Better than: Listening to Hatebreed albums at your Cross-Fit gym.
Hatebreed currently has one of the top 20 records on the Billboard 200 list, and the Connecticut-based hardcore titans' most recent release, The Divinity of Purpose , holds the sixth position on the rock charts. And while we could argue about the lacking relevance of the Billboard charts in 2013, we cannot stress how remarkable it is for a meat-and-potatoes, real-deal, born-in-the-basement hardcore band to have an album clipping at Rihanna's miserable heels.
It's been a long time since Hatebreed initially tasted success on a large scale, but frontman Jamey Jasta and company haven't messed with the basic formula that fueled the group's initial "rise of brutality" through the ranks of the national hardcore scene. Last night, the band dropped a set of its megaton riffs and coarse-voiced anthems spanning its entire discography to the delight of the sweat-drenched and violent mass of fans who abused one another for hours on end at Revolution Live.
Jasta has long been a champion of diverse tour packages, and as such, last night's performance came complete with heavy jams for every fan.
Starting with the Contortionists' blend of progressive metal and jazz fusion, moving on to the tried-and-true death-metal onslaught of Dying Fetus, and rounding out with two distinct styles of metal-twinged hardcore via both Shadows Fall's guitar histrionics and the headliner's more basic approach, no one was left wanting for diversity last night.
However, jazz-fusion metal doesn't warrant the environment of hectic mosh most Hatebreed fans come to a show to bask in, meaning the Contortionists' blend of keyboards and "Pat Metheny"-inspired guitar was received with mixed emotions at best. However, this is not to say they weren't good at what they do, simply that the performance might have been better received on a different bill.
The Contortionists' display of technical wizardry was quickly chased by Dying Fetus and their completely unstoppable torrent of crushing death-metal. Without-a-doubt the heaviest trio currently performing, the band sounded as monstrous as ever. As band and crowd alike held up the metal horns, guitarist/vocalist John Gallagher barked out guttural belches of lyrics while shredding the ever loving shit of his black ESP guitar. "Homicidal Retribution" kicked things off with a bang, and the pinch-harmonic punctuated churn of "Schematics" witnessed a floor of mosh-caught metal fans. The tough breakdowns and double-bass helicopter of "Justifiable Homicide" solicited of head-banging glory, the closer and fan favorite "Kill Your Mother/Rape Your Dog" made for an ideal ending to the madness.
Shadows Fall has been a polarizing band since blowing up with the release of the Zuess Harris-produced Art of Balance in 2002, being a band that was never quite definable enough for some, but a revelatory sound for others. At last night's performance, the band greeted the audience with sing-alongs and plenty of pit action. However (and as a testament to the devotion of metal fans) it appeared the fans in attendance knew even the newer tracks as well as they knew favorites from the aughts.
Jonathan Donias' guitar solos were as gnarly as frontman Brian Fair's signature dreadlocks, and we spotted a young man moshing in a plushy Taco Bell hat shaped like a taco during the band's set.
Finally, after the ravenous crowd of shirtless men lost complete control and creating the worst case scenario of second-hand embarrassment by moshing to the playback of Rage Against the Machine's "Testify," Hatebreed took the stage. Jasta quickly thanked audience members for their help in providing the group with their recent chart success. Fortunately for the fans that have been with Hatebreed since the early days, and despite the chart climbing success of the the band's current offering, last night's set was culled from its complete discography and featured an early appearance of "Empty Promises."
The band sounded as heavy as anyone could ask for, with guitarists Frank "3 Gun" Novinec and Wayne Lozinak chugging away through a gargantuan wall of Marshall's and Jasta dividing his time between leading the assault as the band's mouthpiece and operating as motivational coach for the crowd. The breakdown of "Doomsayer" witnessed what might have been the most violent reaction we've ever seen at a Revolution gig, and the new tracks did hold up surprisingly well next to favorites from Satisfaction is the Death of Desire.
Perhaps the ultimate testament to just how far Hatebreed has come without turning into exiles of their original scene, Hoya from the New York hardcore juggernaut Madball was seen behind the amps for the duration of the bands set, and received a shoutout from Jasta at one point in the set, along with local Nico McBrain of Iron Maiden, who was also in attendance and interacting with fans on the patio before the show.
The band ended with "Destroy Everything," which proved a fitting ending, as wounded pit warriors exited the show, limping and holding T-shirts over bleeding head wounds and cuts.
Personal Bias: South Florida hardcore lives.
From the Stage: "Instagram this, motherfucker!" - Jamey Jasta pointing to Lozinak during a song.