It should be no surprise that Hatebreed have deliver once of the best albums to sum up 2020. In a lot of ways a Hatebreed album is a lot like what 2020 has been like – brutal, confronting, unrelenting and feels like being smashed in the face with a sledgehammer.
During a career that has spanned eight albums and two decades Hatebreed have rarely strayed away from the formula that they know works for them. Having said that though to say that Weight Of The False Self is just more of the same feels dangerously degrading to the band. Yes, this is an album of tracks that do what Hatebreed do best – fast, snappy yet brutal heavy metal – but at the same time this is one of the first albums of this year where I have heard a band use their lyrics to urge their listeners to fight back against a year that has been brutal to them. There is no lay down and die mentality on this album, nor is there a ‘poor me’ vibe, instead this is an album of battle anthems telling the world it is time to take a stand and push back.
Yeah tracks like “Instinctive (Slaughterlust)” and “A Stroke Of Red” are sheer Hatebreed brutality but with “Let Them All Rot,” “Set It Right (Start With Yourself)” and “Weight Of The False Self” they become a band bringing a message of positivity. These tracks tell people to change the world by starting off changing themselves… it is a powerful message that we can only hope a lot of people stand up and take notice of.
Then of course there is “Cling To Life” which sums up 2020 with poetic brilliance while also showcasing the amazing work of guitarists Frank Novinec and Wayne Lozinak, two guitarists whose work often gets over-looked. The brutality again sets in on “This I Earned” while there is almost a harsh punk sound coming through on the fast paced “Dig Your Way Out”.
As if to prove without a doubt that the band are back to their best Hatebreed then deliver another call to arms with “From Gold To Gray” before closing out the album with “Invoking Dominance” – a track that not only sees Jamey Jasta in full flight but also sees the band come together to deliver some moments of instrumental bliss.
The positivity coming from the vocals on Weight OF The False Self are a true surprise but by hell if this album doesn’t make you want to fight back against 2020 then there is certainly something wrong with you.