Hatebreed has been a band which I have always enjoyed, but never really thought they lived up to the hype surrounding them. Sure, Jasta is a great vocalist and frontman. I dig the whole eastcoast hardcore scene, mostly my favorite tough-guy gansta-core rockers Merauder. (They have an AMAZING new cd out now called God Is I. It is impossible to find in stores due to record company problems – pick it up here on Amazon.) I have dug out my Hatebreed catalogue when the time seemed right. They just were not a band that I could always listen to. On their self-titled record, this has changed. In recent years, Jasta has been bravely honest about his struggles with depression and feelings of being a hypocrite while he spouts venomous lyrics of hope and overcoming adversity while he secretly felt hopeless and defeated. This served as inspration for side projects Icepick and Kingdom of Sorrow. Now it seems the man from Connecticut has come full circle and is steering his fulltime band into new territory for hardcore. This was alluded to by the stellar cover disc For The Lions. Taking risks such as the cover of Metallica’s early melodic thrash tune Escape made Jasta actually (::GASP::) SING! Blaphemy, you say. Kudos, I say. Back on the last true Hatebreed studio record I reported strains of melody in the guitar passages. Those are expounded on Hatebreed and harken back to such hardcore pioneers as Minor Threat, D.R.I., Bad Brains, and even Fugazi. This is great to hear from a band and frontman who seemed destined to be the filler band to take up the slack behind Sick Of It All, Vision Of Disorder, Merauder, etc… By opening up the sonic structure of what it means to be a Hatebreed record these guys have created what is in my opinion their first true classic. This release will stand apart from the previous discs on its diversity, honesty, and ingenuity. My hat is off to Hatebreed. Welcome to the hardcore elite. Five stars.