Released: 2006, Roadrunner Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So goes the old adage and Hatebreed has followed it to a tee over the course of four albums. The band’s latest, SUPREMACY, continues in the vein of crossover acts like Corrosion of Conformity, D.R.I. and Suicidal Tendencies, who broke the walls of hardcore down to bring in a metal audience with thrash-based riffs. One criticism of Hatebreed has been the simplicity of its lyrics and while SUPREAMCY still isn’t exactly Shakespeare, things are definitely getting better. The clichéd hardcore lyrics are still present but frontman Jamey Jasta went through some serious personal issues since 2003’s THE RISE OF BRUTALITY that are reflected in his music. Jasta still possesses one of the most ferocious and commanding barks in the genre and while it is one-dimensional, the passion is undeniable. Adding ex-Madball guitarist Frank “3 Gun” Novinec to the lineup has turbo-charged Hatebreed, fuelling all the brutality and aggression necessary to take the band further towards SUPREMACY.
The thick, meaty production of Zeuss (Shadows Fall, God Forbid) is flawless from start to finish. One can almost feel Jasta’s breath as he bellows like a drill sergeant, while Matt Byrne and Chris Beattie hammer ribcages and Novinec and Sean Martin’s cutting riffs decimate everything in their path. This is a modern, in-your-face production and a damn fine one at that. Tracks like “Defeatist,” “To The Threshold,” “Spitting Venom” and “Immortal Enemies” are moshpit-ready stomps that resonate with enough metallic Pantera influence and hardcore breakdowns to get everyone busy. Even though Hatebreed’s metal influences are clearly thrash bands like Slayer and the modern aggression of Pantera, they have spawned their own following, most notably Throwdown, whose sound has undoubtedly been shaped by tracks like “Supremacy of Self” that advocate hardcore ideals with metallic crunch. Where SUPREMACY falters is in the meatheaded lyrics of songs like “Destroy Everything” and “As Diehard As They Come,” which amount to brainless fodder for the knuckle-dragging contingent of Hatebreed’s fanbase. This contingent of the scene will always puzzle me but it will always be there.
Hatebreed will always have its detractors and critics but no one can deny the fact that Jamey Jasta has helped keep metal alive and well. With four vicious slices of metallic hardcore under their collective belt, Hatebreed’s appeal is unparalleled and SUPREMACY is just another notch in the bedpost of crossover triumph. If you liked Hatebreed before, you’ll like SUPREMACY since it is virtually the same as THE RISE OF BRUTALITY and PERSEVERANCE. Hatebreed knows what its fans want and always delivers.
KILLER KUTS: “Defeatist,” “To The Threshold,” “Give Wings To My Triumph,” “Divine Judgment,” “Immortal Enemies,” “Spitting Venom,” “Supremacy of Self”