Review by Paul Castles, photos by Russ Powney
In the no holds barred bloodied knuckle crushing world of metalcore Hatebreed have been raising the bar to a height which most can only reach with the aid of step ladder for years.
Back in the UK to promote their latest album, The Divinity of Purpose, the Americans took a couple of rising UK acts for the ride of their young lives out on the road with them.
Apparently Jamey Jasta had cherry-picked them himself and on first appearance the Hatebreed frontman made good choices.
Demoraliser have been earning some favourable reports and it was easy to see why on the strength of this powerful performance. They are full of anger and energy and from the moment they launched into opener ‘Gilded in Gold’ they grabbed the crowd by the throat.
Sharing a bill with Hatebreed is the kind of leg-up most bands dream of and the Grimsby boys look determined to make the most of their opportunity. Frontman James Dexter is a young dynamo with a level of passion and performance that betrays his age.
Midway through the set Demoraliser had already whipped up some pit movement with their in your face approach and James clambered over the Slade Rooms barrier to join in the action himself while still managing to belt out the track. Behind him he’s got a really tight animated bunch and on crowd-pleasers such as ‘Early Years’ and ‘Eye to Eye’ Demoraliser throw done some impressively crushing beats.
Black Dogs were next up and it quickly became apparent that there would be no respite or diminishment in the quality.
Full throttle hardcore action from the off with the vocalist’s red hair suitably symbolic of the rising temperature in the room. At one point he clambered up a couple of amp stacks before wisely realising the low Slade Rooms ceiling offered no scope to stand up.
So after barking out a few lines the Dogs frontman clambered back down. He did though manage a fine balancing act when standing perched on the crush-rail with just the support of one punter’s extended fist to stop him tumbling head first over the barrier.
Both Demoralizer and Black Dogs acquitted themselves favourably in Wolverhampton and both are set to perform in front of even bigger crowds at Download next month.
By the time Hatebreed emerged the sell-out Slade Rooms was hotter than a bag of samosas and the walls were perspiring as much as the crowd. The instant Jamey Jasta cried out the “Born to Bleed Fighting to Succeed” intro to the opener ‘In Ashes They Shall Reap’ the mercury exploded right through the wilting thermometer.
Hatebreed have served up their brutal brand of metalcore for two decades and are now more polished than a prized museum exhibit. Tonight though was a little different with this gig barely 24 hours after the news had broken of the sad passing of Slayer’s legendary axe maestro Jeff Hanneman. Jasta paid a genuinely moving tribute to Jeff as fist-thumping cries of ‘Slayer, Slayer’ reverberated around the Slade Rooms in tribute to one of metal’s genuine greats.
Hatebreed then steamed head-on into the Slayer number ‘Ghosts of War’. Over from the Big Apple promoting their new The Divinity of Purpose album, much of the set was still made up of older Hatebreed material such as the machine gun delivery of thrash favourite ‘Defeated’ and the classic fans’ tribute ‘As Diehard as They Come’.
The Rise of Brutality album supplied a couple of tracks with the familiar heavy riff of ‘Live For This’ setting everyone’s toes on edge for a punishingly savage rendition of the perennial Hatebreed favourite. From Divinity ‘Honor Never Dies’ is an instant winner with Jasta’s cry of “Sometimes standing for what you believe….being met with the resounding response of ‘means standing alone’.
‘Dead Man Breathing’ is another fine addition to the Hatebreed catalogue but when it came to closing an evening of wonderfully chaotic hardcore, ‘Destroy Everything’ did not so much as bring the curtain down as rip it to shreds.
See more of Russ’s photos here;