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Hatebreed “For The Lions”

Hatebreed - For The LionsWhen I was given the new Hatebreed album For The Lions to review, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I must admit: I was a very big fan of Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire-era Hatebreed, but I kind of fell off the wagon shortly afterwards.  Now, I have always held a certain amount of respect for the group, but I haven’t been able to stand behind their last few releases and give the assenting “Fuck yes!” that I would have in the beginning.  As always, I wanted to go into this review with an open mind, but a part of me lived in fear and anticipation of what horrible things I might have to say publicly about a band that I once admired.

Needless to say, I was shocked to learn that this was a cover album in its entirety, in the vein of Between The Buried And Me’s The Anatomy Of…  Not only that, but it’s chock full of ass kicking old-school jams, ranging from punk to hardcore to straight-up death metal.  This has its advantages too, as Jamey uses a wider range of vocals than he normally does.  In all honesty, his cleaner singing’s not the best on the block, but it’s gritty and it gets the job done.  The cover job on the songs is pretty good, as Hatebreed manages to stay true to the original, and at the same time, make the songs sound like their own.

The songs themselves are pretty awesome for the most part, and any self-respecting metal head should agree.  For instance, it was nice to hear Merauder’s “Life Is Pain” this decade, as Master Killer has been collecting dust on my shelf for some time.  Hearing it on For The Lions was enough for me to bust it out of retirement.  A lot of other awesome metal songs made it onto the record as well, such as “I’m In Pain” by Obituary, “Refuse/Resist” by Sepultura, “Ghosts Of War” by Slayer, and “Escape” by Metallica.  Now, I’m not about to say that the Hatebreed renditions of these songs rival the originals, but it was definitely a fun ride down memory lane.

On the other side of the spectrum, there’s an amazing cover of “Evil Minds” by D.R.I., as well as the timeless “Set It Off” by Madball.  “Your Mistake” by Agnostic Front also makes an appearance, also very well done.  The sludgy “All I Had I Gave” by Crowbar still kicks total and utter ass when it’s played here.  The stand-out track for me, oddly enough, is “Hatebreeders” by The Misfits.  I’m a sucker for Danzig-era Misfits, and part of me has always wondered if this is the song that inspired Hatebreed’s name (I vote for yes, by the way).

One negative aspect that stood out for me was the quality of the recording.  The sound on For The Lions is honestly not that great, especially considering that it’s coming from Hatebreed, but to be fair, this might also have to do with the fact that none of the original songs had amazing studio production jobs themselves.  Also, as much as I enjoyed that trip down memory lane, you can only give a band so much credit for a cover album.  It’s not really anything new, and the only thing that saves it is the fact that it oozes coolness.  In closing, I can definitely say that this album will appeal to two types of people: Hatebreed fans, and old-school rockers. Other people probably won’t really get into it.  At any rate, it’s worth checking out.

Track Listing:
01.  Ghosts Of War
02.  It’s The Limit
03.  Suicidal Maniac
04.  Refuse/Resist
05.  Escape
06.  Supertouch/Shitfit
07.  Hatebreeders
08.  Evil Minds
09.  Set It Off
10.  Shut Me Out
11.  Thirst And Miserable
12.  Sick Of Talk
13.  All I Had I Gave
14.  Life Is Pain
15.  Your Mistake
16.  Hear Me
17.  I’m In Pain
18.  Boxed In

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