August 28, 2008

Music DVD Review: Hatebreed - Live Dominance

Hatebreed has risen to the top of the hardcore heap through incessant touring, a strong work ethic, and above all some brutally heavy and downright catchy music. When I listen to a Hatebreed album I have no choice but to bang my head and feel the adrenaline flow. This is a typical reaction from a Hatebreed fan, there is something about their music that gets the blood flowing. Fortunately, there is more to it than that. I would never go so far as to call their lyrics deep, but they do serve a purpose, they speak to the alienated and disenfranchised, makes them feel like a part of a family, something bigger. It is where front man Jamey Jasta came from, and he is doing his part to give back, make sure no one is left behind. Well, maybe that is a bit lofty of an ideal, but I am sure it is not far from the truth, and when you see how much energy they leave on the stage at their shows, it is not hard to believe the genuine affection Jamey and Hatebreed have for their fans and love they have for the music. Live Dominance is a testament to that live show.

My experience with Hatebreed dates back to the early days, shortly after the release of Satisfaction is the Death of Desire. It was back in 1998, they were opening for Soulfly, and I did not care for them. If I remember correctly my thoughts were along the lines of: "They remind me of a low-rent Pantera with no stage presence." Obviously my thoughts have changed over the years. The turnaround began when I ran into my childhood best friend, Matt Byrne. I asked if he was still playing drums and he told me he was in Hatebreed. Of course I had to go out and check them out again. I picked up Perseverance and immediately became a fan. No, not because I know Matt, but because the music was good, and has gotten consistently better over their two subsequent releases. Not there is a DVD that is worthy of their increasing stature.

Live Dominance was filmed at Harpo's in Detroit, MI, during the Supremacy tour in front of a sold out crowd. Believe me when I tell you that the crowd was into every moment of the 75-minute set. From the moment the band first appeared onstage to the final notes and goodbye, they pit was moving, swirling, churning, a veritable sea of people in motion from all angles.

I have seen Hatebreed live one more time since that fateful day back in 1998. It came in 2006 when they took a slot vacated by Shadow's Fall, opening for Killswitch Engage. They took the stage and absolutely tore it up. They played a mix of new and old cuts, and the old cuts never sounded so good. As I watched this DVD I was taken back to that show, only in an expanded form. The energy from the stage, the reciprocating reaction of the crowd, it is easy to see why so many people love them.

When you watch this DVD, you are not going to watch it for technique. This is not the same experience as watching a, say, Dream Theater or G3 DVD where you want close up shots of picks flying across strings, or fingers working their magic. Watching a Hatebreed show is a different beast, this is about brutality, this is about watching 5 guys tearing it up on stage, watching the crowd move and surge in time to the music. On this level, this recording delivers on the promise of brutality.

Among the highlights of the concert are "To the Threshold," "Destroy Everything," "As Diehard as They Come" (dedicated to our armed forces stationed over seas, "Doomsayer," "Beholder of Justice," and the rousing closer "I Will Be Heard."

The concert was shot well, although at times it seemed to be a bit overly dark. Of course, shooting concert footage is no easy task, and this is by no means bad, I just think it could have looked a little bit better.

Now, while the concert is the centerpiece of Live Dominance, it is not the only content offered.

First up are a series of featurettes centering on the Detroit show:
  • Drive to the show. This clip shows their time lapsed drive to Detroit, concluding with a look at the fans lined up outside the sold out show. (2 minutes)
  • Building the stage. Another time lapsed video, this time showing the stage being put together, right through to the lighting tests and sound check. (3 minutes)
  • Behind the Hate (part 1). Interviews with all of the band members on their influences and what they went through to get where they are and their personal experiences in the band. We even get to see fans with all manner of Hatebreed tattoos. (13 minutes)
  • Behind the Hate (part 2). Continued interviews about how thankful they are to the bands that have helped them out along the way by taking them on tour and such. Also they get into their crossover appeal. (6 minutes)
  • Tattoo Gallery. You have to appreciate just how diehard many of Hatebreed's fans are. I cannot imagine tattooing a band name or logo on myself, but that's me. Some of the work shown here is actually pretty impressive. (>3 minutes)
  • R.I.P. This brief section pays tribute to friends and band members who have passed away, including Dimebag Darrell and Lou "Boulder" Richards. (1.5 minutes)

Next up are a bunch of bonus live performances. Believe me when I tell you that these guys leave nothing in the dressing room. They go out there and put everything they have down. Like them or not, you have to respect there effort. These performances are just icing on the cake that is Live Dominance.

  • NYC: "Destroy Everything"
  • NYC: "Doomsayer"
  • NYC: "Proven"
  • CT: "Last Breath"
  • CT: "Tear it Down"
  • CT: "Under the Knife"
  • PA: "As Diehard as Philly Gets" - This video is a love letter to the fans at the Philly show. If you were one of the lucky ones to be there, you will want to pay close attention to this. They turned the cameras on the fans. This video is all about the fans tearing it up during the show. Were you there?

Bottomline. This disk is a must have if you are a Hatebreed fan. Seriously, they put it all on the line and deliver an intense show. If you've never seen them live, this will give you a taste until you can rectify the situation. Definitely a strong performance. Wish I was there.


Set List:
1. This Is Now
2. Perseverance
3. A Call For Blood
4. To The Threshold
5. Empty Promises
6. Destroy Everything
7. Voice of Contention
8. As Diehard As They Come
9. Hallow Ground
10. Doomsayer
11. Betrayed By Life
12. Straight To Your Face
13. Facing What Consumes You
14. Before Dishonor
15. Never Let It Die
16. Last Breath
17. Beholder Of Justice
18. Smash Your Enemies
19. Proven
20. Defeatist
21. Live For This
22. I Will Be Heard


Post a Comment