Hatebreed are one of the most consistently excellent live bands around. They always have been and probably always will be so we headed down to the first properly sweaty gig of the year to see Jamey Jasta growling his way through some hardcore anthems.
Pre-gig meal: Chilango. Grilled chicken burrito with black beans, hot and mild salsa, lettuce. No cheese or sour cream, please.
6 things we learnt watching Hatebreed again…
1) Hatebreed are the Oasis of hardcore. While they peaked with The Rise of Brutality and Supremancy, this year’s release The Divinity of Purpose is average at best. It’s a by-the-numbers effort that adds little, if anything, to their excellent array of greatest hits. It definitely doesn’t add a wild variation in musical style but it’s still… Hatebreed and curiously listenable. The fact of the matter is they inhabit a Hatebreed-shaped niche in the hardcore world and, thankfully, there is no way out of it. Get drunk; sing along. This band will go down in history as the go-to name for hardcore.
2) Yes, sing along. Jamey Jasta not only writes the best (most ridiculously overblown) hardcore lyrics in the world but he’s also the best (most ridiculously overblown) frontman in the world as well. It’s one thing having a line like, “Destroy Everything! [pause] Decimate what threatens me!” But being able to growl it through gritted teeth at exactly the right moment, with exactly the right moment’s pause beforehand as an indicator to the crowd to join in? That’s a genre-beating skill.
3) Are Hatebreed the next band where you can wear their t-shirt to their gigs? It’s almost expected for Iron Maiden and Motorhead fans to wear their shirts to their gigs and there is only one t-shirt design left on the merchandise stall here. It’s the London gig – surely one of the biggest places for a band to sell merch – and they’ve underestimated their fans’ willing to wear Hatebreed across their chest as a badge of honour. Hatebreed fans should start wearing their Hatebreed t-shirts to Hatebreed gigs. Definitely.
4) Maybe if they people wore the merch they wouldn’t have to bring a backpack to the gig. It’s not completely sold out tonight but it’s busy enough for it to be annoying when a guy burrowing his way through the crowd to the front is also wearing a backpack. It’s even more annoying when it happens over and over again. What do these people carry around with them that won’t fit in their pockets?
5) They dedicate one song to Slayer and Jeff Hanneman but really they should just dedicate their career to them. I’m only half joking…
6) With an appearance at Bloodstock Festival last summer and at Hevy Festival this summer, Hatebreed are the ultimate straddlers of metal and hardcore. In the minds of everyone here, their balance is absolutely perfect but that balance also means they don’t focus quite enough on either group of (clearly needy) fans to be fully embraced by one or the either. The Hatebreed fan is a unique beast.