01. Walk That Path Alone
02. Mourn The Illusion
03. Screams From The Sanctuary
04. Nothing They Say
05. Anthem Of The Freedom Fighter
06. Something You Should Know (feat. Phil Labonte)
07. Set You Adrift
08. Enslaved, Dead, or Depraved (feat. Randy Blythe)
09. With A Resounding Voice (feat. Tim Lambesis)
10. The Fearless Must Endure (feat. Zakk Wylde)
11. Heart Of Warrior (feat. Mike Vallely)
12. Death Bestowed (feat. Mark Morton)
It goes without saying that your opinion of Jamey Jasta’s new solo album will have a lot to do with your current opinion of Jamey Jasta himself. No one can fault him for his tireless work ethic and commitment to making music (he currently has three other bands; his main squeeze Hatebreed, as well as Kingdom of Sorrow and Icepick), but if you are not a fan of his other projects or his general vocal style, Jasta is not for you.
Jamey has claimed that these songs were ‘too different’ to put out on a Hatebreed, KoS, or Icepick album, thus electing to put them out on a solo album, but I’d argue that most of the tunes on Jasta would fit right in on an album from one of his other projects. It’s a fairly straightforward, fun album that is a bit hit-and-miss. If you are a Jamey Jasta fan you will enjoy it, if you are not you shouldn’t expect to be converted on this release.
He never strays too far from his metallic hardcore past on this record, except for a few tracks that exhibit a more melodic radio rock sound. There is a bit of experimentation here and there, but nothing too drastic. There are no acoustic ballads, dubstep interludes, or jazzy tech-death excursions; no duets with Elton John or Miley Cyrus. But this is a good thing. After all, that type of over-extension is where many a solo album has fallen flat on its face. When the artist gets the pretentious desire to say “hey look what I can do, and oh yeah I’m doing it all by MYSELF!” and decides to try every genre of music they know to show how ‘versatile’ they are—that’s when solo artists run into trouble. Aside from maybe a desire to continue showing people that he can actually sing (which anyone who has followed Kingdom of Sorrow already knows), Jasta is refreshingly devoid of this pretension. It’s not meant to be some grandiose artistic statement, it’s just a fun side project. It’s Jamey writing the type of songs he is comfortable writing, and executing them as best as he can. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much.
Album opener “Walk That Path Alone” is a Hatebreed-style ripper, and despite venturing dangerously into Five Finger Death Punch territory. “Nothing They Say” mixes heavy riffage and a big, melodic, radio-friendly chorus quite well. “Enslaved, Dead or Depraved“, “With A Resounding Voice“, and “Death Bestowed” (featuring Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe, As I Lay Dying’s Tim Lambesis, and Lamb of God’s Mark Morton, respectively) are pretty sweet tracks as well that are no doubt bolstered by their guest appearances.
But like I said man, it’s hit-and-miss. A few killer guitar solos from Zakk Wylde can’t save the mess that is “The Fearless Must Endure“, and on “Something You Should Know“, Jamey and guest vocalist Phil Labonte (from All That Remains) venture again into radio rock land, but with much worse results. Phil’s guest appearance doesn’t help the track much, but this should surprise no one who has heard the abominations that are AtR’s Overcome and For We Are Many. Elsewhere on the album, “Anthem of the Freedom Fighter“, and “Set You Adrift” also miss the mark but aren’t particularly offensive.
Overall, Jasta isn’t all that great, but it isn’t terrible either. If you are a fan, definitely give this a few spins. If you hate Jamey Jasta and think Hatebreed suck, stay far away from this album. As a big Hatebreed and Kingdom of Sorrow fan, I really wish I liked this album more. But I have nothing but respect for Jamey Jasta, and he definitely gets an A for effort. If nothing else, Jasta should do a good job tiding you over until the next Hatebreed album.
Jamey Jasta – Jasta gets: