(hed)p.e. – The DIY Guys [CD/DVD]
Suburban Noize Records (7/8/08)
Punk / Metal / Hip-hop
It’s nice to know the constraints that sometimes come with being signed to a major label never seemed to destroy the spirit that (hed)p.e. brought to its music.
On The DIY Guys, the group offers up a smattering of hits, new songs (in a live settling) and unreleased material, tearing through every song with abandon, and melding metal, hip-hop and punk in a way very few bands would even think of attempting.
The live songs, recorded at the Key Club in Hollywood, do a good job of translating what the band has to offer on stage. It’s pretty raw, both in presentation (nothing appears to have been tweaked after the fact in the studio) and in product (the band has a sick energy on stage that it’s had a difficult time capturing in the studio at times).
A couple of high points to look for: new tracks “War on the Middle Class” and “Niteclub in Bali” (recorded live) are fantastic little punk gems; “Ordo ab Chao” with its hints of reggae blended into the stereotypical (hed)p.e. attack; the extremity of “Bloodfire” that just oozes urgency; and the live version of “The Truth” (from 2005’s Only in Amerika), one of the band’s best songs that sounds 10 times better when coupled with the live energy of the club.
While it’s supposed to be a CD/DVD combo, the DVD portion of the package is more of an added bonus. Featuring a mockumentary of life on the road (the vignettes look staged for the most part) that also features a handful of live tracks and a couple of music videos (for “Suffa”, “Get Ready” and “Represent”), the disc is what it is, but is definitely not the meat and potatoes of the set.
That (hed)p.e. has been able to keep the intensity after over a decade of releasing albums, and survived despite a few missteps, The DIY Guys is a welcome little surprise. Nothing on here is groundbreaking, and a lot of it is raw (which is good, for the most part), so while this is a perfectly serviceable addition to the band’s catalogue, it might not be the best album to win over new fans.