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Review: Hatebreed – ‘The Divinity Of Purpose’

Intensity, aggression and an unshakable dedication to hardcore power.

At some point hardcore split. The result of this split was one side that had more hardcore in their metal and the other with more metal in their hardcore. The former is represented by Converge, His Hero Is Gone, Cursed, Refused, and the like. On the latter side we got Terror, Earth Crisis, and, of course, Hatebreed. With five original albums and one covers record to their name, Hatebreed could be the standout of the entire genre. Their dedication to hardcore is clearly unshakeable but, like their peers, the metal/hardcore combination has tipped squarely into the metal arena. It isn’t an insult. Just a simple truth.

The Divinity Of Purpose is a quick blast chugging riffs, jackhammer drums and all the workout mosh parts you can handle in 38 minutes. If Hatebreed were to form like Voltron, mouthpiece Jamey Jasta would be the head. He’s the brains behind the band, the man with solid integrity and a clear dedication to the DIY ethos. While his band may tip more into metal, Jasta is one hundred percent hardcore in attitude. He refers to The Divinity Of Purpose as “All pit, no shit” and he isn’t wrong.

“Put It To The Torch” kicks the album with a bounce riff. The kind of chug-chug chord basher that gets audiences jumping up and down. When it finally explodes into the fast part, the tension is palpable. Jasta bellows over this with an authoritative call to put all life’s issues to this torch and let them burn. Following that up is “Honor Never Dies” a full on mosh dance rager where Jasta exclaims “Sometimes standing for what you believe means standing alone”. This is part of what I like about Hatebreed. While most bands get nastier as they get heavier, Hatebreed try to keep their message uplifting. Jasta is like a Tony Robbins for the testosterone mosh sect. The irony here is if you do stand against these kids, they usually bash your skull in.

Still, Hatebreed continue their message of overcoming adversity and finding your inner strength. “Own Your World” begins with another positive proclamation. “Who has more heart than you” Jasta asks, “NO ONE” comes the instant response. Riding a riff that has more in common with Megadeth than Agnostic Front, Hatebreed order their faithful brigade to own their own world. “Before The Fight Ends You” is one of the better tracks on the record. The riff straddles the line between Join The Army era Suicidal Tendencies and Beneath The Remains era Sepultura. As aggressive as the song is, “Before The Fight Ends You” is a call to end violence. Jasta screams, “Our dreams fall in the hands we raise”.

Those who accuse Hatebreed records of sounding the same will discover little new ground with The Divinity Of Purpose. Hatebreed has two speeds, either the songs are full on fast or they’re played at mosh-dance halftime. There is little variation from song to song but the intensity and drive help save Hatebreed from falling into parody like so many of their peers. The Divinity Of Purpose isn’t a particularly interesting record mainly because it relies on repetition of aggression to connect with the audience. If you’re not angry in the way Hatebreed speaks to, chances are this album will do nothing for you.

So Hatebreed lovers rejoice, you have another album to add to your collection. You’ll sing along to the choruses, praise Jasta for his lyrical truths and remain a staunch member of the Hatebreed army. For those who have no interest in Hatebreed, The Divinity Of Purpose will not be a game changer. The Hatebreed formula remains well intact here and while it holds no personal interest for me, I know this will set moshcore kids heads’ on fire.