#23: Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed)
MetalSucks recently polled its staff to determine who are The Top 25 Modern Metal Frontmen, and after an incredible amount of arguing, name calling, and physical violence, we have finalized that list! Writers were asked to consider vocal ability, lyrics, and live presence when casting their votes; the only requirements to be eligible for the list were that the musician in question had to a) play metal (duh), b) be a frontman or woman (double-duh), and c) have recorded something AND performed live in the past five years. Today we continue our countdown with Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta…
It seems more fitting now than ever that Hatebreed’s debut album was titled Satisfaction is the Death of Desire — because it’s hard to think of a more apt way to describe Jamey Jasta’s career. How many other vocalists could get away with releasing a solo album which bears simply their last name and silhoutte? That’s some Alfred Hitchock shit right there.
Not that Jasta hasn’t earned his icon status. Fronting what may very well be the most successful hardcore band of its generation would be achievement enough, but Jamey Jasta is an entrepreneur, and basically the Energizer Bunny of extreme music: in addition to his work with the ‘Breed and his aforementioned solo venture, there’s his work with Kingdom of Sorrow and Icepick, his record label, Stillborn, his record label’s own festival, Stillborn Fest, his clothing line, Hatewear, his stint as host of MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball during its last gasps of relevancy, his many guest appearances on other artists’ albums (off the top of my head: Sepultura, Napalm Death, Candiria, Agnostic Front, Terror, The Acacia Strain, and Brian Posehn have all snagged him for hot minute), and probably about fifteen thousand other things that I’m either forgetting or don’t even know about. I don’t really understand how the dude finds time to eat, sleep, and shit — actually, if you told me he’d somehow managed to forego those little inconveniences, I wouldn’t be all that surprised.
And anyone who’s ever seen Jasta live knows he’s a consumate performer with a special talent for working his fans into a feeding frenzy; Hatebreed shows are gloriously scary events, truly cathartic expressions of vehemence, with circus-sized circle pits and Jasta as the reigning ringmaster. Hatebreed have undergone numerous line-up changes over the past sixteen years, but Jasta is truly irreplaceable — he IS Hatebreed. Both in front of the curtain and behind it.
And then, of course, there are his lyrics. Simple, blunt, to the point, and somehow both full of rage and optimism — unbeknownst to Jasta himself, he’s been my personal trainer and motivational coach for years now. And I’m guessing he’ll continue to be for years to come: Jasta shows absolutely no signs of slowing down whatsoever. I’m guessing that wherever he is right now, he’s not eating, sleeping, or shitting, that’s for damn sure.
THE LIST SO FAR: