HATEBREED. Zodiac, Oxford. 14.03.05

It's always seemed a little weird that after ten years of Hatebreed preaching messages of family, friendship and hardcore unity, their fans still insist on beating the shit out of each other. Gang vocal anthems like 'Live for This' and 'I Will be Heard' are screamed back to the band like blood oaths but the blood on show tonight is all too real.

Before the carnage begins the melodic hardcore of Caliban and the spit-soaked sludge of Crowbar do their best to impress. The pit monsters get the chance for a good warm up during Caliban's take on what's currently hot. The amount of energy the five Germans put into their performance explaining why they're so skinny.Crowbar wander onstage like lost Spinal Tappers, like the mess of drunk hillbilly dads they probably are, and begin the most professional of amateur half-hours that the Zodiac has ever seen. They start, fuck up, start again, swear, sweat, and mumble and pretty much rule.

All of which is like a wafer thin mint before the three course meal that is Hatebreed. The squeal of feedback gives way to a three song set-starter and things never dip. The pit is a danger zone from the first note, frontman Jamey Jasta's seemingly never-ending vat of attitude and energy spilling into the crowd. Hatebreed rip into 'Straight to Your Face' and Jasta calls for a warzone. Oxford delivers.

'Call for Blood' and 'Perseverance' keep the tempo tipped maximum and an hour of brutal aggression punches past in what feels like ten minutes. They may be old hands at this but the band show no signs of age, no signs of pandering to any stream let alone the main one and despite feeling a little impersonal the perfomance is nothing less than absolutely professional.

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