Monday, April 15, 2002 @ 1:20 PM
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In most cases, a five-year gap between a debut album and its follow-up signals trouble -- typically label or line-up turmoil, or both. And all too often, there is no third album later on as the band never recovers from the delays and dealing with all the bullshit.
Connecticut-based metal-core brutes Hatebreed are one of the rare exceptions to this five-year rule. The band spent much of the time following the 1997 release of Satisfaction Is The Death of Desire touring with just about every band in heavy music -- and slowly gaining momentum and new fans in both hardcore and metal camps. There was a bit if line-up turmoil along the way, but the band took it in stride and kept hitting the road with Entombed, Motorhead, Earth Crisis, Danzig and others, and playing on the Ozzfest and Tattoo The Earth tours.
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The effort paid off handsomely. Not only did Hatebreed score a big label deal, a rarity indeed in hardcore circles, the long-awaited second album, Perseverance, debuted in the Billboard Top 50, which is unprecedented. The band’s already been out with Slayer this year and will be on Ozzfest again. The momentum, it would seem, continues.
Perseverance is the perfect crossover album: Lots of brutal riffs, moshable grooves and frantic rhythms for the metal crowd, plenty of stop-start tenacity, gang-chanted chorus lines and Jamey Jasta’s feral vocals and assertive lyrics for the hardcore purists. Put Slayer and Agnostic Front in their respective primes in the ring together and the ensuing brawl might sound something like this.
It’s also refreshingly pure and uncompromising. Hatebreed avoid any sense of pretense here - a testament to their hardcore ethos. Nothing was done to tone anything down for mainstream appeal, and you won’t hear one note of nu metal anywhere. Perseverance is as ferocious and unrelenting an album as you’ll hear outside of extreme metal circles, easily the most brutal album to come out on a big label since the early ‘90s death metal experiments with Napalm Death, Carcass and Morbid Angel.
Jasta’s drill sergeant barking will peel the paint right off the walls, and his authoritative tone and frank messages - which on the title track, “You’re Never Alone” and “I Will Be Heard” serve as rallying cries, while on “A Call for Blood,” “Below The Bottom” and “Unloved” merely vent spleen -- can be downright intimidating. And thanks to the thicker production of Matt Hyde, the vicious, snub-nosed riffing of Sean Martin and Lou Richards packs a lot more punch than it did on Satisfaction.
Perhaps since he’d just worked on God Hates Us All, Hyde also gives some of the guitarwork a Slayer-esque tone -- especially on the opener “Proven” -- which only adds to the intensity. Slayer axe-man Kerry King even lends a hand on “Final Prayer,” playing one of his freaky solos.
Perseverance might not break a whole lot of new musical ground -- how many hardcore albums do? But if all you’re looking for is a good fashioned ass-kicking, Hatebreed is happy to oblige and Perseverance certainly delivers the good.