Hatebreed has, for more than 25 years, remained at the forefront of the hardcore community by utilizing a very familiar approach, combining heavy, intense music with lyrical content that constantly promote self determination and perseverance. It is a formula that the band has used time and again on its albums, to a certain level of success, too. Considering the success that the band has found on those album, it should come as no surprise that the band used that formula once more on its latest album, Weight of the False Self. It is just one of the aspects worth examining in this, the band’s eighth album. Keeping that in mind, the record’s sequencing is worth examining in itself, and will be addressed a little later. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too. Each item noted here is important in its own right. All things considered, they make the album a work that will appeal easily to Hatebreed’s established fan base.
Hatebreed’s brand new, eighth album Weight of the False Self is another offering from the band that will appeal easily to the band’s established fan base. That is due in part to the fact that it follows the old adage that if something is not broken, it does not need fixed. Just as with its predecessors, the album features a combination of intense, hardcore-infused musical arrangements with constant lyrical reminders for listeners to look to themselves to overcome their own personal demons and all of life’s obstacles. Case in point is the album’s lead single and album opener, ‘Instinctive (Slaughterlust).’ The song’s heavy, intense musical arrangement is everything that audiences have come to expect from the band, what with its pummeling guitar line, equally pounding drums and bass, and of course intense screams from front man Jamey Jasta. Jasta screams right from the song’s outset, “Here kindness ends/Weakness dies/No one else/Never bow/Never break/So I tap into the savagery.” He adds in the song’s second verse, “Come with me down the abyss/Where shadows spawn from emptiness/I must transform to shed this husk/New urge to fulfill my slaughterlust/I sacrifice to dominate/My savage nature now unleashed/Breath swift and sharp against clenched teeth/Animal intuition empowers me.” This is clearly someone who is feeling some very powerful thoughts and emotions. He continues in the song’s chorus, stating, “I have become instinctive/Like an animal/Untamable.” Again, here is someone who is going through a lot. In presenting such feelings and thoughts, the heaviness in these lyrics and their musical accompaniment in whole makes the song a clear example of how the song’s combined contents makes it so appealing to the band’s fan base.
The album’s title track and second single is another example of how that combined content serves to make the album so appealing to the noted audiences. It is heavy in its own right in terms of its musical content. What’s important to note that the song’s musical arrangement stands out against that of the album’s lead single, but is still familiar to longtime fans. Where the lead single’s musical arrangement was a direct, forward composition, this song’s arrangement takes listeners back to the slightly more melodic hardcore sound that the band has utilized throughout its life, too. It’s not just heavy, crunching guitars (though they are there, clearly). Rather it incorporates that element with a more structured melodic approach here, which again will appeal to the noted audiences. It couples with the song’s familiar, no nonsense, and uplifting lyrical content to make the song stand out even more. Right from the song’s outset, Jasta writes, “If you want to make a difference in the world, it means/You have to be different from the world you see/Free yourself from burdens that you know exist/Don’t carry the curse of the fatalist.” This statement is repeated twice more before the song reaches its core, in which Jasta writes, “Lift the weight of the false self crushing you/Lift yourself up from malevolence/Lift the curse of the fatalist haunting you/Lift yourself out from the death grip/Lift the burden upon your shoulders/There’s a challenge that’s begging to be risen to/There’s a voice and it’s your true self calling you/End the cycle/Kill all the willful self-abuse/Never justify another excuse.” Point blank, this is another familiar lyrical theme from Jasta. It is that noted message of self-determination and perseverance. It is encouraging listeners to be the best that they can be, and to rise above their own limitations, as well as those set by people around them. It is a message that even as many times as it is delivered, is always welcome. To that end, when it is paired with the song’s equally familiar stylistic approach to the song’s musical arrangement, the whole becomes another example of why this record’s collective musical and lyrical content is so important to its whole.
