The Divinity of Purpose
28 January 2013
by David Keevill
It’s a question as old as Gandalf’s liver-spotted inner thigh, but one worth asking again; do Jamie Jasta and co. breed hate or are they themselves bred from the stuff? Either way you look at it, with the arrival of this, their seventh studio album and the advent of yet another record that you’d entirely expect from the fivepiece, you’re set to thinking; how many liberties can one band take with a name? More importantly, do we care enough to find out if The Divinity of Purpose can answer this question for us? Of course we do (but probably shouldn’t).
In the first instance, Hatebreed have continued to peddle their distinctive brand of metallic hardcore across six albums (The Divinity of Purpose being their seventh), all the while preaching a remarkably upbeat yet cringingly empowering aesthetic to their lyrics that has set them aside from their contemporaries. Their music might be all defiance, constantly smashing their Daz-white hi-tops to the face of cuntdom, but there is no rotten malignance here. Jamey Jasta, as distinctively vocalled as ever, still waxes lyrical about ever flavour of sedition he can get his hands on; “Sometimes standing for what believe means standing alone” comes spurting out of ‘Honor Never Dies’, whilst the title track commends an unnamed individual for sticking by Jasta through thick and thin. It’s Quatro Fromaggio levels of uncomfortable, but has become so inherently part of Hatebreed’s modus operandi that it’s difficult not to crack a smile at the endless streams of positivity and Jasta’s steel-toed optimism.
And given that hate-preaching ain’t their thing, what of the other option? But come 2013, is there any kernel of this valuable miasma left in this bands’ writing? Their sound has rarely deviated from a well-trodden and recycled sound since 2006’s commended Supremacy, which even then was starting to feel worn as they moved towards a much more balanced middle ground between hardcore and metal. You might argue that songs like ‘Own Your World’ and ‘Before The Fight Ends You’ resurrect the crushing, anthemic qualities of ‘Destroy Everything’, but in truth they are well-oiled breakdown machines that come prepped for the ‘breed’s next touring cycle. It’s cynical, but no moreso than Hatebreed’s oh-so faithful attachment to a sound that resembles the musical equivalent of a template in a word doc.
Watch the video to ‘Put It To The Torch’ by Hatebreed:
Despite all this, The Divinity of Purpose is a tight affirmation of everything Hatebreed and their loyal following have come to know; there is nothing here that’s particularly worth returning to, and it’s not as full of charismatic party “bangers” as certain sections of the press will tell you in their attempt to justify Hatebreed’s continued prominence, but neither is there anything that will cause mass stasis when they descend on Hammerfest in March. The most difficult thing to acknowledge about this album is that even if their convictions are as strong as Jamey Jasta would want you to believe, with every repetitive album release, Hatebreed are pushing the listener closer to the belief that they are indeed all bark, and not a lot else.
Sounds Like: Exactly what you’d expect
Standout Track: Own Your World