Published Nov 26, 2020Hatebreed may very well have been the biggest hardcore band in the world at one time, but at some point in their career of eight albums and 20 years, it felt as though they lost some of their steam. After 2016's rather fruitless The Concrete Confessional, Hatebreed make an intense comeback with Weight of the False Self, an album loaded with killer breakdowns and strangely empowering messaging.
For the most part, the songs on Weight of the False Self have a sense of direction and complement one another as pieces of an overarching theme of dignity, self-respect and perseverance. In "Set It Right," vocalist Jamey Jasta belts out the words, "If you want to change the world, you have to start with yourself" over classic heavy metal riffs. "Dig Your Way Out" is a uptempo headbanger with a pretty self-explanatory message, considering its title. Contrary to expectations, the song "Cling to Life" is about remaining hopeful in desperate times, regardless of how bad things might seem.
Jasta's lyricism seems absurd when contrasted with Hatebreed's characteristic hardcore style, but it is bound to subvert genre-based expectations for the cult following of listeners that the band has accumulated over the years. Rather than exploring the theme of perseverance in any deep or meaningful way, though, Hatebreed only grazes the surface with words of encouragement that are refreshing to hear from a prolific hardcore band, although not very complex. Yet even within this surface-level theme, the song "Let Them All Rot" stands out in a jarring way with its vibe of pure destruction, and Jasta's repetition of the words, "Give them what they want, new ways to die."
The band's guitarist Frank Novinec describes Weight of the False Self as "a perfect representation of Hatebreed in 2020," and as this strange and calamitous year nears its end, listeners have been searching far and wide for positive music to uplift them. Who knew that a band called Hatebreed would be the ones to deliver. (Nuclear Blast)