Album Review: (Hed) PE – Forever

Yes, Hed is still alive and releasing albums. Yes, I still listen to and like them. You know why? Because on top of them doing legitimately good rap metal, I sincerely think that Jahred is one of the most underrated vocalists in rock.

Let me expand on that for a second before I review the album. He can pull off so many vocal styles, its just crazy. If you’ve never given them a chance because of some stupid musical prejudice against rap metal or possibly the ICP association (yeah, ICP sucks but that has nothing to do with this band) this is a really good album to check out. He can sing, rap, scream, harmonize, go all Prince screechy, do some straight up death metal, and even throw in some Manson-esque gravel. The dude has got pipes and, unfortunately, due to the type of music he does (and some really, really shitty misogynist or just crazy lizard people lyrics) he is often overlooked.

OK, onward to the album itself. Its pretty damn good, actually. They take the more straightforward heavy rock sound they started with on their last album and keep it going here. They do some surprisingly heavy stuff as well. Pay Me is probably the heaviest riffing I’ve ever heard on a Hed album. The hooks on songs like Hurt get stuck in your head too. Its just a damn well written album all around. Its less bouncy and aggressive than a lot of their earlier work, but the songs themselves make it work and I would bet that it translates great to a live setting.

Another pleasant surprise, for me anyway, is how much I liked the dub style tracks. I HATE reggae and dub with a passion. But somehow, the keen songwriting on this album carries over well enough to these tracks for me to like them. Take Shadowridge. That is probably the first time I have ever legitimately liked a song in that vein.

I do have 2 minor gripes about the album. One is the abrupt change in styles. Hed did this on their last album too. The first tracks are heavy, and then after that, the entire end of the album is not. Its just such an odd decision. Why not work the other songs into the track flow? Its like they had 2 different EPs and just smashed them together. My only other gripe is that all the heavier songs sound about 5bpm too slow. Its an odd feeling, but that’s what I get out of it. Just speed them all up a tiny bit and they would rock so much harder and have a ton more life to them. Instead, they often feel like they can’t quite get going.

As for the sound, its definitely their best sounding album since being on a major label in the early 2000’s. Its nice and clean, with a great balance to everything. I’m not really sure what else to say about it other than it sounds great. All the instruments come through cleanly and, though its not a very spacious mix, it hits hard and sounds good loud.

I guess that about wraps it up. This is a solid offering from Hed and actually a pretty good jumping off point if you’ve never checked out the band before. I know rap-rock or whatever is out of favor right now but I don’t care. These guys were and continue to be the cream of the crop in that genre.

Check out their youtube stream of the album below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP6egMvxvkg&list=PLwYoR20o9hnPIjpjQQpIOJCas9sHvMks7

 

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Album Review: (Hed) PE – Forever

Quickie Review Compendium

This is a collection of the little “quickie reviews” I used to post before i started this blog.

