red lights

(hed) ache

(hed) pe

(hed) Planet Earth - Blackout
(Jive Records)
1 1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: April 14, 2003

Review by Tony Bonyata

Ah, just what the world needs - another watered down rap-metal act, filled with forced screams aping passion, squirrely vocals and 'oh, so cool' turntable scratchings over predictable metal riffs. Yep, if that's your bag kids, then (hed) Planet Earth's latest album Blackout is just what you've been waiting for.
From the opening statement "Ladies and gentlemen let's get ready to [in the voice of Cookie Monster] DESTROY," the album's dense, neanderthal tone is immediately sealed. Lead singer Jahred holds court throughout the album with a voice that transforms from a ridiculous monstrous roar to annoying white-boy rappings that merely nip at the heels like a pestering poodle, rather than pose any real threat (which is what I assume they had in mind). And the demonic vocal delivery of "sha-la-la's" on "Crazy Life" comes off like Beelzebub in a sequined skirt shimmying along with The Shirelles. Funny stuff for sure. Too bad it's not intentional, though.
This Huntington Beach, California-based band has spent the last few years backing up the likes Slipknot, Korn, Linkin Park and Papa Roach, and much of the musical foppery of these bands - mixing heavy metal and hip-hop with less than satisfactory results - has rubbed off on them. And it ain't pretty.
When the band does branch out a bit, as on the ska-infused metal of "Get Away," or when they simply stick to a more straight ahead metal attack, without all the white-boy rap posturing, as on "Revelations" they actually show some potential. But, surprisingly, it also seems that they're willing to do just about anything for exposure, as proved on the limp-wristed, radio friendly slice of pop on "Other Side" that, for even the fervent fan, should garner cries of "sellout."
I predicted the death of this type music a year ago, but with bands like Linkin Park currently smoking the charts and (hed) Planet Earth selling in excess of a quarter million on their last album Broke, this will, no doubt, help again resuscitate the tired tradition of asinine rap / metal, a genre which should have thrown in the towel right after the late, great Rage Against The Machine called it a day. But, then again, what do I know? I like rock 'n' roll.

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