I suppose that we should give California quintet HED P.E. some credit to sticking to their rap-metal (or G-Punk, as they like to call it) guns when everyone else in that relatively short-lived trend has either gone away or thrown that style overboard. But on the other hand, what HED has to say on its fourth album, "Only In Amerika", is so exhausted, so cliched, and so downright dumb in places that the record sounds dated almost as soon as it starts playing.
Slimmed down from a six-piece with a new drummer (former OTEP skinsman Moke) and guitar player, HED still centers around the schizophrenic vocals of band leader Jahred, whose lyrics often attempt to sound threatening or dangerous but come across as faintly ridiculous. His over-the-top use of "fuck," "bitch," "pussy," and various other golden oldies may still seem shocking to him but now come across as juvenile or petty. Most nonsensical of all may be "War", which veers from lyrics about splitting the atom to fucking someone "doggy on the stairs." Most of the rest of the tunes spend their time railing against enemies ranging from the corporate music industry to Al Qaeda to the many other "sluts" and "faggots" who make Jahred's life miserable.
There is a certain raw energy and frenzy to the music here that was missing from the band's slicker "Blackout" (2003), although the necessarily low-budget production renders a lot of the sounds quite thin as well. That leaves most of the burden on Jahred's shoulders, but his rants just begin to all sound the same after a while.
Jahred likes to paint himself as some sort of martyr at the altar of corporate rock, claiming that record labels are too afraid of his brand of illicit-drugs-sex-and-violence-drenched music, and he may have a point there. There's also the possibility that much of the material carries a satirical edge, but that's hard to discern amidst all the chest-beating, latent homophobia, and misogyny. It could also just be that less and less people care about the tired, overwrought, woman-hating, gay-bashing stupidity that makes up HED's view of the world. Jahred should at least appreciate the fact that only in America could someone have so little to say and still find a venue to say it.