Hatebreed/ Converge Live In Birmingham, AL

By Phillip Lawless, Headbanger
Tuesday, April 23, 2002 @ 11:29 PM

Hatebreed At 5 Points South Mu

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Does anyone remember the classic Sylvester Stallone/Dolly Parton team-up flick Rhinestone? In the film, Sly uses a classic line when verbally sparring with another cowboy: "How do you know when Jimmy’s been to your house?" Answer: "The cat’s pregnant, and the toilet hasn’t been flushed."

As I walked into Birmingham’s 5 Points South Music Hall to see Hatebreed with Converge, I was vividly reminded of this line. "How do you know you’re at a modern hardcore show?" Answer: "The are teenagers doing karate and cartwheels in the pit, and the toilets in the men’s room haven’t been flushed." When I arrived, the first thing that threw me for a loop was how early the show started. The ticket said 7:30, and I’d initially heard 6 bands were playing. But, because of the city’s curfew on all-ages shows, two bands were cut. Even so, I showed up at 8:15, and I had missed the first two bands as well as half of Converge’s set.

First, let me say a couple of things about Converge. Converge have been a staple of the modern hardcore scene for a couple of years now. I’d heard them mentioned at shows or in conversation, but I never paid too much attention. Well, I should have.

After reading a lengthy magazine article on the band’s newest album, Jane Doe, I ran out and grabbed a copy. Kids, this ain’t hardcore. Converge is a chaotic brew of classic grind and crust. In fact, their sound definitely pays direct homage to the gurgle-groove of Carcass as well as the slick speed of classic Slayer.

Live, this point was reinforced fully. The drummer kept the chaotic pace, ranging from blast to chug, while the bass and guitar sounds wove into a burning blanket of ear shattering sound. The lead ‘singer’ ran back in forth on the stage shrieking into the mic with the subtlety of a spitting cobra. Caustic, angry and, without a doubt, louder than hell. Trust me, you can’t afford to miss these guys.

After a quick set change, the Connecticut crushers, Hatebreed, appeared on stage as a four piece. According to Jasta, the girthy guitarist (he called him Bulldog or Maddog) sat this leg of the tour out to ‘get his life back together.’ Even minus one guitarist, the band’s sound still rattled ribcages.

The new drummer held down the classic Hatebreed chug-a-chug pace perfectly. The bass literally shook the floor while the guitar crunched harder with every chord. If there’s a heavier band around today, I’ve never heard them. Vocally, Jasta was definitely on. He barked every word in his classic monotone gruff. Honestly, I’m just amazed he can talk at all after almost two hours of throat thrashing every night.

Hatebreed’s set list was probably the show’s biggest surprise. Instead of concentrating on the band’s recently released Perseverance, the set was mostly made up of songs from the classic Satisfaction is the Death of Desire. The band even dusted off early classics like “Smash Your Enemies” (re-recorded for Perseverance) and “Under the Knife.” In between songs, Jasta proudly announced that Perseverance had debuted at #50 on the Billboard chart after selling around 30,000 copies.

Moving from song to song, Hatebreed once again proved worthy of their rising stature in today’s thriving hardcore and metal scenes. Don’t believe the assholes that clump this band in with nu-metal because Jack Osbourne wears their shirts. This is honest and brutal heavy metal.

Setlist (incomplete and not in order):

I Will Be Heard
We Still Fight
Smash Your Enemies
Under the Knife
Burn the Lies
Conceived Through an Act of Violence
Prepare for War
Betrayed by Life
Not One Truth
Mark My Words
Last Breath
Driven by Suffering

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