Perhaps the most intriguing addition to Hatebreed’s new album, in terms of its musical content, is its closer, ‘Invoking Dominance.’ The song opens with a distinct doom metal style approach, which is something rather unheard of from this band. Of course, that new approach just under a minute before the band launches into its familiar hardcore approach. Even with the brief variation, the very fact that the band would branch out even that much is worth noting. It shows that maybe, just maybe, when and if Hatebreed releases its next album, audiences will get more of that growth from the band. One can only hope. Once the band launches into that more familiar musical approach, the equally familiar lyrical content comes into play, with Jasta screaming, “I must reclaim what’s mine/Invoking dominance inside/If it means I put my life on the line/This voice cannot be denied/Now I reclaim what’s mine/test the waters/Sick of the pain/Enter unforgiving domain/Thought this was over….I’m going for the kill/thought you could poke the scorpion’s nest…You thought this was over/It’s not over ‘til you take your final breath.” The rest of the song follows a similar line from there, with that continued theme of facing great odds and refusing to give up in order to take what is rightfully one’s own. This is metaphorical language to a point, delivering a message of overcoming those obstacles, “reclaiming what’s mine” or rather reclaiming that self confidence no matter what it means facing. Yet again it is a familiar topic and theme from Hatebreed that will appeal to the noted audiences. When it is paired with that noted equally familiar musical arrangement, the whole proves once more why this record will appeal so strongly to Hatebreed’s established fan base. That assurance is strengthened even more when it is considered alongside the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries. Of course all of that taken into consideration, the album’s content is just one part of what make it so appealing for audiences. The sequencing of the album’s songs adds to its appeal.
As has already been noted, the musical arrangements that make up the body of Hatebreed’s new album are familiar for longtime fans. The stylistic approach presents a constant energy from one song to the next. The only point at which the album perhaps even begins to pull back is in ‘A Stroke of Red,’ the album’s midpoint. The stylistic approach here is slightly slower, in terms of tempo, but the heaviness is still there, so even in this case, the song still keeps the record’s energy flowing. The previously noted doom metal intro to the album’s closer, ‘Invoking Dominance,’ is the only other point at which the record pulls back. Again though, that pullback is only temporary. Once the song reaches the one minute mark, the energy picks back up, returning the album to its energetic high right to the song’s (and album’s) end. Simply put, the album’s sequencing ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment throughout with its maintained high energy. That aspect, coupled with the album’s content, strengthens the album’s foundation even more, and in turn ensures even more that the band’s established fan base will appreciate the album. It still is not the last of the album’s most important elements. Its production rounds out its most important elements.
The production featured in Weight of the False Self is important to address because of everything already examined. There is so much ferocity exuded throughout the course of the record’s 34 minute run time. Considering this, it would have been so easy for the vocals, or the guitars, or even drums and bass to get lost in the mix. Luckily though, that did not happen at any point. From beginning to end, the instrumentation is expertly balanced. Additionally, the instrumentation is just as well-balanced with the songs’ vocals. The result of the work that went into the record’s production is a presentation that is just as heavy and raw as any of Hatebreed’s existing records. When this is taken into account with the album’s sequencing and its content, the whole of the album leaves the band’s established fans fulfilled, agreeing that this record is just as appealing as any of Hatebreed’s any other albums.
Hatebreed’s latest album Weight of the False Self is a record that is just as certain to appeal to the band’s established fan base as any of the band’s existing records. That is proven in part through its combined musical and lyrical content, as evidenced here. The record’s musical arrangements are just as fiery and intense as those featured in the band’s previous albums, using a familiar stylistic approach from beginning to end. The lyrical content is meant to uplift listeners just as much as that in the band’s past works, too. The sequencing of the album’s songs keeps the energy flowing solidly throughout, ensuring even more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment. The album’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation, making sure that everything is balanced throughout the album. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make Weight of the False Self another work that will appeal easily to Hatebreed’s fans. The album is available now.
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