Sunday, September 16, 2012

A decade of "Perseverance"

Jamey Jasta in the crowd (Sam McLennan photo)

Jasta (Sam McLennan photo)

Jasta (Sam McLennan photo)

Jasta and Chris Beattie (Sam McLennan photo)

Wayne Lozinak and Franck Novinec (Sam McLennan photo)

Hatebreed’s “Perseverance” is a landmark album, not just for the band, but for heavy music in general. It’s no exaggeration to say it belongs on the shelf next to “Reign in Blood,” “Master of Puppets,” “Rust in Peace,” “New American Gospel,” and the like. In the case of “Perseverance,” Hatebreed brought together metal and hardcore not for the first time in heavy-music history, but in perhaps their finest balance. The band seems to be operating on intuition, maximizing punk’s economy with metal’s brutal sense of melody in a package that is angry, defiant and triumphant all it once. “Perseverance” gives Hatebreed a “Get Out of Jail Card” forever. The band could find God, collaborate with Bieber, film and ad for Romney and still navigate its way back to Ozzfest using “Perseverance” as its compass (or more likely to the New England Metal and Hardcore festival, which Hatbreed pretty much declared from the stage that it was headlining in 2013).

So, yeah, “Perseverance” is a big fucking deal. On Friday, Sept. 14, Hatebreed played “Perseverance” from start to finish at The Palladium in Worcester as part of its “Ten Years of Perseverance Tour.” Whitechapel, All Shall Perish, and homegrown band Shatter the Sky were also on the bill.

The best part about Hatebreed’s romp through “Perseverance” wasn’t that the performance was note perfect (though it pretty much was, right down to the closing outro that sets up subsequent “Rise of Brutality” album) but that it was an emotionally perfect performance. Singer Jamey Jasta seemed no less passionate belting out “I Will Be Heard” or at all removed from the dread “Below The Bottom” or  too age-softened for “Smash Your Enemies.”

The live read-through proved how well “Perseverance” stands the test of time. Guitarists Wayne Lozinak, who was originally in the band but departed before “Perseverance” only to return in 2009, and Frank Novinec, who also came on board post-“Perseverance,” ably plugged into this set, especially Lozinak who burned up the lead Kerry King originally laid down on “Final Prayer.”  Bassist Chris Beattie, who has been in Hatebreed all along with Jasta,  and drummer Matt Byrne, who came in before “Perseverance’ are architects of the militant/tribal chugs and blasts that stirred endless circle pits and ongoing dance floor convulsions. Jasta tossing up devil horns as he rallied circle pits was as fitting an image for the metal-punk fusion as anything else that transpired during the set.

After completing “Perseverance,” Hatebreed did not let up on the urgency of what it had going on. “Everyone Bleeds Now” from Hatebreed’s most recent record showed that the band is writing songs that are still vibrant and menacing; no formula here. It was also good to hear the band reach back to its first album for “Before Dishonor,” when Hatebreed sounded like it was onto something but still raw.
Whitechapel's Phil Bozeman prepared for takeoff (Sam McLennan photo)
Whitechapel's Alex Wade (Sam McLennan photo)

Whitechapel's Gabe Crisp (Sam McLennan photo)
Whitechapel was deadly precise in its technical attack, weaving spaced out interludes into the otherwise brutal assault. At times singer Phil Bozeman was overpowered by what was going on around him. He did cut through for a fierce “Section 8,” one of the band’s new songs and clear sign that it is a force driving tech-death at the moment.

Mike Tiner makes the difference in All Shall Perish (Sam McLennan photo)
Hernan Hermida and Tiner of All Shall Perish (Sam McLennan photo)

All Shall Perish is a groove-driven metal monster. Bassist Mike Tiner is the secret weapon giving All Shall Perish a means of busting away from the underground metal pack. A set-ending “Wage Slaves’ shot out like grimy anthem.
Shatter the Sky's Brendan Coughlin on guitar and Alex Fopiano on bass Sam McLennan photo)
Jonh DeCoster makes his point during Shatter the Sky's set (Sam McLennan photo)

Shatter the Sky hopped on this show after Deez Nuts canceled, and this troupe from Weymouth made the most of the opportunity. Influenced by metalcore, but not dated by it, Shatter the Sky loosened up the dynamics to inject progressive guitar arrangements and some purely heavier strains of metal. “Wrath and Ruin” and “This is Revolution” turned into gale force storms, serving notice that these guys are worth coming back for on Oct. 13 when Shatter the Sky plays at the Rock and Shock  convention.

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