A mere four months after the release of a covers album, For the Lions, New Haven's Hatebreed offers their first truly new album in three years. This self-titled offering, the band's fifth, is the first outing to feature both new guitarists -- Frank Novinec, who joined in 2006, and newcomer Wayne Lozinak. In addition, drummer Matt Byrne replaced original skin man Rigg Ross, making vocalist Jamey Jasta and bassist Chris Beattie the only two founding members. Despite the new members, the sound is crafted around almost exactly the same formula that has made the band such a sought-after attraction on the metalcore circuit. In the summer of 2009,they shared stages all over the world with Slipknot, Slayer, and Korn, as well as having preferred lineup spots in many music festivals. With this CD, faster, downtuned hardcore is melded to slower, more decidedly doom-laden death metal moments -- check the surprisingly retro but utterly killer instrumental "Undiminished" -- all played with extreme technical flare, stop-and-start cadences and call-and-response choruses. The rest of these 15 tracks range from headbanging anthems such as the opener, "Become the Fuse," to Hatebreed's trademark, bone-cracking heaviness in "Everyone Bleeds Now," and pummeling riff-laden hardcore in "Merciless Tide." As a bonus, there is an edit of "Escape" tacked on at the end of the set.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek