Hatebreed - _Hatebreed_
(Roadrunner Records, 2009)
by: Jackie Smit (7 out of 10)
Ever heard the one about the band who tinkered a little too much with a winning formula and turned out a steaming turd in the process? Sure you have. From Metallica on down heavy music's oft-sullied ladder, the list reads like a who's who of artists who fell victim to a deadly cocktail of ego and the misguided urge to redefine, rather than refine. While Hatebreed haven't quite plummeted to the nadir of such foolishness, there's enough evidence on their self-titled opus to suggest that they aren't a million miles off masterminding their own _Load_ or _Diabolus in Musica_.

Limping off the blocks on a decidedly boggy note with "Become the Fuse", the band proceed to weave a tapestry of stock-standard metal core filler into a gang-vocal chorus that borders on self-parody during "Not My Master". In fact, it takes a full four songs before the simmering groove of "In Ashes They Shall Reap" gives us our first real taste of the substance that's propelled the 'Breed to the heights of their considerable success. "Hands of a Dying Man" likewise stuns with a breakdown rearing its head around the 1:30 mark that should come with a health warning attached.

Yet no sooner have we had our asses handed to us, for what we're ready to demand it handed back in the face of the characterless shite that makes up "Everyone Bleeds Now". Worse still is the suspiciously glam sing-a-long that starts off "No Haloes for the Heartless"; truly epitomizing everything wrong with what they appear to be consciously presenting to us as a defining moment in the band's discography. It sounds to me as though Hatebreed are fast running short of ways to hammer home their sermons of self-empowerment, and like a pride of wounded lions, their response is a mixture of raw ferocity and blind panic. On _Hatebreed_ they have delivered some of their most punishing work to date, hamstrung by far too many tracks unbeffiting their talent.

Contact: http://www.hatebreed.com/

(article published 24/12/2009)

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