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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Review: (hed)p.e. - New World Orphans


(hed)p.e. - New World Orphans (N.W.O.)

2009, Suburban Noize Records

(hed)p.e. has come a long way; from party music mixing in the occasional social commentary to one of the hardest, most politically oriented acts on the table. Mixing elements of thrash metal, punk and hip-hop, (hed)p.e. responds to eight years of lionized conservative doctrine in governmental policy making with an equally lionized response born of the liberal blogosphere. (hed)p.e. markets this music as part of "The Truth Movement", purporting to tell the truth about the intent and actions of political and social elites around the world in controlling the non-elite. (hed)p.e.'s latest offering, New World Orphans (N.W.O.) is compelling listening whether you agree or disagree with their lyrical content.

(hed)p.e. leads off with Ordo (ab Chao), imploring listeners to "Think about it" in a classic thrash/punk tune about how government sows discord amongst the governed in order to maintain or consolidate power. Ordo should be a monster in the Modern Rock format, although the political climate has changed somewhat since (hed)p.e. wrote this song, at least in the US. Whether this song will reach as many as it might have under a President Bush is hard to say. It's interesting to note that (hed)p.e. doesn't seem to have much use for President Obama either. Higher Ground calls 2008 "another fake election". Oregon's The Dirtball rapid lays down the rhymes here in a rapid fire performance that will make your head spin. What becomes clear is that (hed)p.e. has become inspired by the same spirit of anarchy that drove The Sex Pistols and the entire punk movement.

Songs like Flesh And Blood implore listeners to "throw the bums out" of Washington, while songs like Planet X rip off the roof in a juxtaposition of thrash metal and an almost melodic surf/punk style. The Kottonmouth Kings sit in on Higher Ground; the liveliest song they've been associated with in several albums. Tech N9ne joins in on Work On This, tackling media driven perceptions of sex. Suffice it to say this is not an album for those with sensitive dispositions. Parents may want to think twice about letting this disc fall into the hands of impressionable ears (which of course means that every teen and tween who reads this will move mountains to listen to the album).

(hed)p.e. leaves sense and sensibility at the door in pursuit of their own version of the truth on New World Oprhans (N.W.O.). The music is amazing, and much of the album is thought provoking. At the same time a great deal of effort is expended using words and phrases to shock and awe the listener. This has the sum effect of lessening the impact of (hed)p.e.'s message. Misogynistic and homophobic language and imagery turns this into an angry diatribe born in facist doctrine rather than the sort of inspired education of the masses (hed)p.e. preaches, and begs questions about the true intent. Most likely the net effect is great market placement of music in message to invoke the appropriate number of bans and censures to ensure healthy sales, but the sum message balances of the precipice of irresponsibility at times. Ultimately New World Orphans pleases musically while leaving a lot of questions on the lyrical/message side of the coin.


Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about (hed)p.e. at http://www.newworldorphans.com/ or www.myspace.com/hedpe. You can purchase a copy of New World Orphans at Amazon.com or wherever music is sold.

1 comment:

Tim from VA said...

Couldn't agree more. I've been following (hed) for a long, long while now. I thought they were slipping, as their more recent efforts have fallen short - in my opinion, of course, barring a few decent tracks. The new album is a nice comeback. BUT (there is always a "but"), I do agree that they are a little too homophobic and misogynistic for my liking... which is a real shame.