Sound — 8
Over the past decade or so, Jamey Jasta has become one of the most famous men in heavy metal music. In addition to fronting hardcore powerhouse Hatebreed, Mr. Jasta has guested on tons of metal records, founded Stillborn Records and a clothing line to go with it, hosted MTV's "Headbanger's Ball", and even recorded with rappers such as Necro. But, one thing he hasn't done yet is record a solo album. However, in 2011 Jamey dropped his debut self-titled solo album. The album is a bridge between Hatebreed and Kingdom Of Sorrow, his sludgecore supergroup with Pepper Keenan. Surprisingly, Pepper doesn't appear on this record, but almost everyone who's noteworthy in metal/hardcore seems to be on this record. Since there's so many guest stars, I will just do a track-by-track review. 01. "Walk That Path Alone" - This track will please Hatebreed fans, with it's speedy hardcore punk feel. Nice guitar leads, and heavy breakdown towards the end. 02. "Mourn That Illusion" - The first of several tracks to take on a more melodic feel, with Jamey singing/barking throughout. Also features a huge chorus (a recurrent theme on Jasta). 03. "Screams From The Sanctuary" - Another one that would please Hatebreed fans, although it's mid-tempo rhythm may not be very hardcore-ish, but it does speed up in the choruses. 04. "Nothing They Say" - Like "Mourn The Illusion", another melodic tune. Not particularly noteworthy. 05. "Anthem Of The Freedom Fighter" - The one song on this album that just doesn't do it for me. I can't figure out why, but it is my least favorite song on Jasta. 06. "Something You Should Know" - An oddball if there ever was one. A straight-up hard rock tune. With All That Remains frontman Phil LaBonte making an appearance, "Something You Should Know" marks the beginning of the aforementioned guest appearances. 07. "Set You Adrift" - Doesn't feature any guest stars. Kind of boring to tell you the truth. 08. "Enslaved, Dead Or Depraved" - There is only one thing to describe this monster. Randy motherf--king Blythe locks horn with Jamey Jasta over a hardcore banger. It's by far the best song on Jasta, and one of the best metal songs of 2011. 09. "With A Resounding Voice" - Again, two great frontman collide. This time, Tim Lambesis from As I Lay Dying drops by to lend his talents. A great tune. 10. "The Fearless Must Endure" - Zakk Wylde adds his signature guitar licks to this one. With a chorus made for arenas, it's the lone radio bid on Jasta. 11. "Heart Of A Warrior" - Pro skateboarder Mike Vallely and Jasta hammer out a hardcore tune that will go over well with fans of Black Flag. 12. "Death Bestowed" - Lamb Of God guitarist Mark Morton slings it on this one. A nice closer.
Lyrics — 8
To get a couple things out of the way, the lyrics are typical Jasta. Creeds of determination, empowerment, and strength. Secondly, the guest stars sound just like they do in their own bands. The real focus here is Jamey Jasta himself. He does use his legendary hardcore barks quite a bit, but he also shows a clean voice that although not very dynamic in range, sounds great delivering these songs.
Overall Impression — 8
Jamey has said that these songs are all songs he wrote for his other bands but they just didn't quite work. When gathered up and laid down on the same album, these twelve tracks show off the full musical and vocal range of Jamey Jasta. The album does come off at times like a pet project and a giant collaboration of Jamey and his buddies, but at no time does the music ever come across as anything less than 100% f--king serious metal. It will be interesting to see what Jamey does next.