In a year which has seen a global pandemic, mass protests and rioting, explosions, fires, floods, earthquakes, and even fucking murder hornets, wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about what final cruel tricks 2020 might still have left up its sleeve, and just have something nice and dependable to enjoy?
On Absolute (Rise Records), Kublai Khan ticks off a lot of the boxes I’m looking for in modern Metallic Hardcore or extreme music, but something isn’t quite passing state inspection. They’re blending equal parts Hardcore and Metal fury, have meaty breakdowns, occasional Thrash tempos and happen to be from Texas. I should like this. Or I should like this a bit more. Continue reading →
2200 hours: People are milling about. They are still buzzed after an exhausting Devildriver performance. The last strains of a sound check happens: drums, guitars, bass, vocals. Hey Hey Yup. Yep. Hey A. The floor fills quickly to the sound of Boston“Rock and roll band… everybody’s waitin’ … getting’ crazy anticipating love… and music… Play Play Play….” Christina says, “I haven’t seen them in a long time. It’s the first time in 19 years seeing them. I’m here to have a good time and see a great band.”
Devildriver, by Melina D Photography
2213 hours: The lights go out and the crowd erupts into chants of “Hatebreed! Hatebreed! Hatebreed!” Eerie creepy kid horror music is piped in. “Arizona! Are you ready?” Why yes, Jamey. We are indeed ready! “I’ve been a Hatebreed fan since ’99 when I was in the ARMY. It’s his (points to 7 year old son) first show.”, says Tony. Tony’s son says Hatebreed are “Awesome.”Jamey Jasta hits the stage looking more like Mike Muir. “Destroy everything!” he commands as a pit, a tad smaller and milder than Devildriver’s breaks out. To wit, I think the crowd is a bit tired. They are densely packed yet hardly moving. There are, however, lots of cell phones in the air.
Hatebreed, by Melina D Photography
Jamey reminds his erstwhile captives that the new album The Concrete Confessional(Nuclear Blast) is the #2 rock record and #13 on Billboard charts. Hatebreed then launch into ‘Looking Down the Barrel of Today’. Live, the song has a wicked funk sound and the pocket is strong with Chris Beattie and Matt Byrne. “The party is only just begun!” Jamey tells us. Finally, the pit has grown. The crowd was a slow burn. They fed off the intensity of the band. Multiple crowd surfers rise above the masses. It’s now a packed house on a Monday night. I was told by a Marquee employee that a good 2500 were in attendance. ‘A.D’ causes a proper circle pit to erupt. Live, ‘A.D’ is a psychotically intense old school thrash song. But, alas, a majority of the crowd stood about like deer in headlights. “They know what they do and they do it will. They stick to it.”, says Patrick. Some are bobbing their heads while others just have this glassy look to their face. I guess I’m just a rabid Hatebreed supporter. Such a laid back attitude towards live music is an anathema to me.
Hatebreed, by Melina D Photography
“Everyone of us are in it together. Everyone leaves with a smile on their face. Everyone leaves with no voice left from a Hatebreed set.” –Jamey Jasta
Hatebreed are killing it on stage. There is elegant beauty in their brutality. It’s been 3.5 years since they played in Tempe. Live they exhibit a tribal feel. Matt’s drumming is deep and mesmerizing. The light show makes me feel like I’m being inducted into the cult of Hatebreed. There are eight discharge lamp/beam/wash moving head fixtures on stage. They shine and flash to the audience; a code of induction. They illuminate the band from behind making them seem larger than life. I drank the Hatebreed kool-aid a long time ago. But tonight I grabbed the chalice and drank deeply again. “I take this vow of hatred, never to be broken.”
“There is no family drama. There’s no death. There’s no suicide. There’s no poverty.” – Jamey Jasta.
“People hear the music and they think we’re crazy. This is music. It’s transformative. It helps people.” – Jamey Jasta.
