I highly doubt that Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta is familiar with this quote uttered by French archbishop François Fénelon in the 17th century; however that hasn’t prevented the hardcore legend from basing his entire approach to life and music upon a similar sentiment. From their outset Hatebreed have been blasting out aggressive anthems calling for hope and unity among the masses, and after a wait of nearly three years, the follow up to The Rise Of Brutality shows no sign of their ideology fading.
Opener Defeatist set the standard dizzyingly high for half an hour of brutal hardcore attack. The band are as sonically crushing as Slayer at their finest, but Jasta swaps his musical heroes’ flirtations with Satanic gimmicks for pure, unrelenting positivism and self-affirmation on a scale not seen since Biohazard were in their prime.
To the faithful already well-acquainted with Hatebreed’s work, Mr Jasta’s insightful and brutally honest lyrics form a central part of the band’s appeal. The themes explored on Supremacy are more intensely personal than the more globally-focused Rise Of Brutality – however the diminutive frontman’s ability to pen an arena-sized chant hasn’t waned in the slightest.
To The Threshold is a truly brilliant example of this, with Jamey barking his message of hope with deafening rage as he takes on the role of godfather to every alienated teen within earshot: “Give me your broken, give me your beaten / I will build them up, I will lead them to the threshold.”
Part of Hatebreed’s success undoubtedly lies in their ability to lace songs of such devastating heaviness with messages that refuse to revel in the anger of today’s obstacles without seeking wholeheartedly for a way through them. Thankfully Jasta has the support of a band who are sonically capable of battering down anything in their way.
Give Wings To My Triumph, for instance, opens with a rare feedback-laden intro that could be Isis in mid-set before Jasta’s guttural tones cut through with venom, as he exorcises his demons and past pain with vigour.
Most Truth opens with some welcome lead riffage, and is picked double-time midway though the verses to keep those two-steppers on their toes, while Never Let It Die will cause carnage across every venue that it is unleashed upon.
In truth, Hatebreed’s music is often predictable, with chugging power chords and the pitter-patter of a bass drum tuned way too high. However, if it’s technical creativity you want, go and buy some more Mastodon – Hatebreed are hardcore’s most successful export and a force to be reckoned with.