Published May 11, 2016Life comes with few guarantees, but among them are death, taxes and killer breakdowns whenever Hatebreed put out an album — and The Concrete Confessional certainly delivers on that.
Unfortunately, that's about the only consistent thing about the band's post-2006 output. Simply put, things just haven't been the same since guitarist Sean Martin left, with 2009's self-titled serving as the band's nadir. Its follow-up, 2013's The Divinity of Purpose, was a step in the right direction, but not without its missteps. It's a path the band maintain on their latest.
Slayer-esque riffs fill this Confessional, while "Seven Enemies" contrasts that with some downtempo beatdown hardcore. As previously mentioned, the breakdowns are the centrepiece — "Looking Down the Barrel of Today," "Us Against Us" and "Walking the Knife" all stand out — but overall, the songs lack momentum and direction, consistently falling victim to something high-octane music never should: it drags. "Something's Off," for example, has an energetic bounce that's dragged down by angsty, spoken nu-metal vocals akin to King 810.
Nothing's going to change the fact that Hatebreed are the biggest hardcore band in the world, but this album doesn't do enough to win back those who got them there. Instead, it focuses too much on appealing to those who keep them there. (Nuclear Blast)