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“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it Shine!”
Words spoken by the ultimate MC, Jared Gomes AKA JahRed, and as someone who generally steers clear of hip-hopesque tunes I can assure that this man’s lyrics and piercing voice will make you think twice about Rap Metal as a genre.
Never has screaming “MOTHER FUCKER!” sounded so good. Misogynistic perhaps, but it cuts through the layers of filtered PC bullshit that have saturated the airwaves, our TVs and newsfeed for far too long. Perhaps brazen in its boasts, the music of (Hed)PE says all the things that we tend to keep locked deep down. Forgetting the pretense that music needs to be fickle and family-friendly , this band shatters doors and punches you in the fucking gut with it’s powerful anthems of disillusion and self-medication.
The screeching is faded in and out of tracks which are heavy with spiritual soul-food that is nothing short of profound revelation! A band that once had all the trappings of fame: the big label, the good money, and the radio-friendly airplay, and yet chose to shun the commercial and delve deep into obscurity. It was here where myself and a select few found their gospel as a result of having heard their very first album, Broke, all those years ago.
An ever-changing ensemble of musicians, this quartet tours the states year after year to a crowd that shares the angst, fear and hatred which is so prevalent in (Hed)PE’s music. Even before having had a drink, there was something about “Bartender” that shook me to my very core; a song about choosing to disconnect and the ramifications thereof. I found my thirteen-year-old self rocked and shocked by the earth-shattering guitar that cascades into the melodic drumming and rhyme infused madness – madness that I would come to know as (hed)pe.
Look, if the word rape offends you and if you’ve lived a sheltered life of picket fences and golden retrievers, then this music is certainly not going to be your cup of tea. Since their inception in Huntington Beach, California in 1994 the band has shifted gears so many times that their style can only be called what they themselves have dubbed GPUNK.
2016 has since given birth to their latest offering and 10th studio album, namely Hed(PE)-Forever, and everything I’ve ever known about the band would once again be born anew as another winning 13 track album made it’s way to my ears.
“Liv” is the perfect opening track, building and rising up until it slides into the power guitar that gives way to slamming rhymes and the signature message that Hed(PE) stands for: Truth and Love. Cliché perhaps, but dished to you in a format that your brain will struggle to understand as it pays an unspoken tribute to the whaling of Bob Marley.
Don’t believe me then check it out for yourself:
The next dose of profanity is served to you in PAY ME with screams that lead into echoing roars that fill you with power and remind you of what it is to fight and never give up. Perhaps I’m biased, but I see it as a payoff that only comes from feeling every sliding scale riff and sampling of voices reminding you of the failings of capitalism and all its trappings.
Drum machine intros are shattered by seriously heavy metal that comes forth every time a song starts, as is demonstrated by Closer, punding the floor with it’s speed and ferocity. Much can be said for the talent that makes up the current band; JahRed, Jeremiah “Trauma” Stratton, Greg “Gregzilla” Harrison and Kurt “Kid Bass” Blankenship, who have somehow managed to capture a sound that is brutal but beautiful at the SAME FUCKING TIME!
“Quick Fix keep searching for the main line, help me find a vein I’m not alright!”
Despite phrases like the one above, this band is more about positivity and taking pride and power in who you are, whatever the fuck you are, whoever the fuck
I love this band\ and will for years to come, and you should too once you’ve given it a listen. Not a once-off play through, a thorough bonding session where
you kick back and tune into something bigger than yourself.
Be part of a legion, be part of Hed(PE)……..Forever
Veteran freelance journalist & student of Gonzo who's every word can only pay homage. "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."- Dr. Hunter S. Thompson