By Rob Crosbie
It’s usually not a good sign when a modern metal band releases an album of covers. I mean why not take the time to write a new album? Thoughts like “cash grab” or “lack of ideas” start flickering into my mind. Sometimes it is a genuine offer of respect and appreciation for the music that has influenced a band. I think that was the intent with this project. For The Lions slams out 18 tracks of covers that Hatebreed consider influential to their form of music. There are some obvious hardcore selections that won’t come as a surprise to most. Bands like Sick Of It All, Madball, Black Flag, Agnostic Front and Cro Mags are staples of the scene . It’s some of the left field choices that really
make this album interesting. Metallica’s “Escape” was a real surprise and very well done. Slayer’s “Ghost Of War”, Sepultura’s “Refuse Resist”and Obituary’s “I am In Pain” are more unexpected choices that are pulled off competently on all fronts. Jasta often attempts to mold his voice to whatever singer he is emulating. The production is crisp, solid and drags a few old, dusty, underground classics into the digital future. Perhaps my only critique on this album would be the lack of chances they took on these songs. All 18 are played identical to the originals with no experimentation attempted within the song arrangements. I suspect this album is going to be pretty limiting in appeal. Consider it essential for the die hard fans only.