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Screw the mainstream if you really want to get your rocks off you have to go to the underground. That's just what we plan to do with this series, take some of the best emerging bands that are out blowing away hardcore fans on the underground music scene.

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(hed) Planet Earth
By Kim George
"It's not the end of the world
It's just a phase
They all love to see you fall
Flat on your face
As hard as I try
They underestimate"

"Suck it Up" – track from the new (hed) Planet Earth. CD, "Blackout"

"That's a credo for me" declares (hed) Planet Earth's frontman Jahred, when speaking about his band's new CD, "Blackout". "The first words of the album are very personal. It's not a story. It's life."

(hed) Planet Earth (also known as (hed) and/or (hed) P.E.) is an alternative hip-hop, hardcore punk rock hybrid hailing from Huntington Beach, California. The band is comprised of Jahred (vocals), Wes (guitar), Mawk (bass), B.C. (drums), DJ Product (turntables, samples) and newcomer Sonny Mayo (guitar) – who replaces former guitarist, Chad.

Jahred and Wes formed (hed) P.E. back in 1994 after becoming disappointed in the progressive punk scene in which they grew up. They became friends after noticing that they were always seeing each other at the same punk rock and hip-hop shows in Orange County.

Rather than follow their punk comrades into the world of straight hardcore, (hed) chose to build their heavy funk-hop sound on the principles of hip-hop, giving them a Red Hot Chili Peppers meets the illest of rappers vibe. Before (hed) could blink an eye, they were selling out clubs all over Orange County.

The band's unique sound can be heard on their 1995 indie release "Church of Realities". A couple years later, in 1997, (hed) inked a major label deal with Zomba (a division of Jive). Their self-titled debut CD included the remastered singles from their indie release, "I.F.O" and "Ground."

After their full-length debut dropped, (hed) hit the touring circuit and shared stages with Static-X, Slipknot, Korn, Kid Rock, System of a Down and many other heavy-hitters. After which point, they put together one of the tightest and freshest CDs, titled "Broke".

Full of heavy beats and deep grooves, critics and fans alike were confident "Broke" would send (hed) out into the stratosphere among the ranks of bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and SOAD. Instead, "Broke" only shifted 250,000 units, Despite the fact "Broke" continues to push copies three years after its initial release date, (hed) is still regarded by many as the industry's biggest secret, just waiting for a big break.

After the release of "Broke", (hed) resumed touring, sharing the bill with bands such as P.O.D., Metallica, Slayer, Linkin Park, Korn, Slipknot and Papa Roach. Then frontman Jahred went through a rough period of self-destruction after he realized some of his so-called friends were just a figment of his imagination. Explains Jahred "I was going through a lot of turmoil…I was feeling really suicidal, felt really double-crossed by so-called friends who turned out to be really evil friends."

During this period of self-realization, Jahred put his thoughts and experiences on paper and this transcended into amazing lyrics that helped fuel the fire for (hed) P.E.'s latest CD, "Blackout".

"Blackout" is a collection of 14 hard hitting and in your face tracks with infectious grooves. If fans are expecting a "Broke" Part II, you'll be disappointed. "Blackout" is what it is; it demonstrates the evolution and maturation of (hed) as a band, most notably the progression in lyrical content.

The first single and video is the album's self-titled track, "Blackout". The single was released for radio airplay on February 3rd and it quickly generated much buzz. The first single garnered over 80 adds its first week out, making it the #2 Most Added track at Active Rock radio and the #3 Most Added track at Modern Rock radio. While another track may have better represented the new CD, the single "Blackout" continues to burn up the rock charts and is getting heavy spins on some of the more prestigious alternative stations.

A better-suited first single would have been the track "Suck It Up," which was influenced by sports. Explains Jahred, "It's a jock song. You know - to get pumped up and s***. Like before you go into the octagon for ultimate fighting and s*** like that. I was kind of thinking of Tito Ortiz from Huntington Beach, CA when I wrote that song." Ironically and appropriately, "Suck it Up" is also featured on EA Sports Madden NFL 2003 video game.

There aren't any sleepers on "Blackout" but a few tracks are worthy of being singled out. Stand out tracks include "Suck it Up," "Bury Me" and "Flesh and Bone," which bears a Red Hot Chilli Peppers vibe...that is, until Jahred lets loose during the song's loop. The best track on "Blackout" is "Crazy Life." The song is fresh, funky and mimics (hed)'s earlier efforts. In fact, it's the only track that closely resembles the vibe of (hed) previous CD, "Broke".

Jahred does an amazing job switching up the vocals on "Blackout"; there is still some reggae influence (i.e., "Get Away" and "Carnivale") and he even slows it down a bit on the melodic tracks "Half a Man" and "Other Side."

"Blackout" is a well produced, written and musically sound CD. It entered the Billboard charts at #33 its first week and was named Billboard's "Hotshot Debut"; a term given to the highest debut of the week. "Blackout" also landed on SoundScan's "Current Alternative Albums" chat at #13 and "Top Hard Music Albums" chart at #6. All of these stats mark the highest debuts in the band's nine-year career.

CD Rating: 9/10. The CD was worth the wait (the release date was pushed back more than once) but "Blackout" doesn't have the "oomph" of "Broke". It is, however, still a very solid, fresh and funky CD. To date, one of the strongest CDs released in 2003.

The Band

Jahred – Vocals
Wes – Guitar
Sonny – Guitar
Mawk – Bass
B.C. – Drums
DJ Product – Turntables, samples

Discography
CD Info and Links

(hed) Planet Earth - Blackout
Label: Jive
Rating:

Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

April 03 - (hed) is currently on the road, performing on the Jagermeister Music Tour, co-headlining with Saliva. For current news on (hed), tour dates, audio, video and more, hit up the band's official website at www.hedpe.com


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