Hatebreed - _For the Lions_
(Century Media, 2009)
by: Jackie Smit (
For most of you reading this, I imagine that the idea of Hatebreed "Jasta-fying" a selection of metal and hardcore classics elicits about as much clamour and enthusiasm as a trip to the proctologist. Don't get me wrong; I'm a fan. Their musical ethos may be laughably simple at the best of times, but when it comes together -- as it did beautifully on 2006's _Supremacy_ -- Hatebreed's brand of heavy has all the breathless impact of a haymaker to the side of the head.Sadly, this doesn't quite translate to a decent covers album. Across eighteen cuts there aren't really any surprises or indeed fresh ideas of any description brought to the table. This is karaoke-by-numbers and at no point is that more evident than during such puerile interpretations as "Thirsty & Miserable", "Refuse/Resist" and "Suicidal Maniac". Even Slayer, a group whose style should surely mesh with Hatebreed's like a pair of fur-lined slippers, are done wrong when "Ghosts of War" is stripped of its dignity on the album's opening.Slight relief comes in the way of "All I Had I Gave", a song that shows Kirk Windstein's vocal coaching paying dividends in Jamie Jasta's delivery of one of the greatest tunes in the Crowbar canon. Similarly impressive is the 'Breed's ability to turn Merauder's "Life Is Pain" into a moden anthem for, well, inflicting pain. But frankly, I'd just as soon these be used as bonus tracks on the next Hatebreed full length. _For the Lions_ may have pure intentions, but as cover albums go it feels about as necessary, compelling and relevant as _The Spaghetti Incident_.
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