The Rickety Old Shack

Jasta — Jasta

album cover

Ever since I really immersed myself in the metal genre and its endless sub-genres, I've been listening to Jamey Jasta in one form or another. From the early days of Hatebreed's Death Before Dishonor, to keeping up with the band's steady string of new releases — and various side-projects such as Icepick and Kingdom of Sorrow — Jamey Jasta has kept me busy for the better part of a decade. Now, many albums and guest appearances later, Jamey has built himself quite a resumé and drops his first 'solo' album.

I really don't know what the general attitude towards Hatebreed is these days, but I've always enjoyed their work. Whether or not you think it's the sort of music that caters towards jocks and meat-heads, I think it's a really stupid idea to judge a band based on their fan base. If I subscribed to that kind of ill-conceived logic, I don't know if there would be anything "acceptable" to listen to; every band has gatekeeping, douche bag fans to some degree. Regardless, I've found the resoundingly positive underlying message to Hatebreed's music to be compelling, especially given how heavy and aggressive everything sounds.

In my review of Kingdom of Sorrow's sophomore album, Behind the Blackest Tears, I noted that Jamey brings a distinct sound to the recordings he appears on. Even when he appeared on "Take It To The Limit," from NY gore rapper Necro's Pre-Fix for Death album, the track itself was sounded exactly like what you'd get if you asked a rap producer to sample a Hatebreed song. Jamey knows his range, an extremely aggressive hardcore bark, and stays within it for most of the record. Jasta kicks off with "Walk That Path Alone," which would make for a decent inclusion on any Hatebreed album. In this case, it's a good thing; the track sets the tone for the rest of the album and wastes no time at a short 2:16 in length, bludgeoning the listener with some straight-up aggression.

The remaining tracks all retain a certain unity in their sound, while not following the same formula by any means. There are a few guest appearances, including Zakk Wylde, Phil Labonte (All That Remains), Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying), and Randy Blythe and Mark Morton of Lamb of God. The guest appearances do add to their respective songs, and help prevent things from getting stagnant when listening to the entire album. Generally speaking, Jasta has the demeanor and production of a no-frills thrash / hardcore album, but it veers off in a very Crowbar-inspired direction — especially in the vocals — at times, undoubtedly inspired by Jamey's previous work with Kirk Windstein.

All told, Jasta is a solid release. It's not quite a Hatebreed album, nor is it a rehash of Kingdom of Sorrow. The riffs are chunky and massive, the record is packed full of strong grooves and keeps a good pace. You're not going to find yourself overly surprised with the style of music on this album, but it's still very good and somehow manages to avoid being a redundant project in Jamey Jasta's discography. Jasta is a fun, concise little project that exceeded my expectations and demonstrated more nuance than I thought its namesake may have been capable of. A solid release, even if it's nothing genre-defining.

Summary

Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta keeps himself busy as his namesake band drops their self-titled debut. Defying the odds, Jasta manages to incorporate the elements of Jasta's other projects without being a redundant, pointless retread. Stomping modern hardcore, doom and balls-out metal are all present in varying doses, and there are just enough guest appearances to further distance this material from past efforts. All-in-all, this is a good listen; it's not going to win over any of Jasta's detractors, but if you're already a fan of hardcore / metalcore then you can't really go wrong here.

Album Information

Release date: Century Media Records
Record label: July 26th, 2011

Jamey Jasta — vocals
Charlie Bellmore — bass
Nick Bellmore — drums
Phil Labonte — vocals (track 6)
Randy Blythe — vocals (track 8)
Tim Lambesis — vocals (track 9)
Zakk Wylde — guitar, vocals (tracks 10, 14)
Mike Valley — vocals (track 11)
Mark Morton — guitar (track 12)

Track Listing

  1. Walk That Path Alone
  2. Mourn The Illusion
  3. Screams From The Sanctuary
  4. Nothing They Say
  5. Anthem Of The Freedom Fighter
  6. Something You Should Know
  7. Set You Adrift
  8. Enslaved, Dead Or Depraved
  9. With A Resounding Voice
  10. The Fearless Must Endure
  11. Heart Of A Warrior
  12. Death Bestowed
  13. Bury Me With My Beliefs
  14. The Fearless Must Endure (Shredathon Version)

—by Derek

Published: November 28th, 2011.

Edited: March 12th, 2019.