WRITTEN BY SEAN TANNER
Tell a hardcore enthusiast that you think Hatebreed’s 1997 debut, Satisfaction is the Death of Desire, is a certified classic and a benchmark for the genre and nobody would blink an eye. Hatebreed’s first full length was a take no prisoners monster and the band hasn’t rested on their laurels since. They are remaining workhorses in the scene, expanding on their sound and cranking out release after brutal release. Each rung on the ladder has something new to offer; culminating in this eighth full-length album, Weight Of The False Self.
“It’s the same basic style and formula that we’ve normally had over the years, but slightly more technical, slightly more metal than some of the other albums,” says guitarist Wayne Lozinak. “There are a few more guitar solos than I usually have compared to past releases. I personally think it’s great, because we don’t wanna change too much but our sound has grown over the years, it’s more advanced now.”
Lyrically, the album is a combustible combination of the physical and emotional violence that is not only bestowed upon us by others but also self-inflicted. It’s about the suffering we must go through in order to become better versions of ourselves.
In “From Gold To Gray”, Jasta invokes the title to express how “nothing stays”, imploring the listener to appreciate what they have and seize the moment, to “enter the fray”. These reflections coalesce around the eponymous track, “Weight of the False Self”, a sledgehammer directed at self-destructive tendencies and defeatist mindsets that hold us back from being the versions of ourselves that we envision.
The lyrics throughout the entire record branch out from this central motif, a call to arms that conjures a steely sense of steadfastness and purpose in us. Jasta’s ruminations illustrate the struggle and importance of becoming a better version of yourself.
The instruments rise to the challenge of meeting Jasta’s intense delivery. They balance technicality with creativity through plenty of lightning-fast palm-muted riffs, which slide nicely into the band’s lumbering, crushing breakdowns. These songs chug along every bit as hard as we could have hoped for.
Hatebreed hopes to get back to touring next year. While livestreaming has increased in popularity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lozinak admits the band has reservations about their style working in a digital-only format. That being said, Lozinak is open to the idea and says it isn’t completely out of the question. Social media is something that many bands are adapting to and Hatebreed is no different when it comes to taking the good with the bad.
“It’s good that you reach way more people”, Lozinak says. “But you’ve got all the negative critics and everybody downloads and streams the music basically for free. That comes with the business side of it, it has its ups and downs like everything else.”
Lozinak offers one final piece for all the independent artists for when live music becomes available again.
“Play as many shows as you can, just keep doing it and don’t give up.”
Weight of the False Self is available everywhere now.