HATEBREED – Hardcore Lifers Get Confessional
May 17, 2016, 2 years ago
Certainly, most readers are at this point aware of what Connecticut’s Hatebreed have in store with any new album: huge hardcore grooves, Slayer-lovin’ thrash riffs, and tons of inspirational lyrics from frontman Jamey Jasta. The band’s seventh album, The Concrete Confessional, delivers on all counts. Plus, it’s got a little bit extra.
“I feel good about it,” says Jasta about the album. “I took a listen yesterday on the way to a video shoot and there were some nice surprises in there that I forgot about. Like, later on in the record, ‘Walking The Knife’ and ‘The Apex Within’, I had totally forgot about those songs, then I heard them and was like, ‘Oh, that’s kinda cool.’ They’re kinda different from the usual fare that we write.”
Granted, this is no Risk or, uh, Super Collider; this is Hatebreed, and Jasta is well aware that the band can experiment, but not too much. Apart from the above examples, he points to a song like “From Grace We’ve Fallen”, one of the album’s best tunes, as an example of this.
“There’s screaming in it, but there’s screaming in key, where it rides the chorus differently, and it’s a different type of hook than people are used to hearing with us. Little things like that, where you can chart some new territory but it’s not so different where people are going to roll their eyes. Obviously, if we had a symphony or were doing some sort of rap-rock part, it’d be different.”
Jasta admits that on the band’s last album, 2013’s The Divinity Of Purpose, the guys did have some difficulties with writing songs that were different enough within the confines of the Hatebreed sound. In other words, they ripped themselves off.
“There were areas where we go, oh man, we should have policed ourselves a little bit harder,” says Jasta about that album. “Not many, just one or two parts in one or two songs where we should have just went back to the catalogue and listened a little harder just to make sure. But if anything, if you’re going to copy yourself, that’s better than leaving a riff on there that someone could go, ‘Oh, this is another band’s entirely.’ It’s okay to pay homage; that’s all we’ve ever done since the beginning, you’re just emulating the bands you loved growing up but you don’t want to be an exact copy.”
Jasta says that the name of the album, which sums up Hatebreed perfectly, came from the band trying to find a contrast of concepts relating to heaviness and openness. And they got it with The Concrete Confessional.
“We needed that juxtaposition of, what’s something that’s heavy and solid and hard in contrast with something that’s an admission, that’s honest, that comes from a place of wanting to share pain or share a misfortune or a mistake or something that is personal? So the two just seemed to work perfectly,” he says. “There were other titles we threw around but nothing that was fitting enough.”
The album finds Jasta tackling topics both personal and social with his lyrics; opening track “A.D” in particular has a lot to say, the vocalist offering his take on what the American dream means in 2016.
“I tried to cover like 20 topics in one song,” he says about “A.D.” “I feel like the stuff that was really prevalent when I was a kid is almost impossible now. We were told if you work hard, you can have a house with a white picket fence and three kids and a wife and a nice car, a big backyard… Now, it’s like, yeah, you can have the house but you’re going to have to pay some insane mortgage with some insane interest rate, and you’ll be lucky if you can get a mortgage. 90 percent of marriages end in divorce, the kids are hopped up on ADD medication and are seeing therapists, the car is financed… it just seems like the American dream isn’t exactly what it was when I was growing up.”
For Jasta, this line of thought leads to how things are going to be for the next generation, which, as it turns out, make up a lot of Hatebreed’s audience these days. And his thoughts end in questions.
“I do care about the next generation, I do care about the kids that listen to our band,” he says. “What are they going to do? I saw an interview with Dave Mustaine where he said millennials are fucked; I was like, ‘Wow,’ and I really started looking into it, and I was like, yeah, what is the American dream if you’re a millennial kid now?”