Jamey Jasta is the founder and front man for Hatebreed. Like many abundantly creative folks he seems to have a number of things going on, including side projects like this one.
When I looked down the track listing two things struck me:
Firstly, given the titles of the tracks, I figured that I was about to embark on a 12 track, 44 minute journey that would be a wild and challenging tale of struggle and standing tall for my beliefs.
Secondly, that EVERY track is a collaboration. I hadn’t seen that before.
According to Wiki, “Collaboration is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to complete a task or achieve a goal. Most collaboration requires leadership, although the form of leadership can be social within a decentralized and egalitarian group. Teams that work collaboratively often access greater resources, recognition and rewards when facing competition for finite resources.
In its applied sense, ‘collaboration is a purposeful relationship in which all parties strategically choose to cooperate in order to accomplish a shared outcome.’”
For this project, that description is bang on, I’d reckon. So, let’s bang on then.
“They Want Your Soul (Featuring George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – Cannibal Corpse)” had me surrendering my soul to the galloping riffs. The vocals were gravelled, with an imperative element. However, much cleaner and more melodic vocals were also used as a counterpoint. My foot was tapping well before the chorus as the sound captured my attention. The guitars were logical in the way that the chord changes were utilised. The subject matter of the track was sinister and ominous, with the execution of the theme being done perfectly. The pace of the track changed throughout and it was a banger of an opening.
“Return From War (Featuring Max Cavalera – Soulfly)” opened with promise, but then the sound became a little dischordant. This track lost me a bit initially, but it soon reeled me back in. One lyric really hooked me – “no-one returns from war” – signalling the gravity of the theme of the track. It was complex in tempo, with lots of well-timed guitar interjections. A killer bass line was used in the bridge, before another lyric grabbed me – “Pray for silence, pray for peace, Why, God, why? Answer me!”
“Strength To Draw The Line (Featuring Jesse Leach – Killswitch Engage)” drew a new line for the album, shifting the musical landscape. It was about standing up and being counted, including the lyric, “Give me the strength to draw the line.” It was frenetically paced and the vocals were occasionally rap-like, contrasted against melodic vocals in the chorus. Some Middle Eastern inspired guitar work appeared in a track that seamlessly used lots of elements.
“Cleansed By The Waves (Featuring Zoli Teglas)” washed in with a staccato nature. The fast pace of the album continued and it was about being steadfast.
“When The Contagion Is You (Featuring Matthew K. Heafy – Trivium)” infected me with its robust riffs and chugging nature and the clean chorus was again used to great effect. The guitars were less complex, but they didn’t lose their substance. This track was metal in a muscle shirt. The lyrics, arrangement and vocal harmonies combined to make this the best track I’ve heard in a while.
“Spilled Blood Never Dries (Featuring Kirk Windstein – Crowbar; Kingdom of Soddom)” had killer opening riffs spilling out of my headphones. I realised that I was going to need a rest after this album… A slower tempo was used to convey the feeling of being haunted by the wicked ways of others. Gravelled vocals suggested torment, of having endured a challenging life.
“Heaven Gets What It Wants (Featuring Howard Jones – Light the Torch)” Who knew there were so many ways to serve metal? The vocals in the chorus were amazing and this track was as close to a power ballad that this album was going to get. The guitar solo wailed away, adding a delicious complexity. The track fell away at the end, enhancing the power of this offering.
“Silence Is The Enemy (Featuring BillyBio)” featured slower tempo, partnered by a confronting style. The track thrashed in sections, before slowing and thickening. Cleverly, it abruptly stopped, leaving me in silence, just like the title.
“Just Breathing (Featuring Frank Palmeri)”started with someone sounding like they were out of breath. I hear you… An early lyric was, “Just breathe, in a world of no reprieve.” Monstrous riffs were used magnificently, again partnered by confrontational lyrics and vocals. The track reminded us that in life we need to take a breath to get some perspective. It was intense all the way through, with some really compelling percussion. The track ended with more breathing.
“Our Guardian Angel (Featuring Phil Rind)” cracked open with swanky and swaggering guitar. The vocals were less intense and it felt like a plea for understanding. It included a guitar section that was grandiose and included the lyrics, “Guardian Angel, where have you been? Were you ever there, or have I been alone? What have I done?”
“13 Appears (Featuring Tommy Victor)” appeared with a heavy riff that was brilliantly engineered, assaulting me through my headphones from one side to the other. A syncopated nature was employed to support thrashing guitars. It was rough and angry and featured a killer guitar solo.
“Holy Wars… The Punishment Due (Featuring Joey. Concepcion)” was a campaign of over 6 minutes and it served to anchor the album cogently. A galloping opening riff soon led into a complex rhythm. This track was brilliantly constructed, with the vocals coming in late – I was lost in the music and the vocals then snapped me back into the moment. Multiple guitar solos and even some flamenco inspired guitar work added further to the mix. It slowed and soothed a number of times, then muscled right back up. This track had more changes and different sounds than Federal Government Policy.
Given that each track was a collaboration, they had their own unique character. I found myself looking forward to each track to see where I was going to be taken next. Each track was also an intensely personal journey in itself.
Given the many shifts in tone, tempo and texture, the music is hard to qualify and I loved it. It’s also surprisingly catchy, with more ear worms than a Star Trek movie.
The guitar work was first rate, with many differing techniques used. The percussion was also fabulous, serving to enhance each track from the background, or unashamedly from front and centre.
The vocals were rough and robust one moment, melodic and musical the next, with the latter often used in the chorus. This reminded me of the way that Motionless in White employ a similar tactic to great effect.
The title “The Lost Chapters” intrigued me – was this a reference to cautionary tales, preaching, or chronicles of life that needed to be saved? Pretty much all of those…
This album was a complete surprise to me and it caught me unawares. I enjoyed every moment.