Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jasta - Jasta

Entertainment One Music/Shock Entertainment

Jamey Jasta is probably one of the hardcore scene’s busiest personalities, with the front man dividing his time between several musical outfits (Most notably Hatebreed and Kingdom Of Sorrow, and the lesser known Icepick), making guest appearances and managing his own business ventures (His record label Stillborn Records and his clothing line Hatewear). Somewhere in amongst his busy schedule, he’s managed to get together with a couple of friends (Guitarist/bassist Charlie Bellmore and drummer/additional guitarist Nick Bellmore) and assembled a new outfit under his own name, and who have duly released their self-titled debut release.
Solo albums from any artist firmly entrenched within a band of note are always an interesting prospect, and given the contrast between Hatebreed and Kingdom Of Sorrow, I was keen to see what Jasta would project sound wise on his own album.
If the opening track ‘Walk That Path Alone’ is any indication of what was in-store for the remainder of the album, then you would believe that Jasta’s solo album was little more than an extension of Hatebreed’s trademark sound. Full of aggression, tight knit riffing and Jasta’s hardcore bark, ‘Walk That Path Alone’ is a huge song, but nothing that truly stands as something completely separated from what is otherwise expected from Jasta.
The first single ‘Mourn The Illusion’ on the other hand is something altogether different. Musically the song falls a little more in line with the metalcore realm of Killswitch Engage with its melodic breakdowns and riffing. But what really stands out is Jasta’s own performance, where he mixes up clean vocals alongside his rasping screams. It’s really quite different and unexpected, and in a good way too.
‘Screams From The Sanctuary’ and ‘Set You Adrift’ are further surprising gems that mix the aggression of Hatebreed with a dual vocal presence that’s at times melodic and clean, and screamed at other points within the songs. But despite having a strong clean vocal, Jasta’s abilities sound a little stretched on ‘Nothing They Say’ and ‘Something You Should Know’ (Which features a guest vocal appearance from All That Remains’ Phil Labonte). The music is undoubtedly solid, but the somewhat repetitive chorus and lack of aggression at times does make the song sound a little drawn out and lifeless. It’s only on ‘The Fearless Must Endure’ (Which has a solo provided by Zakk Wylde) that Jasta seems to find the right balance of a solid hook and his clean vocal efforts without making the song sound like its falling into a pattern of repetition.
Returning to more familiar ground, ‘Anthem Of The Freedom Fighter’, ‘With A Resounding Voice’ (Featuring Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying), ‘Heart Of A Warrior’ (Featuring ex-Revolution Mother front man Mike Vallely) and ‘Death Bestowed’ (Which boasts a killer solo from Lamb Of God’s Mark Morton) are certified winners that will keep fans of Jasta’s work with Hatebreed satisfied to no end, while the teaming up of Jasta alongside Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe on ‘Enslaved, Dead Or Depraved’ is downright crushing.
Overall Jasta’s debut has enough kinks and new sounds to separate it from coming across as a poor imitation of Hatebreed, and yet has enough of Jasta’s trademark qualities to draw Hatebreed fans’ attention. Sure, the album has a few letdown efforts, but in terms of overall quality, ‘Jasta’ still manages to deliver.

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© Justin Donnelly