Whether they've headlined Sunset Station on a 35-degree rainy night in November or scorched the stage on a 100-degree August day at Sunken Gardens Theater the day after the Mayhem Festival trek ended, Hatebreed has been known to destroy everything in its path in San Antonio.
When it's been four years between visits, such destruction becomes that much more magnified.
Hatebreed more than made its presence felt again Memorial Day Sunday during the fourth annual River City Rockfest outside the AT&T Center. Taking the second stage at 5:15 p.m., the Connecticut thrashcore veterans were a big reason the Rockfest took in its largest official attendance of "more than 27,800." Touring in support of seventh album The Concrete Confessional, which dropped Friday the 13th in May and hits oh so heavily, Hatebreed opened with older favorite "Destroy Everything."
The 2006 track is actually a less thrashy number than the band is known for, but no less in-your-face. With its no-nonsense message, it's the ideal opener for another muggy 11-hour day without rain in South Texas.
Vocalist Jamey Jasta, guitarists Wayne Lozinak and Frank Novinec, bassist Chris Beattie and drummer Matt Byrne then offered up their first new song, "Looking Down the Barrel of Today," one of several hard-hitting messages of hope and encouragement within today's gloomy world that can be found on The Concrete Confessional. Beattie and Byrne discussed the record and visit to the Alamo City prior to their Rockfest performance (watch here).
Jasta, also known for fronting Kingdom of Sorrow and for being the host of "Headbangers Ball" when it switched from MTV's hair-band heyday to MTV2, didn't need to encourage the metalheads compressed together on the concrete of the AT&T Center's parking lot very much. Not even the asphalt nor the heat could deter them from moshing it up on their own, particularly when Hatebreed tore into "Live For This."
Jasta brought his solo band to Alamo City Music Hall last summer opening for Coal Chamber (coverage here), which is fronted by DevilDriver's Dez Fafara. Hatebreed and DevilDriver found themselves touring together in the middle of the spring festival season that saw both bands at the Rockfest after both released their latest albums on the same day.
Continuing to mix the old and new with "This is Now" and "Something's Off," respectively," Hatebreed reminded San Antonians how much their brand of metal and intense stage presence was missed. The masses filled the second stage and VIP areas off to the side despite the fact Megadeth was about to follow on the main stage, and Hatebreed did not disappoint. Although some people's heads may have fallen off had the band played blistering new tune "A.D.," or just-as-fast-and-heavy "Hands of a Dying Man" from 2009, it would've been worth it to see such a calamity.
They didn't. Nevertheless, Hatebreed still managed to do damage on the likes of "Smash Your Enemies" and "To the Threshold" (AXS footage of the latter here).
As Killer B's Beattie and Byrne proved in the interview, Hatebreed's members know how to laugh and enjoy themselves. But on stage, the band is as full-bore as they come. That much cannot be denied. In fact, it can be confessed. Concretely speaking.
For festival coverage of other bands, click for headliners Disturbed plus Scorpions, Megadeth, Bullet For My Valentine, Sixx A.M., Hellyeah, DevilDriver, Red Sun Rising and The Sword, Avatar, Sevendust and San Antonio's The Heroine.