’re going to get on this album. Each song goes for about 3 minutes and is designed to kick your head in. There’s no slow dance here and the message on each song is either super motivational or real fucking violent. Henry Rollins said about Slayer, ”it’s like in-between albums, Slayer is frozen in ice”. For me, the same can be said of Hatebreed. There’s no bells and whistles here. It’s straight up hard-lined hardcore.
Album opener ‘Instinctive (Slaughterlust)’ is 1000mph from the get-go. It kicks off with their trademark call to arms. “Here, kindness ends, weakness dies…”. There’s no subtle symphonic introduction or melodic slow build here. Everyone is on board from the very start. The lads are here to kick your arse. ‘Let Them All Rot’ is violent. I can see Jamey Jasta riling the punters up in this song’s intro before launching into “Give them what they want. New ways to die. Pile all the heads. Pile them high.” I don’t care what you say, that line there is fucking cool.
‘Set it Right (Start With Yourself)’ is the boys pointing their finger at you and telling you to sort your own shit out before ragging on everyone else. If everything in your life is fucked, it might just be you mate! It can be played to that person you know that can’t land a keeper because “they’re all fuckwits” or who’s entire socials feed is littered with bitching and moaning between copy/pasted vapid inspirational quotes. Title track and first single from the album ‘Weight Of The False Self’ has a cool intro, two minutes of chug chug yell to fill out the guts of this song, and with 10 seconds to go the lads slow shit down beautifully to give this track a fucking cool ending. I just sorta wished that the bass had bottomed out just a tad more in that last bit to really shake the house loose of its foundations.
‘Cling To Life’ opening riff is groovy as fuck. The fellas reign things in a bit for this bad boy but she’s no ‘Unchained Melody’. A slower song from Hatebreed is still a faster venture than most bands can provide. Not to suggest it’s not heavy either. It’s Hatebreed for fucks sake but this song will probably suit the spectators standing up the back of the pit nodding along with their arms crossed. The lads keep the groove going with ‘A Stroke Of Red’. It’s a bit of a pit-cooler to start, almost like you’re given a chance to catch a breath with some nice melodic guitar and bass work but at 2:20 shit goes south, everything speeds up and that’s where it stays for the rest of the album.
‘Dig Your Way Out’ is Hatebreed’s way of testing their own fitness. It’s also another motivational monster for those in a deep dark hole, which on the back of 2020 is a good chunk of the populace. The song starts out a million miles an hour before transitioning into what sounds to me like an exercise in restraint. Almost like they’re doing their best to refrain from strangling someone into helping themselves. If any song needed a film clip starring Shia LaBeouf, this is it. JUST DO IT!!!! “This I Earned” just makes me wanna see this fucking band live again. It’s an absolute belter and fuckload of fun. It’s not a sit-down type of song either. I’m standing in front of my laptop with my headphones in, air drumming like a dickhead and my missus is staring at me like she’s made some poor life choices.
‘Wings Of The Vulture’ comes on and now I’m dancing like an 80’s dad, not because the song deserves such shit behaviour, but only to get a further rise from my wife and secure my knock-back for the night. The song title is my favourite of the bunch though and I’m also left wondering why Jamey Jasta hasn’t completely blown his voice to complete shit after this (and every other song he’s ever pumped out, if I’m honest). Drummer Matt Byrne is not here to fuck about and that is never more evident than on ‘The Herd Will Scatter’. He kickstarts this whole venture with 21 seconds of killer drum fill which makes me wanna hear him just go full Brann Dailor (Mastodon) all over this song. If this gets the live treatment I can easily see a Wall of Death forming and a few bodies going flying as a result. Someone’s gonna lose a shoe for sure and I ain’t drinking out of the bastard, no matter how much you chant “shooooooeeeeeeyyyyyy”. Bass Guitar!!!! It’s only brief but the lone bass from Chris Beattie a few seconds into ’From Gold To Gray’ makes me give no one else in this empty room a thumbs up. I’ve gotta say it threw me though. Everyone was all in, then all of a sudden, nothing but bass. Like everyone had fucked up except Chris. A few notes later and it’s stacks on, no man left standing, everyone in for a smashing good time.
The albums’ knockout blow ‘Invoking Dominance” is a deceptive bastard. Just when you think Hatebreed have started to hit the brakes with a bit of slow guitar-hero wankery, Wayne Lozinak and Frank Novinec pull up just short of Countdown-era Megadeth for Jamey to start yelling at us that he has to “RECLAIM WHAT’S MINE!!!!”. Once again it’s delivered in true Hatebreed fashion, but the song finishes all of a sudden and I’m left wondering where the fuck the rest of it went. At 3 mins 18 secs, this is the longest song on the LP, yet it still feels just a freckle short. Not that it matters, because I had this album on a loop and it slides perfectly back into the first song ‘Instinctive (Slaughterlust)’ to kickstart proceedings again.
If you’re a longtime Hatebreed fan then you’ll fucking love this. It stays true to their sound and message. As they say, if it ain’t broke… But if you’re not familiar with this lot, now is the perfect time to jump on board. These guys are out to motivate and take no shit. It’s high energy and at times can be empowering. In a time where Covid has kicked everyone’s arse, this could easily be the soundtrack to anyone and everyone moving forward, especially in a time when there is so much divisiveness and misinformation being thrown about.
This is an album that cuts through the bullshit, takes no sides and lights a fire under your arse whilst being a good fun listen at the same time.
For me, it’ll be my new gym workout music. It’s perfect for such an environment and delivers the perfect motivation for me as I endeavour to remove the many Covid kilos I gained in lockdown.
It’s also doing nothing to quell my desire to see live music again. I’m getting mad nostalgic flashbacks to when I could run around in drunken circles with the rest of the unwashed masses. I dare say I’ll be talking a sanitiser bath after the next show I get to. Might have to wear my WoS face mask when Browny gets around to making the fucking things.
I gave this a few spins round and it’s grown on me the more I listened to it. This album deserves to be heard through from start to finish and it won’t hurt you to repeat the process a few times. Especially if it’s at the gym and you want to be as fit as all the legends in the pit were at the 2005 Big Day Out.
Hatebreed – Weight Of The False Self tracklisting:
1. ‘Instinctive (Slaughterlust)’
2. ‘Let Them All Rot’
3. ‘Set It Right (Start with Yourself)’
4. ‘Weight Of The False Self’
5. ‘Cling To Life’
6. ‘A Stroke Of Red’
7. ‘Dig Your Way Out’
8. ‘This I Earned’
9. ‘Wings Of The Vulture’
10. ‘The Herd Will Scatter’
11. ‘From Gold To Gray’
12. ‘Invoking Dominance’
Weight Of The False Self is out November 27th via Nuclear Blast Records. Pre-Order here
Review by Duane James @duanejamestattoo
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