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Hatebreed Live Dominance DVD

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 @ 10:53 PM


Koch DVD

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While metal-core has become the nu metal of the past couple years as more and more bands of ever-more-dubious quality pig-pile onto the scene in the hopes of taking their bite of what little of the gravy train is left, Connecticut veterans Hatebreed endure — and probably will continue to do so long after most of the Johnny come latelies are back pumping gas.

If nothing else, Hatebreed have stuck to their guns, evenly fusing manic thrash and bludgeoning, hook-laden hardcore instead of embracing the breakdowns, Cookie monster vocals and other death metal trappings, bipolar clean/scream singing or widdly-twiddly instrumental jackoffery that everyone else has pounced on in the name of being “different.” And say what you will about the band — or more specifically overbearing and overexposed frontman Jamey Jasta — after 14 years, they are obviously doing something right.

Hatebreed’s new two-disc DVD, Live Dominance, which just topped Billboard’s music DVD chart, offers ample evidence of that. Capturing a full, 80-minute set at Harpo’s, a warehouse-sized club in Detroit, it shows that single-minded, snub-nosed brutality can make a crowd go apeshit like little else — a lesson Hatebreed surely learned opening for Slayer, the masters of just such a battle plan.

The Harpo’s pit — or more precisely pits — looks like a demolition derby from the time the band let loose with “This Is Now,” thanks to the propulsive riffs of Frank “III Gun” Novinec and Sean Martin, and the bracing, moshable rhythms of Chris Beattie and Matt Byrne. The more furious, full-on hardcore of “Straight To Your Face” and “Smash Your Enemies” are played against the crunchier “Destroy Everything,” “I Live For This” and “Never Let It Die” to great effect, ensuring the energy never lags — at least so long as the band is playing.

Jasta, however, provides ample time for people to lick their wounds or catch their breath between songs with his long-winded recitations on nearly every track’s “meaning,” exhortations for sing-alongs or numerous kissings of the crowd’s collective ass — an ass that hardly needed kissing given how amped they seemed from the get-go. Though often awkward and soft-spoken as the host of Headbangers Ball, Jasta is genuinely a commanding frontman. I just wish he’d sing — well, really, holler — more and talk less in concert because there is nothing more tedious than hearing “Let me fucking hear you!” for the 20th time during a set.

Despite this, Dominance delivers more than enough power and aggression to satisfy. The band themselves are lockstep tight, and obviously cruisin’ for a bruising’ here. And the DVD’s brash, full sound and frantic visuals nicely capture the show's energy and volume, and, at times, literally put you in the middle of the pit — which on this night, was a pretty dangerous place.

Given all the jawing Jasta does onstage, much of the extra interview footage on the “documentary” DVD hardly seems necessary, as it’s essentially variations on the same theme. And for those perhaps hoping for the usual titties and beer backstage hijinx montage, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Instead, you’ll get camera-eye shots of the band’s tour bus arriving at the venue and sweaty dudes in the crew setting up the stage and fiddling with the lighting rig. Not very titillating, that.

***


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