Sound: If there's one thing that is immediately evident in Hatebreed's new DVD Live Dominance, it's that this is a performance that's just as much about the fans as it is the band. Throughout the 2-hour long concert at Harpo's in Detroit, vocalist Jamey Jasta is able to maintain the crowd's energy better than most frontmen out there. The general admission crowd (not to mention every section in the venue) is often times one massive mosh pit, responding eagerly to the solid setlist that included hits that spanned Hatebreed's career since 1994.
Between the multiple crowd shout-alongs and the inclusion of one child's first stage dive, the sold-out show of 3, 000 fans did provide the optimum visuals for Hatebreed's first live DVD. It's true that pretty much all of the songs addressed aggression in some way or form, but Jasta stated several times throughout the show that his music was meant to be a positive thing. A Call For Blood went out to all the rape and child abuse victims, while Perseverance was dedicated to the fans for all the years of support. The band also played a few tracks off of their latest album Supremacy, which although seemingly your basic I'm-angry-at-the-world album, was actually written to overcome one's destructive side.
The mixing was completed by Grammy winner Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Fuel), and it did seem there was an emphasis put on the vocals. Because so much of the concert did revolve around the lyrical aspect of Hatebreed's songs, there are times when the guitars, bass, and drums do get pushed back. It's not to the point where it's distracting, so all in all Wilbur did a pretty good job at relaying the live sound.
Some of the other highlights during the show include As Diehard As They Come (which in a way has a Slayer feel to it), Doomsayer (Jasta calls for the biggest mosh pit that Harpo's has ever seen), and Last Breath (which is dedicated to Columbine and Dimebag Darrell. The show truly never lets up in the energy, and Hatebreed fans should likely relish in Live Dominance. // 9
Content: The show at Harpo's is the main feature, but Live Dominance also includes quite a few extras (almost an hour's worth) such as interviews, a fast-motion capture look at building the stage set, a tattoo gallery, and a Last Breath video featuring several faces who have passed on over the years. The music doesn't end in the extras, either, with several bonus live cuts from New York and Connecticut performances. // 9
Production Quality: The DVD was shot in Hi-Def, and that's a good start in itself. While the entire band does get face time, it does seem like Jasta is the star of the show in Live Dominance -- and for good reason. Jasta does ooze charisma onstage and is continuously encouraging the crowd to get involved, whether jumping, raising their fists, or screaming. One particular cool touch is getting camera footage in the most pit. When I mentioned that Live Dominance is as much about the fans as it is the band, the cameras tell a story in themselves. You do feel like you're being tossed about at times, and it adds a little extra energy to the DVD. // 10
Overall Impression: For as aggressive as Hatebreed's music comes across, Live Dominance presents the band in quite a positive light. Jasta not only thanks his fans on numerous occasions, he also takes time to introduce the entire band. There are plenty of live DVDs out on the market, and very few frontmen actually take the time to recognize the players behind him. So kudos to Jasta for keeping a level head. Musically you definitely get your money's worth with 22 tracks during the 2-hour show. Jasta explains the meaning behind several of the tracks, and in the end it gives you a better idea of what has inspired the band over the years. // 9