Sound: While music has had it's pretty faces that glitter underneath the camera lights, it's also had its fair share of wicked stepsisters born in the industry's underworld. Most of them have perished to the hands of radio hits and their addictive nature while others sprout from time to time (see Die Antwoord), creating followings more interested in causing riots than enjoying a night full of good tunes. California's Hed P.E. are one of these outcast groups and despite the fact it seemed like their end came and went, the group have issued their eight studio album.
Truth Rising represents Hed P.E.'s style to the fullest extent, throwing elements of reggae, punk rock and metal into a boxing ring and hitting the bell. But in this case, the group's latest effort is a more of a caricature of Limp Bizkit's troubled step-brother than a respected tribute to tracks like "Renegade". The reason being, the 22-track disc sputters along for nearly an hour of material that bashes heads with images of System Of The Down ("It's All Over", "Bad News"), heavy alternative demos ("This Fire") and off-beat hip hop stories ("Murder", "Takeover"). If you're an Insane Clown Posse devotee or an open-minded listener who enjoys a new experience for only a week, then Truth Rising is worth a spin or two. The musicianship is there as not many acts can stretch abilities over such a length, but the sound emitted on the other end doesn't match the group's previous work, thus dressing up like a soundtrack for a terrible spin-off of the Fight Night video game series. // 4
Lyrics: Truth Rising's major flaw is the tales it wraps in its comprehensive sound. "I let her climb aboard because she's my little whore / I let her drink it up because she's my little slut," boasts vocalist Jared Gomes on "Takeover", a punk rawk/hip-hop track that shamelessly borrows lines from Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up". Then there's the abundance of intros and outros that either serve their purpose or blatantly put shrew topics like fellatio on display.
For off-beat artists, Hed P.E. haven't penned anything out of character, but it's not unique. "Children Of The Fall", like a majority of the album, pushes musical protests to the forefront hoping to rival famous funk metal icons while throwing in the words "renegade" and "2012" every thirty seconds. Just when hazy rhythms appear out of the shadows ("It's Alright"), they cruise into noteworthy reggae hooks before revealing it's average punk underbelly. At least the strange acts roaming stages today are talking about more colourful subjects, like ninjas and butterflies. // 3
Overall Impression: When you dive into Hed P.E.'s catalog, there are several numbers worth checking out because they're ignited with originality that pushes its limits. Truth Rising tries to accomplish the same, but with a complex personality, it fails to recognize its boundaries, manifesting into a brainteaser of an album that resembles a B-sides collection, not a studio release. There are other artists trying to grasp the attention of listeners through unordinary techniques but instead of taking notes, studying them and putting them into action, Hed P.E. did the exact opposite and "winged it". Since music isn't a simple English exam, a passing grade is barely in their reach. // 3
- Joshua Khan (c) 2010