Hatebreed’s The Concrete Confessional (Nuclear Blast) starts out at a frenetic pace. It’s harsh and in your face. It’s totally what you’ve come to expect from them. With twenty years and eight albums under their belts, Hatebreed still brings the thunder.
The Concrete Confessional starts out with the song ‘AD’. It totally sets the tone for the carnage to come. Jamey Jasta takes control of the music and propels the listener down the rabbit hole. Frank Novinec and Wayne Lozinak create a wall of sound with their guitars that will melt your face. Chris Beattie and Matt Byrne are totally in the pocket as the rhythm section. ‘Seven Enemies’ starts out by saying “Today is not the day.” Hatebreed drops such truth bombs on The Concrete Confessional. They take all the anger and frustration we have living in 2016 and give a voice to it. Jamey Jasta eloquently says what we all want to say on a day-to-day basis. It’s a feather in the cap of Hatebreed that after two decades they are still angry and have the ability to tap into and translate the anger of their fan base.
The lyrics on ‘Something’s Off’ are timely. “Sometimes I wish I could just shut it off.” “Silent voices stabbing at peace…” “Making something meaningless seem significant….” You listen to the album and go YES! YES, THAT’S IT!! SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS!!! I give a huge thank you to Jamey and Hatebreed for writing such a poignant and topical album.
Hatebreed pack so much into the thirteen tracks on The Concrete Confessional. The longest track is 3:50. They are economical in speech and composition. Nothing is wasted. The Concrete Confessional is concise, direct, and raw.
Battlecross has made inroads in recent years with their hard work ethics and promoting their brand of Blue Collar Thrash Metal onto the music world. With the release of their latest album Rise To Power, they have shown how overcoming the rigors of the road alongside writing material that shows a gradual evolution of the band’s sound over the years.
During their last album cycle for War of Will, they learned quickly about the realities of touring and getting financial support behind it. They became one of the many artists tackling crowdfunding to get out on the 2013Rockstar Mayhem Festival Tour and the realities surrounding it.
On the new album, the band has set new goals so they can take the next step up. “The goal for this one is to buy groceries. That is the goal for this one,” said frontman Kyle “Gumby” Gunther.
“We’re not doing that [crowdfunding] any more. We did that when we had to do that. It sucks that bands had to do that. It sucks that bands do that just to do it. We did it because we had to do it. We wouldn’t have been able to do Mayhem [without it].”
“Crowdfunding is great if you do it for a reason but if you do it to do it, I think you’re an asshole. On this album, we’re just trying to cement Battlecross. It’s album three. This is the one that should be taken well and everyone should be like ‘alright they didn’t go pussy and they’re bringing thrash,’ “ he added.
Tony Asta of Battlecross.
Gunther gave business tips for all aspiring musicians who are either in similar situations or simply looking to get their bands going.
“We are a one out of a million – I’ll say that. We had to pay out pocket for a lot of shit. If Hiran [Deraniyagala] didn’t have perfect credit and a college degree, the goal to put up all of his assets up for Battlecross to make it, you’re not going to make it. Go to college, get a real job and then hopefully one day you won’t kill yourself.”
“It’s not easy. You’ve got to do because you love it. Period. You’re not going to make any money off of it. It’s going to be trying on you and your family and all of your relationships. If it’s who you are, you’re going to be fine.”
“So all of these people who’re like ‘oh I’m gonna make it! I’m gonna have girls suck my dick and make so much money and travel all over the world. It’s going to be awesome!’ Oh well…half of that’s true.”
“I don’t want to sound like I’m being a killjoy to new bands. I am jaded by the way from the road.”
Hiran Deraniyagala of Battlecross. Photo Credit: Meg Loyal Photography
Despite the hiccups along the way, Gunther has received some praise from other musicians, especially when it came to finding tours.
“It’s also really cool when Matt [Byrne] from Hatebreed was like ‘hey we’re gonna hook you guys up for a tour…but you already have a tour! You’re always touring.’ So that’s actually a really big compliment for me from the Hatebreed dudes.”