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CD Review: (hed) p.e. – Insomnia

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Hed PE   Insomnia

Before I even start this off, I know what many of you will say as soon as you see the band name, “That’s not metal!” Unfortunately, my conversations with people about heavy music very often end up like this:  “What kind of music do you listen too?” the interested person often asks, and one reply I usually have is simply “Heavy music.” The typical response to that is “Do you mean like KORN?” and in return, I end up having the same conversation by automatically saying “No, I mean HEAVY music.” The reaction I get to that response is “Oh! You mean like SLIPKNOT!” My other attempts at getting people to understand what I listen to fail quite often. You’d be surprised how many people have never heard the word “indie”. I should just give up and start saying I listen to rock ‘n roll…

Of course, some of those people from the dreaded era of baggy zipper pants and wallet chains still exist, although many are in grown up form, and yet still claim to listen to metal. So what the hell do I know if thousands of people claim that KORN and SLIPKNOT are metal? Hell, let’s throw (hed) p.e. in there while we’re at it! I’ve yet to have Rob get pissed off enough to completely remove a post, so maybe letting this abomination get any iota of coverage will totally destroy any credibility I have left!

I was totally prepared to give this album a chance. The first track was this sparse bizarre thing with some thin guitars, harsh vocals mixed in with singing and some semi-rapping. It was weird, and I was thinking “Damn, these guys have progressed!”, or at least progressed from what I’ve heard about them (the rap metal/nu-metal deal). But no, the first track was just supposed to be one of those ambient noise intros…

It’s got be to tough on a band playing something that was popular in the last decade that gets beat up on now. What’s a band to do? Stick to their guns and continue to beat a dead horse (my buddy Rory would say “Kill him ’til he’s dead!”), or jump ship and try and capture the current trend (or some cases a trend that’s already dying). I mean, I’ve heard my fair share of nu-metalcore demos that never made it. The only hope you have is if you were actually trying to make some progress in the first place. I guess that’s why SYSTEM OF A DOWN and the DEFTONES have been able to hold on to some artistic credibility.

I don’t have the luxury of having a robot just to review nu-metal releases like Decibel Magazine does, so I guess I’ll have to take the brunt of this attack… Like I was saying before, the first track on “Insomnia”, just like a good old nu-metal cliche is to have one of those ambient noise intros. It’s too bad the band used up all their creativity on that first track. The rest of the songs are a random toss up between cliched nu-rap/metal, full on rap songs, and some strange attempt at pop-punk. I mean, hey, I’ll give anything a try, but the only way for me to take something so dated and overdone seriously is if some creativity is injected, not with a whole bunch of tough-guy talk. How can this band preach to us to know our rights when they’re busy bragging about the women they’ve slept with, how tough they can fight (and shoot), as well as how much marijuana they can smoke? I’m not just compiling a bunch stereotypes about rappers, because that’s truly what the lyrical content is about!

The whole attempt of “Insomnia” is incredibly shallow and transparent. Having one of three types of random songs doesn’t make this trite attempt any more tolerable. There’s two things that actually make this is album even more sad. First, (hed) p.e. are skilled musicians. The vocalist can pronounce his words very good, sing, and do some pretty good harsh screams as well, and the rest of the band can play their instruments in time, which is why its so saddening that they’re wasting what talent they may (or may not) have on trying to capture dead trends. The second thing that makes this sad is the whole layout of the insert, and even the cover art. The whole 50’s horror movie theme is great, and it’s represented throughout the entire CD insert.

So, at least the CD is pretty to look at if you have it…


The Official (hed) p.e. Website
(hed) MySpace
(hed) p.e. at Suburban Noize

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