Hatebreed - Supremacy - Roadrunner Records  2006
13 Songs
Running Time: 36:28 

Simply put, "Defeatist" is the most original Hatebreed tune in years, being chock-full of memorable, hurtling hardcore sans scene-sucking posturing. Sure, the positive message and gang vocals are there, but not in the prisoncore style of Biohazard or Sick Of It All. Really, as I'm admittedly not what one would call a Hatebreed fan by any stretch, this was an extremely good first impression, which only became more positive as the disc spun on. Jamey's still as monotone as ever in "Horrors Of Self", but the second guitar of Frank 3 Gun has lent some serious weight to the Hatebreed machine, and takes the band on a slightly more metal-oriented path, strangely enough. "To The Threshold" makes a return appearance here, from its initial presentation on the Headbangers Ball 2: The Revenge compilation, all chug and kung fu pit ready. Jasta's work with Kirk Windstein of Crowbar in the Kingdom Of Sorrow project has no doubt let a bit of NOLA creep into his delivery here, tossing a little Anselmo into the fray, and getting points for letting this sludge/doom association be known in the all-too-insular hardcore circle. One noticeable thing about Supremacy is that, by and large, the songs are refreshingly devoid of the standard fast part/mosh part/breakdown/fast ending formula, the metal fans in the band coming to the forefront now and again, explaining the Bathory t-shirts we occasionally see the band sporting in substance if not in style. Not that everything is perfect, however. Although containing a nice riff and all, "Destroy Everything" sounds like the band took a chorus and wrote a song around it, letting the verses fall by the wayside creatively. Thankfully, the hanging, sustained chords of "Divine Judgement" do a good job of returning Hatebreed to their newfound diversity, making way for the horns-in-the-air-worthy "Immortal Enemies", which proves that these guys can be infectious as Hell when they want to be. Rumbling, impressive basswork is the foundation of "The Most Truth", while "Never Let It Die" comes across as nothing Hatebreed hasn't done for an entire album's length before, and "Spitting Venom" revels in the NYHC sounds of Killing Time or early Cro-Mags to great effect. Acting as both finale and sort of title track, "Supremacy Of Self" is sure to be picked up by the more Aryan strain of hardcore fans. Knowing this, it's surprisingly easy to give Hatebreed credit for knowing the   eventual outcome, but still not buckling in order to deliver their true message of acceptance, courage,   and triumph over struggle.

Never ones to back down in the face of critical derision, search for mass appeal, or settle for doing a half-ass job at their profession, Hatebreed have delivered an album that leaves behind some past mistakes, and stacks up against any of their best quite easily. Talk about perserverance. 

www.hatebreed.com


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