Hey! Remember rapcore and nu-metal? Yeah, me too, ugh! Limp Bizkit won’t let us forget. Recently, there has been resurgence in these genres. Bands like Hacktivist are updating rapcore by making it more djent. King 810 has received a lot of attention lately, mostly not for their music. One band that has been around since the beginning and is considered to be a heavy player during the genre’s infancy is (hed) p.e. Formed in 1994 in Huntington Beach, CA, (hed) p.e. have been playing their combination of gangsta rap and punk (G-punk) for the last 20 years. The band’s 9th studio album, aptly titled “Evolution,” was released on July 22, 2014 via Pavement Entertainment.
To be honest, I think the last time I listened to (hed) p.e. was when ‘Blackout’ was on the radio. I was not sure what kind of sound they were trying to go for since ‘Blackout’ sounds like Limp Bizkit and their hit before that, ‘Bartender,’ sounds like a heavier Crazy Town. Thankfully, “Evolution” does not remind me of either of those. The album starts out with bongos transitioning into the heavy groove opener ‘No Turning Back.’ Jahred’s vocals have an aggressive reggae flex that only he can pull off.
‘Lost in Babylon’ tags in next, the title referenced in the previous song. This sounds more “traditional” for (hed) p.e. but heavier and minus the DJ scratching. ‘Jump the Fence’ slows it down a bit, but keeps it thick and groovy with a main riff reminiscent of classic Rage Against the Machine. ‘2 Many Games’ has a distinct Zeppelin feel to it, but Jahred’s vocals make the track uniquely (hed) p.e. A few more tracks in and we hit lead single ‘One More Body.’ This track, like the two before it and the one after, remind of a little lighter Candiria.
‘The Higher Crown,’ an odd background noise/transitional instrumental interlude opens the “and now for something completely different” section of the album. The final three tracks, ‘Nowhere 2 Go,’ ‘Let it Burn,’ and ‘Hold On’ are full on reggae. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think some Rastafarian high jacked your mp3 player. It is a very interesting way to close out the record. I am not sure if this is a hint of things to come, or if the band is just experimenting. Either way, like I said, it is interesting.
If you are like me and have not listened to (hed) p.e. in a while, “Evolution” is a good re-introduction. It’s not trendy and it’s not trying to revive a should-be-gone derivative genre. I think it is (hed) p.e. honestly being who they want to be right now. This, to me, sounds pretty cool.