10/28/06 - Hatebreed, Sworn Enemy, Scars of Tomorrow @ Spectrum, Montreal
A new Hatebreed club gig has been a long time coming. Their first in the last few years was hotly anticipated by many, but not by the many of the cityâ€™s hardcore kids, who were oddly absent for the most part. I guess thatâ€™s what happens when one of their own starts playing bigger venues. Just look at that loyalty, isnâ€™t it beautiful? More than enough zealous, new generation Hatebreed fans were there to pick up the slack left behind by the aging, absent scenesters (and young ones that emulate them). Maybe they had little idea what to do when the singer of Victory throwaway band Scars of Tomorrow [www.scarsoftomorrow.com] kept calling out for a particular dance (â€œletâ€™s do, two-step! This is the chance for you kids to show me your two-step!â€), or that they just had no idea how to against a backdrop of muddy, indecipherable nu-metal. The band onstage could have been Dope or Static-X for the identity-less hogwash they are trying to pass off. The bandâ€™s newest album The Failure In Drowning just hit stores, unfortunately. Apparently, local opener Get By! made the best of the opportunity and played a fine set before xScarsx put a damper on things. Straight outta Queens, the hardworking Sworn Enemy [www.swornenemynyc.com] survived major label failure with As Real As It Gets and lived to tell the tale on their best release yet, this yearâ€™s The Beginning Of The End. Again, you wouldnâ€™t know they were a veteran band because none of their old fans who gave the band so much support on their Negative Outlook EP and curiously their major label debut as well, seemed to have showed up to the gig. The band were as tight as ever, focused on the goal of success while maintaining a traditional yet increasingly metallic NYHC sound. Guitarist Lorenzo Antonucci has grown his hair out to near power metal length, and perched one leg atop the monitor while pulling off his many capable solos from the new album, but the riffs and attitude havenâ€™t changed much since the bandâ€™s early days and thatâ€™s what counts. Even the young fans in attendance seemed to have been familiar with the bandâ€™s major label material, lending their lungs to pit favorites My Misery, As Real As It Gets, and Sworn Enemy. The set was steeped heavily in material from The Beginning Of The End, with songs appropriate for two-stepping like Save Your Breath, No Second Chances, and Absorb The Lies leading the charge. Nearly five years ago Sworn Enemy supported Hatebreed at a tiny hardcore gig, and by the looks of tonightâ€™s nearly a thousand-capacity crowd, staying true to yourself (but adding a sprinkle of metal) does get you somewhere. Banging out modern hardcore anthems with true metal feel for over a decade now, Hatebreed [www.hatebreed.com] have unquestionable earned their keeps. Whether the more homogeneous material the band has written over the last two albums pales in comparison to their earlier material seems to matter little, because the Hatebreed brand seems to just be growing and growing with each passing year. Joining the longtime four-piece at the tail end of the writing process for Supremacy, new lead guitarist Frank Novinec adds muscle and stage presence to the band that has been lacking those very elements since the departure of founding guitarist Boulder four years ago. One of the most influential and imitated guitar players in hardcore, having written numerous classic albums with Integrity and Ringworm, Novinec brings to Hatebreed a connection to the tail-end of the eighties and thus increased credibility, if they were lacking any to begin with. His love for classic rock was evident on this night, as seventies guitar rock rumbled along from the PA both before and after Hatebreedâ€™s set. Should he still be in the band when they write their next album, it will likely give them the nitrous burst that mediocre songwriting since The Rise of Brutality has prevented the band from witnessing. Sure, theyâ€™re getting more popular; but with better songs they would make that next step up. The band appeared to have aged only slightly, and the material not at all, although the superior Under The Knife and Satisfaction Is The Death of Desire material left at least half the young audience members without lyrics to sing. From Perseverance until now though, it was mostly word-for-word on every song. The band played at least half the new album, which not surprisingly (considering the age of the audience) received the most fanatical reception. The success of Hatebreedâ€™s brand new material proves that people go to their shows to mosh, something the band caught on to years ago, but have been refining on the last two albums. Novinec adds a whole new element to the live setting, and one can only imagine what type of impact he will have in the studio.