It seems odd to think it now, considering just how much the walls have closed in around fans of heavy music over the last twenty years, but when Hatebreed emerged there was still a clear suspicion between the hardcore and metal communities. Sure, bands like Earth Crisis were splicing hardcore with metal, and bands like Madball and Vision Of Disorder were rubbing shoulders with Type O Negative and Obituary on Roadrunner Records’ classic mid-90s roster. But for the most part, hardcore still kept itself very much to itself (a la Judge) or spread themselves in different areas while sticking rigidly to their own rules (Sick Of It All signed to a major and were just as happy to tour with Slayer as they were NOFX).
It’s important to acknowledge just how big a mountain Hatebreed had to scale to be totally accepted by a metal audience when they formed. After the buzz of 1995’s Under The Knife EP led to a deal with the hardcore label of the time, Victory Records, and a tour with the UK’s own thrashing hardcore legends Voorhees, Hatebreed went in to record their debut album, Satifaction Is The Death Of Desire.
The album was released on 11 November, 1997, and when you listen to it today you can hear all of the sounds that have become a staple of Hatebreed’s career: half-time, stomping, barely concealed Slayer worship and a set of chest swelling lyrics barked out in Jamey Jasta’s gruff, bulldog grunts. Songs like Last Breath and Before Dishonour are still seen as classics in the band’s catalogue to this very day.
The difference between Hatebreed and many of their influences is that where a band like Madball were happy to co-exist with metal bands without feeling like they were part of the same scene, Hatebreed actively went out of their way to become the hardcore band metal fans listen to. Touring with Entombed, Slayer, Napalm Death and Deftones meant that whole groups of fans that were hearing hardcore for the first time when Hatebreed stepped onstage and launched into the short sharp blast of Empty Promises. It must have been a hell of an introduction, because Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire became Victory’s biggest selling debut album of all time.
A stint on the second stage of the short lived Tattoo The Planet tour at the start of the Millennium along with headliners Slipknot and a who’s who of modern metal giants was one of the crowning moments of the SITDOD touring cycle. Hatebreed were a talking point to such an extent that merch sold out every day and the band were greeted with some seriously furious pits.
It was the catalyst for the band heading to major label Universal, where they would release the classic Perseverance in 2002 and cementing their position as the most commercially successful hardcore band of all time. Now we think nothing of seeing punk rockers and metalheads sharing the same stage at any festival, but with Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire, Hatebreed were the band that kicked those doors down. And god bless them for that.