Sound — 8
Unfortunately, Hatebreed is probably more popular for their erroneous inclusion in an article by CNN in 2012 that listed them as a "white power" band than for their music. CNN did correct their article by removing Hatebreed's name, but the damage had mostly already been done. For the record, Hatebreed is not a "white power" band and they have stated they do not hold any racist opinions. This is their sixth studio album, their fifth album of original material, and contains 12 tracks. The run-time of the album is just under 39 minutes. This is a very strong release, and possibly the best that will come out in 2013 for the metalcore genre (even though I have heard some arguments that Hatebreed barely qualifies as metalcore by today's standards). Hatebreed formed in 1994 and immediately recorded a 3 track demo. Within 3 years they had released their first full length album. Since then Hatebreed has remained active, but they have never been an "album a year" type of band. It was 5 years between their first and second album. Between their last album and this one there were 4 years. They have, however, stayed very active touring almost nonstop.
On "The Purpose Of Divinity" they've found a great balance of production and raw aggression. Their overall sound remains very "in your face", but also sounds very tight. They do use a good deal of compression on the guitar tones but not so much that it makes their guitar sound like the 'generic distorted guitar' tone in a lot of metal releases that have come out the past couple of years. The drums and bass are pummeling throughout without tripping over each other. If I was speaking with complete candor the bass tones sound a whole lot like David Ellefson's, but I'm also not that much of a bass player so maybe I'm speaking out of turn. The guitar riffs are interesting without being overly-cerebral, which is exactly right for this album.
Lyrics — 7
All of the lyrics were written by vocalist/frontman and founding member Jamey Jasta. I really like Jamey Jasta in the realm of hardcore/metalcore vocalists because his voice is super aggressive but you don't necessarily have to look the lyrics up online to understand what he's saying. Considering that he has been doing this for almost 20 years, and knowing that this type of vocal is really rough on your natural equipment, he puts in a really commendable performance on the album. His performance was pretty solid from beginning to end on the album.
The lyrics from "The Divinity Of Purpose" do get into the realm of being a little cheesy from time to time, but I don't hear many bands anywhere in the metal genres where their lyrics don't get a little cheesy occasionally. I do like that Hatebreed is saying something with their lyrics even if the message isn't complex. As a sample of their lyrics, here are some of the lyrics from their song "Honor Never Dies": "Sometimes standing for what you believe/ Means standing alone/ Sometimes standing for what you believe/ Means standing alone/ When the limelight grows dim/ And our heroes fade away/ Some men still fight silent battles until their final days/ Some will be forgotten having no one know their names/ But I stand here grateful for the courage that they gave/ I am just a son/ A brother, a father and a friend/ No more, not any less/ I am just another man still fighting/ But I wouldnt be here if I wasnt taught that/ Honor never dies/ When your heart is questioned/ There are hearts with hope still beating/ Waiting for footsteps that might not come/ Born with nothing just a weight to carry through life/ And the journey they are on."
Overall Impression — 8
What I like about Hatebreed is while they were originally one of the first metalcore bands they have maintained their own individual sound. There is something about their music that somehow makes them sound more aggressive and raw than a lot of their modern day contemporaries. This album is about getting you pumped up and I can definitely see this being used for motivation while weight training or whatnot. My favorite song would probably be "Honor Never Dies", though I do like about 90% of the album. My least favorite song on the album is definitely "Idolized And Vilified", but I can't explain why I don't like the song and I especially don't like it book-ending the album. At the end of the day, I feel like this was a worthwhile purchase and I can really dig what Hatebreed is doing. While I have never seen them live, I can only imagine that their shows are insane.