If you like metal or hardcore, than you probably know all about Hatebreed. Even the idiots at CNN namedrop Hatebreed. So when they put a new album out, people usually pay attention. Of course, how those albums stack up musically is another thing entirely. Yes, Hatebreed has been one of the most – and you can argue the most – influential bands in hardcore (and metalcore), but their last self-titled offering was middling in quality. How does The Divinity Of Purpose stack up to their back-catalog? And can it draw new fans in?
Well, if you’ve ever heard a Hatebreed album before, you’ll know what to expect from this one. While other hardcore bands like Converge sound like a knife-fight, Hatebreed sounds more like a pummeling waterfall. They’re a lot more accessible than most other bands, and that’s probably why their audience is so big. It’s true: The Divinity Of Purpose does not deviate from the formula much, if at all. I would imagine for most people this might be a good thing: if you make a conscious decision to listen to some Hatebreed, it’s because you know exactly what you want to hear and you want to hear it now. The Divinity Of Purpose will somewhat fulfill that desire – but as with their previous self-titled album it might feel a bit forced and clean.
The explosive energy that marked Hatebreed‘s earlier albums seems to have dried up by now. Even up to Supremacy (their fourth studio album), the songs were marked with a gritty and emotional nature that really helped sell what they were trying to push. I mean lets face it; hardcore isn’t anything complex and crazy. That’s why so many people love it. So the injection of energy is a really big fucking deal for a band like this, and lately it just hasn’t been there. There are some truly good songs on this album – I mean right off the bat “Put It To The Torch” has a great opening, but slows down midway through. What the hell is that? Luckily the next track “Honor Never Dies” (Hatebreed doesn’t exactly dip into a lot of different lyrical areas, that’s for sure) picks up the pace with an absolute killer riff that plays throughout most of the song. This up and down ride continues throughout the rest of the album; moments of “Oh man, I wish they did that part a little better” are usually followed up by a “Fuck yeah, this shit has some groove to it”.
I will say this: the production on The Divinity Of Purpose is much better than it was on their last self-titled album. It looks like it was mostly the same crew that worked on both albums, so I don’t know what changed but believe me it’s a good thing. Their last album sounded like someone recorded it with their iPhone 3GS while hiding in the broom closet next to the studio. Fortunately, that’s not a problem here.
Hatebreed fans will feel right at home with this album, and it’s definitely accessible enough to lure in new people also. If you’ve heard Hatebreed before and didn’t think much of them; than keep on walking. This definitely isn’t the album that’ll change your mind; I’d doubt that any album from these dudes will change your mind. At this point, it sounds like they can write this album in their sleep. For the fans, it’s just a shame that they album isn’t more consistent throughout it’s playtime.