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I was a little apprehensive to listen to (hed) Planet Earth's new album Blackout due to the widespread selling out of virtually all metal bands in the last 3 to 4 years. Fortunately, (hed) Planet Earth. took the high road and managed to create a new disc where the band stuck to its outside the box roots and even allowed them to venture into some different areas that their previous two discs, 1997's (hed) P.E., the band's self-titled debut, and 2000's Broke, weren't ready for. As far as the majority of the music industry goes, a bands third release is usually the one where they try some different things, and occasionally that is where bands tend to lose fans, however, Blackout should only bring new fans to the (hed) Planet Earth following.
One of the most noticeable differences on Blackout from (hed)'s previous releases is the downscaling of explicates used throughout the songs, especially ones that are directed at the fairer sex. Perhaps this shows a happier lyricist, also the vocalist of the band, Jahred, but maybe this is also the bands way of trying to reach a wider crowd, by not offending as many people. Either way, the lyrics on this album are better than most of the lyrics found on the previous two albums, most bands mature with time, and so did this one. It is almost as if the songs on this album were written by a different person, or come from a completely different place that anything (hed) has done before.
The music has also changed with time. Overall, the album isn't as hard and heavy as (hed) Planet Earth has been known for in the past, and there are a few more experimental tracks on Blackout than there have been in the past. Case in point, the acoustic track "Other Side," wouldn't have fit in on either of the bands other albums, because, frankly, the band just wasn't ready for it. Another track that shows a rather unexpected side of the band is the heavily reggae influenced track "Getaway." Since nü-metal is a dying genre, it is good to see that one of the most underrated bands of that style recognizing that they have to adapt to changing times, as well as the fact that they have roots that have influenced them as a band.
Blackout was the right step for (hed), and at this given point in their career changing their style up a little is the best thing they could do. With the addition of their new guitarist, Sonny Mayo (not heard on the album), formerly of Snot and Amen, and their shedding of negative vibes, (hed) Planet Earth has returned to the scene stronger than they ever were, and ready to devour the metal scene. One final note, the artwork on this album is phenomenal, in this digital era of ours, there is something to be said about an album where the cover art is still extremely good.
Jason Cipriano is the Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.