Stillborn Fest

Featuring Hatebreed, Killswitch Engage, Shai Hulud, the Hope Conspiracy, and others. Saturday, December 28, at the Agora Theatre.

Har Mar Superstar, with Trans Am, the Six Parts Seven, and Aloha Agora Theatre, 5000 Euclid Avenue 8 p.m. Friday, December 27, $10, 216-241-5555.
Sure, Hatebreed's flaming-gothic-script logo reeks of Hot Topic. But the band's major label debut, Perseverance, leaves no question that metal is getting heavier, and that the Connecticut quintet is chief among the next generation's marquee players. Completely removed from the dreadlocks-and-DJs zeitgeist, Hatebreed's second album arrives, five years after 1997's Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire, sounding more like a sequel to something that was recorded in '87.

Despite the rock-star-worthy delay, Hatebreed hasn't been on hiatus. Weathering label and lineup drama, the group has cultivated ever-increasing crowds with almost nonstop roadwork, seeing its audiences jump from mere dozens in VFW halls in the late '90s to hundreds on 2000's Tattoo the Earth tour to thousands at this year's Ozzfest. Along the way, Hatebreed has honed a sound greatly indebted to Pantera's mechanized drum rolls and Sepultura's crushing riffs. Singer Jamey Jasta avoids metal clichés, espousing Snapcase-style positive-attitude politics. "You won't see me fail/You won't get the chance," growls Jasta on Perseverance's "Proven," tapping the disenfranchisement that connects Hatebreed's Connecticut underground, Slipknot's Iowa, and Eminem's Eight Mile. As the band says in its bio: "This is for kids who have nowhere to turn, who have nothing to live for." Until now.

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