There’s institutions in modern metal and then there’s Hatebreed, the 20+ years strong Connecticut hardcore legends that brought the “creepy crawl” and “pick up change” to the mainstream but have never wavered in their music or message, even as frontman Jamey Jasta waved the flag for everything heavy during the mid-aughts resurrection of MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball.
Hatebreed’s newest record, their seventh, “The Concrete Confessional” dropped a few weeks back and is another solid slab of what Hatebreed do best, blistering thrash riffage, pounding punk percussion and a meaty low end groove anchored by Jasta’s always engrossing do or die, PMA sermons. When I heard that HB would be hitting up Underground Arts soon after, I couldn’t wait to raise the horns, pump my fists and pay respects to one of my first loves in the realm of the almighty breakdown.
Speaking of metal legacies, vocalist Howard Jones is currently building a formidable one of his own, the former Killswitch Engage frontman’s new project Devil You Know making an impressive showing in the opening slot tonight. The band’s melodic metalcore attack exploded from the stage, Jones’ prowess on the stick at the forefront, with a great attitude to match his talent. “Yes, I’m the black dude from Killswitch, and y’all white people are crazy”. Awesome stuff.
Another journeyman metal hero was up next. Dez Fafara’s badass showmanship won us over big time during last summer’s highly publicized Coal Chamber reunion, and he was even deeper into his ass kicking element here with his more hardcore leaning passion project Devildriver. Dez reveled in the spoils of their massive new record “Trust No One”, and fan reception was just as rapturous in the venue as it has been on the charts throughout the band’s rafter shaking set of new and old tracks. “No one does 15 songs faster than we do” quipped Fafara at one point, as he’s a man of his ferociously growled word, each one a scorching runaway train of double bass dominance and buzzsaw riffing, barely leaving fans time to catch their breath before the next kicked into high gear. If interviews are to be believed, Coal Chamber may be done for, though it was of little consequence here. Dez and Devildriver are here to stay, and seem to be having just as much fun as the audience.
The basement at UA became insufferably hot by the time Hatebreed favorite “Destroy Everything” began to bellow from the stage, condensation dripping from the ceiling so much that it looked like it was raining indoors. No matter though, as Jasta himself said “If you’re not leaving here with a swamp ass, then we’re not doing our jobs”. The entire floor became a torrent of sweaty bodies as the band led us through a deafening hero’s journey of their illustrious career, including indelible staples “Proven”, “Smash Your Enemies” and brand new heavy hitter “Staring Down The Barrel Of Today”, sounding just as tight, focused and fierce as ever. Exhausted but still enthralled, the crowd mustered up one last surge of energy at the rallying cry of “Now is the time for me to rise to my feet!” as Hatebreed closed their monstrous set with stone cold hardcore classic “I Will Be Heard”. “We leave it all on the stage, and you leave it all on the dance floor, everybody leaves with a smile on their face”. Words to live by.
Photos by Megan Hawkey, Words by Kevin Hawkey