Release Date: July 26, 2011
Jamey Jasta is a household name in metal circles. As front man for hardcore troupe Hatebreed and sludge metallers Kingdom of Sorrow, and the hardcore punk act, Icepick, Jasta has his irons in multiple fires. Now he adds yet another project to his plate. This week Jasta will release his first quasi-solo album, aptly titled, Jasta.
Jasta tapped his Kingdom of Sorrow bandmates, drummer Nick Bellmore (Toxic Holocaust), and guitarist Charles Bellmore to back him up on this record, along with cameo performances from many of his metal brethren, including Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society), Phil Labonte (All That Remains), Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying) and Randy Blythe and Mark Morton of Lamb of God. Pro-skateboarder Mike Vallely even makes an appearance.
Sonically Jasta lands fairly close to his hardcore roots. Think Hatebreed outside the box. Familiarity, with enough adventure to push the boundaries of what he has done with all of his other projects. Yet he never strays too far from our expectations.
The dozen tracks on Jasta represent songs he’s put together over the course of the last three or four years. Jamey tries out differing vocal styles on the record, and allows his creativity some freedom that would not fit the confines of his other musical endeavors.
The record kicks off with a Pantera-ish guitar riff on the rapid fire track, “Walk That Path Alone”, and Jasta gets right into the groove with hardcore rants on this profanity laden opening volley.
On “Mourn The Illusion” Jasta gives us a taste of clean vocals to go with his throaty growls, all wrapped up in some chunky riffage and some surprising melody.
Listen to “Mourn The Illusion”:
On “Screams From The Sanctuary” Jasta gets all streetcore on our collective asses with this chugger that skirts the edges with a death metal vibe. Meanwhile “Nothing To Say” brings back that Pantera type opening riffage, with an anthemic hardcore chorus.
Next up Jasta shows off his doomier side on the sludgy “Anthem Of The Freedom Fighter”. This one will make you jump in the pit and hit some shit.
It should be noted that Jamey wisely set the stage on this record by getting the non-“special guest” tracks in up front, so we can take in the music on his merits, and not those of his guests. By the time we get to the second half of the record where his onslaught of guests show up, we already known this shit’s for real, and not a forced project of slop thrown together with big names to sell albums.
The record’s first special guest is Phil Labonte who jumps in on the groove laden “Something You Should Know”, which is arguably the album’s most commercially accessible track.
Zakk Wylde throws his stink on the CD’s first single, “The Fearless Must Endure”. The track is hammer to the head crushing, and mosh-pit obligatory. While Wylde’s presence is clearly felt it doesn’t steal from Jasta in any way, but merely adds a thick slab of icing to the brick beneath.
Listen to “The Fearless Must Endure”:
For pure hardcore, look no farther than “Heart of A Warrior” which features skate pro Mike Vallely. This is one of the album’s many stand out tracks.
Lamb of God‘s Randy Blythe and Mark Morton lay their own blistering touches to “Enslaved, Dead or Depraved” and “Death Bestowed”, respectively. On the former, drummer Bellmore lays down some chest caving skin work, while Blythe helps Jasta peel the skin off your face. The latter closes out the record with perhaps the heaviest of the album’s 12 tracks. Jasta is caustic with the mic and Morton is at his shredding best.
Jasta claims this album represents songs he’d written that didn’t really fit the chemistry of his other musical projects. Yet in many ways, Jasta, feels like a career highlight reel of the best of what he’s done.
When I queued Jasta up I had some dread that this album would be nothing more than a couple decent tracks, wrapped in filler and big names. I’m happy to be this wrong. Jasta is full of intense and emotive moments, and packed with an onslaught of pummeling grooves and sick riffs. It’s everything we’ve come to expect from Jamey Jasta, with a few new twists that will keep us awaiting what he’ll put his name on next.
If there is any con to this record it would be its brevity. At only 37 minutes Jasta could easily have added a couple more tracks. Perhaps he subscribes to the always leave them wanting more philosophy.
Notable tracks: The whole freaking album. Crank it up!
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