The Bitter Truth
Because of its inherent simplicity, hardcore is a genre that can be done into the ground if bands are not careful. Hatebreed’s newest release, The Divinity of Purpose, is an example of just what happens when a band has been around too long, has released the same material too many times, and has lost sight of what its listeners may be looking for. It’s an awkward mix of meathead hardcore, blastbeat filled metalcore, and out of place sounding clean vocals mixed together with the screaming. This album not only fails to bring these different sub-genres together, it also makes it unbearable for those who are a fan of only one style.
It isn’t just the instrumentality that lacks any originality at all. Hatebreed’s lyrical content has also failed to mature even a bit in the nearly 20 years they’ve been together. Songs like “Honor Never Dies” sound like any one of a million tough guy hardcore songs that have been released in the past year, and you could find hundreds that would be considerably heavier and more creative. The addition of clean vocals on top of the screaming, as heard in the song “Indivisible” and a few others, feel completely disjointed from the manufactured aggression of the rest of the album and seems more like a grab for fans than a legitimate musical decision. In the end, most of these songs sound the same, blending into one another in a way that would only work in a rock opera, which was definitely not the intention.
There are so many hardcore bands today putting out interesting and different takes on the sound that there is no need for yet another gang-vocal and breakdown-filled record to take up space. It’s not 2004 anymore, and fans are expecting a little something special with their hardcore for it to be relevant. As they’ve done time and time again, Hatebreed has missed the mark. The new year is an exciting time for punk and hardcore, and one can only hope that there will be more innovative releases in the future.