Crowd reaction and participation have always been hallmarks of the hardcore and thrash genres. It's probably the ultimate goal of any music to entertain, to illicit some kind of response from the listener. But within these enclaves -- especially hardcore -- the musicians can become mouthpieces for the mob, their songs vessels for carrying a collective meaning. While that conduit's energy has been sapped somewhat by shifting allegiances and new influences both in and outside of loud rock, it's remained one of Hatebreed's guiding principles. This has never been more apparent than with Rise of Brutality, the quartet's rapid-fire follow-up to 2002's Perseverance. There are no nods to melodic sensibility here, no cloying string sections or "Let me hear you say" hip-hop flourishes. No, shouter Jamey Jasta and his band have turned in 32 minutes of hard, visceral music that knocks the chip off your shoulder so that it might scream louder in your ear. Songs seem specially designed to incite the crowd -- the choruses of "Tear It Down" and "This Is Now" establish a call and response. Lyrics begin with actionable words, and end with emphatic periods. "Strength, to deny you," Jasta chants over the manic, death metal-ish "Confide in No One." "Trust, in my instincts/Breath, when I'm drowning/Life, when I must rise again." Musically, Rise of Brutality is just as economic. The inclusionary anthem "Live for This" is reduced to the threatening rumble of Sean Martin's guitar and a few well-placed Matt Byrne drum fills, the better for kids to recognize and revel in Jasta's blood, sweat, and sheer honesty. "Another Day, Another Vendetta" is dedicated to and draws directly from Sick of It All; it's classicist N.Y.C. hardcore with a message applicable to Hatebreed's singular reason for being -- "Stay close to what is true to you." Metal, thrash, and hardcore continue to be maligned by outside forces or the quest for accessibility. In defiant response, Hatebreed get respect the old-fashioned way. They earn it.
The Rise of Brutality Review
by Johnny Loftus