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Hatebreed Supremacy

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Wednesday, October 18, 2006 @ 8:42 AM


On Roadrunner Records

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The only time one generally finds an explanation about the motives and purpose of an album or its songs included with said album is with some high-falutin conceptual work, like Iced Earth’s The Glorious Burden or Celtic Frost’s latest Monotheist. But a hardcore album? Does a song like “Destroy Everything” or “Never Let It Die” really demand much additional explanation or historical reference point?

Obviously Hatebreed frontman, and Headbangers Ball host, Jamey Jasta thinks so, and wants to make sure everyone knows exactly what’s up with Supremacy, the Connecticut quintet’s fourth release. Not only does Supremacy’s CD booklet feature a four-page open letter/confessional from Jasta detailing the events that led up to — and the mindset that went into — the album, just about every song comes with a synopsis outlining what it’s all about, what inspired it or why it was written.

Bottom line, all was not well in Jasta land — despite the band’s considerable success as a whole and Jasta’s in particular with his side gig on MTV2, his own record label, clothing company, etc. The usual combo plate of drugs, alcohol, depression, etc., arrived and eventually formed the basis for what would become Supremacy as Jasta struggled to overcome.

The album, he notes, “is not about how many times you fall, it’s about how many times you pick yourself back up and push forward.” So there you have it. Enough said. All the time and effort spent trying to explain everything is really just pointless overkill after that, especially since, again, the basic message rings through all too clearly on the album itself through the bludgeoning combination of Jasta’s attack dog voice, pointed — and often redundant — lyrics on the likes “Spitting Venom” and “Supremacy of Self” and the band’s vicious performance.

“Here I am, telling my pain, bearing (sic) my soul to the world/Here I am, venting on this page, flawed and insecure no more,” Jasta bellows on “Give Wings To My Triumph” as his cohorts pound away. Supremacy’s 12 other tracks offer much the same, with only slight variations in tone, texture and tempo. It’s like Fight Club, ‘roid rage, Oprah and a hardcore matinee at the old CBGB all rolled into one bombastic, cathartic package.

Hatebreed’s hard-as-nails musical approach does provide a refreshing break the all the scream-and-sing-and-put-the-strategic-breakdown-part-right-here metal-core tediousness that seems to make up 75 percent of the Headbangers Ball playlist. The band’s simple, mean-ass riffs and gut-punch delivery leave no room for flowery asides or any trace of softness and their efficiency and sheer tenacity make a rather potent statement.

But Jasta’s overbearing presence makes what could have been a triumphant effort seem depressing and joyless. By continuing to force the issue and jam the message down everyone’s throat, by the time Supremacy’s done you just wish he’d shut the hell up.

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