A review of Hatebreed's new album, 'The Divinity of Purpose,' can easily be summed up by the following statement: if you like this band and its catalog, you will most assuredly like this too. The new studio album, the Connecticut quintet's sixth (not counting their 2009 covers album, 'For the Lions'), contains all the ingredients that Hatebreed has been cooking with their entire career: the heavier-than-the-earth's-core hybrid of thrash metal and hardcore, Jamey Jasta's Anselmo-ish loud and urgent vocal delivery, the "gang choir" background vocals, and their signature motivational lyrical style.
More often than not, metal usually follows this formula: the heavier the music, the more negative the lyrics. Hatebreed, however, is not afraid to be a rebel and an exception to that rule. Their songs frequently deal with inspirational themes such as finding your inner strength, overcoming adversity, and crushing whatever obstacles are placed in front of you. If a song like the opening track, "Put It to the Torch," doesn't get you pumped up to face the day, you're probably deaf or dead. "Own Your World" asks the following: "Who's got more heart than you?" and immediately provides the answer: "NO ONE!!!" It's extremely refreshing to see a band this heavy instill pride, not melancholy, in its fanbase. Backed up by music this intense, the songs' messages are that much more powerful.
Jasta may not be Neil Peart when it comes to writing lyrics; "Honor Never Dies" opens with a somewhat generic "Sometimes, standing for what you believe, means standing alone!" and "Nothing Scars Me" is a bit of a weak track with the "Nothing! Scars Me!" chorus repeated ad infinitum. Musically, each track on the album kind of sounds a bit like the track before and after it, yet still possesses its own identity and character. Fortunately, the passion and heart put into every note and syllable of the new album more than compensates for any perceived shortcomings. Unfortunately, however, criticisms that all Hatebreed albums sound exactly the same won't be dispelled by 'The Divinity of Purpose.'
Hatebreed didn't exactly take a giant leap forward with 'The Divinity of Purpose, ' but they didn't step too far back either and ignore the growth they've experienced over the last few years. Clocking in at a very brief 38 minutes, the album never wears out its welcome. How 'The Divinity of Purpose' ultimately factors into Hatebreed's legacy probably won't be known for years, but for sure it's an album the band and its fans can be proud of and, of course, play loud. In a press release promoting the new album, Jasta described it as "all pit, no sh*t," and that's as fitting a depiction as any.