Sound: If albums were judged by the emotion injected into them, Hatebreed would likely have record of the year. The metalcore band's latest release "Supremacy" is an intense and unrelenting example of the band at it's most honest. In the album's liner notes, vocalist Jamey Jasta explains that "Supremacy" was the product of one of the worst periods of his life, and that angst comes out vividly. While the record is not a masterpiece by any means, the raw emotion can absolutely be felt in each song - and that is more than a lot of bands can pull off these days.
While plenty of contemporary bands have added screaming as a staple of their songs, most of them are not convincing, particularly when they scream in the middle of the poppiest of tunes. But Hatebreed (vocalist Jasta, guitarists Sean Martin and Frank 3 Gun Novinec, bassist Chris Beattie, drummer Matt Byrne) feels like the real deal. When Jasta screams, you know he means every word even if you hate every minute of it. "Supremacy" will definitely not appeal to all listeners because it is so brutal in its delivery, but fans of Hatebreed will likely find it one of the band's most powerful releases yet.
One of the best tracks on the record is "As Diehard as They Come," which features slick and stylized guitar work from Martin and Novinec. The addition of guitar riffs over a more sedate rhythm actually gives you a moment to appreciate the melodic songwriting underneath it. The track's pace grows rapidly, but then it returns to a more modest pace for the breakdown, bringing it all together.
In "Mind Over All," the song follows a similar pattern to many of the songs on "Supremacy," with a straightforward, speedy and chord-driven approach. The majority of it dose not stand out that much, but the band does show promise in moments. For "Mind Over All," that moment comes close to the end when Jasta suddenly roars out of nowhere and there is an entire shift in rhythm that introduces an infectious breakdown. For all the fury that Hatebreed unleashes, it's actually the slower breakdowns that become the most memorable on "Supremacy." // 8
Lyrics: Like the music that accompanies them, Hatebreed's lyrics are just as raw and fueled with rage. But what you'll also find are words that are revealing the innermost emotions of a conflicted soul. Jasta does lay it all on the line in "Supremacy" in terms of his lyrics, and fans are even given more insight with the liner notes that detail exactly where each song's inspiration was coming from at the time they were written.
Perhaps one of the most unexpected inspirations behind one of the tracks on "Supremacy" is Jasta's daughter. The vocalist prefaces the song by describing how following your passions in life is the key. He sings: "The flame was almost extinguished; The will had faded and escaped me; Two years had passed and they wilted away; All that was left were memories of days I never lived." He goes on to declare a verbal war on that dark period of his life and the entire message is a positive one. Hearing such motivational lyrics in a musically dark song is probably one of the most refreshing aspects of the record.
"Supremacy of Self" is probably the closest listeners will come to knowing the pain that inspired the latest record. Jasta does not talk about not the supremacy of the racist kind, but rather a supremacy of self. He sings: "To look into my heart was to look into hell; Controlled by the voice of fear; I was completely overwhelmed." Jasta then declares war on his pain that he must attain supremacy of mind. By making the word supremacy into something constructive is a shocking and inspired twist. // 9
Overall Impression: Should everyone out in the listening audience rush out and bush Hatebreed's "Supremacy"? Oh, no. The metalcore band would probably take years off of the lives off some of them with it's furious sound, full of roaring vocals, double-bass pedal moments, and raw guitars. But the fans of a stripped-down hardcore metal sound will likely find the angry-sounding record a great way to work off some steam. Even though the lyrics are actually quite motivating, the music still feels like pure, unadulterated hatred at times. And that element can be quite cathartic at the end of a horrible day.
The music itself does not break any new ground as a whole, but many of the songs' breakdowns reveal some of the most inspired and well-written moments on the record. "Supremacy" will not likely go down in history as a monumental record, but in an industry that has become too much like an assembly line, Hatebreed offers a rare commodity: honesty. // 8