  • Job For A Cowboy – Sun Eater
    • Ummmm, wow. Not sure what to say. That’s how different and brave it is. It’s like nothing this band has done before. It has straight death, tech, prog, a bit of black. All of these blending together for a sound that is totally unique. It hits some great highs, its dense and layered with impressively intricate songwriting. My only complaint is a slight lack of traditional “hooks”, but with music like this, things like “hooks” may not even be applicable. The best way I can come up with to describe it is – This may be the album of the year, and I’m not even sure if I like it.
  • Unearth – Watchers of Rule
    • I haven’t been punched the face this hard since Lamb of Gods “As the Places Burn” I mean, it’s like they took all the awesomeness building up from the last two mediocre albums and then distilled it into a liquid which they used to down speed. Sure, it’s still Unearth, but they are Unearthing harder than they have Unearthed in a good long while. The leads rip, the songs kick hard and the drums, oh man, the DRUMS! They were the missing element in the last couple, but not anymore. Fracking awesome.
  • DFA 1979 – The Physical World
    • I love this album. Its catchy as hell, with just the right amount of dirt and grit to make it interesting. Its basically just the DFA from “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine” cleaned up a bit….but not too much. In short- poppy, dirty perfection with some oomph. If you liked the previous album, go buy this one. If you have never heard them before, just go buy this anyway.
  • Slipknot – The Grey Chapter
    • Slipknot brings the ruckus like only they can. Great album. All the tracks are awesome in their own way. I’d put it on par with Vol 3. Way above the pile of crap that was All Hope is Gone (not that that was hard to do). Only 2 complaints, both very minor. 1) The production is a little TOO clean. And since mixing duties were handled by two different people, some of the tracks are too drum heavy so you can’t hear the guitars or bass well. 2)The “Deluxe” edition in CRAP and a waste of money. Of the 5 bonus tracks, 3 are nothing (seriously, nothing!) Override is terrible and The Burden is awesome.
  • Suicide Silence – You Can’t Stop Me
    • Never been huge fan and only own one of their albums, but I heard a track of this and picked it up. Very glad I did. New vocalist Eddie just kills it here. This album has so much energy on it. It sounds like the band just got together and rehearsed the hell out of these songs. This album doesn’t have that fake, overproduced sound that is so prevalent in metal. It just sets out to make you head-bang, and succeeds in spades. Right now its my “awesome surprise” of the year.
  • Hed PE – Evolution
    • Wow, someone’s been listening to some Black Sabbath and AIC. Not that that is a bad thing, just kinda different for these guys. This is very much the guitarist’s album. Pretty solid outing, if lacking a bit of energy. All the songs feel about 5-10 BPM too slow.
  • SEPTICFLESH-official- – Titan
    • I normally hate using flowery verbiage in these as I like to write actual reviews of the music, but this album deserves more, so here we go……This album sounds like the end of the world. This is doom metal. Not the slow/sludge genre of doom. This album actually sounds like the apocalypse. This isn’t “symphonic black metal” or anything like that. The feel is totally different. There is no grim and frosty northwind here. This album channels fear and evil in the grandest way possible. It is the end of everything in the most epic way imaginable. Simply put, this album lives up to its name, it is a Titan.
  • Whitechapel – Our Endless War.
    • Two easy descriptors – this band has matured and this album is dense as all get out. I think it’s a grower. I’ve listened through 3 full times and like it more each time, but I still feel a little like its lacking hooks. Songs are amazingly well constructed and the album sounds fantastic. It’s just hard to see through the songs, if that makes sense. I really want to say it’s amazing like their last one, but I can’t say that. I will however stipulate that I can’t say that YET and it may still happen. As it stands right now, it’s a good album and they have branched their writing out very well.
  • Triptykon – Melena Chasmata
    • Pretty good, but nothing spectacular. Nothing really gels. The lead guitarist and drummer are the only things elevating it above a collection of mediocre doom/sludge songs. And boy, do they try really hard to make these songs special. but the songs just aren’t special, they are competent.
  • Skindred – Kill the Power
    • Holy crap, this is what pop metal should be. This is what all those radio metal bands are trying to do, but can’t quite pull off. The electronics are worked in flawlessly, the hooks are mind blowingly awesome, the heavy is heavy and grooving, real emotion permeates everything. I know I love these guys and have for awhile, but their last album was lackluster and I was afraid they lost the spark. Then they turn around and release what is possibly the best album of their careers 5 albums in. Awesome.
  • Lorelei – Lore of Lies
    • Damn fine debut album. Mixes some groove in with some death, black, and symphonic. Some of the choices, especially with the vocals and some of the arrangements, are a little weird, but that is why we all love debuts. They aren’t as slick as later albums as the band is still finding their footing and, more importantly, taking stylistic chances. I hope these guys keep it up and don’t become run of the mill, homogenized metal, as what they are doing now is more unique. Seriously though, turn the dang snare down a bit.
  • Ovid’s Withering – Scryers of the Ibis
    • This is one of the best metal albums of the last year. It has everything – straight death, black, symphonic, djent, you name it, all woven together with perfection. Technical, memorable, epic as hell. Just go buy it. For real. It’s like the first time I heard Meshuggah, Fleshgod Apocalypse, or The Faceless. Phenomenal.
Quickie Review Compendium