I wasn’t always a Hatebreed fan. That this was my fifth time seeing them is something I can’t entirely wrap my head around. I’d dismissed them for roughly a dozen years until I caught them headlining the second stage at Ozzfest 2007, the festive, upbeat vibe and unbelievable camaraderie forever made an impression on me. One doesn’t discuss technicality when Hatebreed comes to mind, and this Mr. Smalls stand was no exception. Hatebreed are for everyone. They get enough flak for being “bro metal” for the basic juicehead set rather than being innovators of that contentious sub-genre known as Metalcore, but just a few minutes into their set, I forgot about all that. Celebrating the albums Satisfaction Is The Death of Desire and Perseverance, Hatebreed showed through an hour jam-packed with short, punchy songs, that they possess a rolling, bouncing body of work worthy of appreciation, front-man Jasta being a chanting, jumping motivational speaker who has helped bridged hardcore and metal in a manner that no one ever has. Push harder, try harder, live more fully without fear; such is the Hatebreed maxim. It’s obvious more than ever that this band means something to many metal fans, their spirit unwavering, their detractors irrelevant.
Crowbar was an appropriate band to play underneath Hatebreed considering Kirk Windstein and Jasta’s association through the Kingdom of Sorrow side-project. Like Hatebreed, Crowbar are trailblazers, Windstein and his squadron of swamp trolls splicing hardcore to doom to create what is known as sludge metal. Mastodon are ironic. Crowbar beat it out of them on stage through the sheer power of riffs borne of Iommi and Gorham, casually, without breaking a sweat as if they just completed a hit job, Quartz vs. Corrosion of Conformity axes knocking down trees of woe. Crowbar are granite and iron melded into something unique and durable.
I missed Twitching Tongues and wasn’t too impressed with whatever The Acacia Strain is trying to accomplish these days, but the team-up of two bands who broke new soil twenty years ago was what the evening was ultimately about. ‘Twas a Monday night revival with bodies flying, fists shooting upwards, guitars bludgeoning, friends made, existence reaffirmed the duo of acts intertwining to form a Caduceus symbol of healing, strength, and truth.
The Grym Hessian