Hatebreed For the Lions

Hatebreed need no introduction, being essentially the Beastie Boys of metalcore: always reliable, and your grandma probably knows who they are. However, For the Lions is, somewhat ironically, their first release to feature a level of diversity comparable to the Beasties and funnily enough, it's a covers album. Featuring interpretations of a wide range of metal and hardcore acts that have influenced the group over the years, the record is pretty entertaining throughout, although its replay value is somewhat limited for those unfamiliar with the artists covered or not huge on Hatebreed to begin with. There are very few surprises here — core mainstays such as Bad Brains, Merauder and Negative Approach are paid effective tribute, while the metal tracks are a little more all over the map. Most notably, they manage to improve upon Metallica's "Escape," arguably the weakest track on Ride the Lightning. The most triumphant success, however, is Jamey Jasta's vocals; he displays more range over the course of this release than he has throughout Hatebreed's entire catalogue. Obviously a must-purchase for fans, it's even worth a look for the merely curious. (E1)