(hed) Planet Earth

New World Orphans

Written by: PP on 14/01/2009 21:51:34

Strange as it may sound, the only song I've ever heard by (hed) Planet Earth is the nu-metal anthem "Blackout" which came out around the same time as early stuff by Papa Roach, Linkin Park and the like, and as such I always pushed this band away from my consciousness just because of that affiliation. I guess the proverb don't judge a book by it's cover applies to music as well here, because the heavy hardcore punk influences present on their seventh album "New World Orphans" took me by complete surprise. So I'm just gonna go ahead and assume the majority of you readers don't know much more to the band than me, so a short introduction is necessary to their style. Basically, (hed) Planet Earth plays a fusion of hardcore punk, nu-metal and hip-hop, but they are also known to incorporate elements from metal and reggae into their music. Granted, that sounds awful on paper, but it works surprisingly well on record.

As the album's artwork and title already suggest, this record is about the widely known conspiracy theory known as the New World Order. This is re-iterated on the spoken-word intro track "New World Intro" before band launches into a politically charged hardcore punk assault "Live Or Die Free", which can best be described as Zach De La Rocha fronting an aggressive punk band with nu-metal and rapcore influences. It has loads of kick and adrenaline in it, and as such it serves as a great opener to an album, foreshadowing that perhaps there's something great going on in this album. It's followed by an equally fierce track "Bloodfire", which has me thinking Stuck Mojo's latest record - a scream-fest with aggressive rap-verses on top of clean melodies that kind of remind you of some System Of A Down material in a strange way. "Orbo (Ab Chao)" then returns to the spoken-word samples with an officer equipped with a megaphone announcing "president Bush, come out with your hands up, you're under arrest". The song has a promising lyrical message "think about it, you better think about it, just what the fuck is going on", but unfortunately it gets lost in stupid repetition and unnecessary profanity, which is something that plagues much of the album actually. The aforementioned reggae-element peaks out here in the form of some Skindred-sounding ragga-metal when the song gets going in the choruses. But it's first at "Family" when the band really proves it can fight in the big leagues. It has a posi-core type of punk melody to it, with easily the best chorus on the record, which seamlessly transitions into pure rap verses. While I'm not that big of a fan of the latter, this chorus alone makes "New World Orphans" worth purchasing.

By now we've reached into the seventh song, "Stepping Stone", and it's here where things start going badly for the album. Basically this is a song that could be any chart-topping R&B hit song of the moment, there's very little here to suggest that the band is punk/metal affiliated at all, until the chorus that is, where the song makes a complete morph into ripping nu-metal. Still, I'm finding it hard to imagine who exactly would be into this. The RnB crowd surely will be turned off by the heavy guitar distortion and screaming in the chorus, while the rock, metal and punk fans will absolutely despise the R&B sections. So while the album's lead single "Renegade" offers a blink of hope with it's clean-chorus/hardcore punk combo approach, "Everything All The Time" offers more rap clichés about fucking hot bitches hard and stuff. Of course, decent nu-metal chugga-chugga guitars appear in the catchy chorus here as well, but that's about the only positive in the entire song. Then we have "Work On This" featuring Tech N9ne (whoever that is) and "Babylon Fall", which are more or less pure hip hop songs, but even these are tolerable compared to "Girlfriend", which has verses with some of the worst lyricism I've heard in ages: "The KKK can't fuck with me, you can't fuck with me, I'm an untouchable street N***** [...] (female voice) daddy you know you can't resist me grabbing your dick, daddy you know you never had no pussy tighter than this, daddy you know wanna suck on these big ass tits, daddy fuck me from behind fuck fuck fuck me from behind..." etc etc. Granted, that's only on the 'red' version of the album, but still.

Of course there's lots more in between, considering there's a total of 24 tracks on the record, even if we discount for the 5 intro tracks dividing the different sections of the CD into their own entities. "Planet X" is enjoyable rapcore (I'm serious), for instance, and "Tow The Line" is more of a rock 'n' roll song. In fact, throughout the whole record there's a bit of a rock 'n' roll vibe present, maybe not musically, but in the form of a riotous, rowdy atmosphere that in places reminds you of the beautiful mess that is Mindless Self Indulgence. That's why it's such a shame that the album drifts from a literally awesome hardcore punk/nu-metal/rapcore foundation into an annoying RnB infested bullshit towards the end. Nevertheless, while "New World Orphans" might not be the ER-care nu-metal needs to get big again, it's still a strong statement that not all bands died with the movement. It's also a signal that if you're in a dying genre (metalcore take note here), innovation and incorporation of unexpected elements can sometimes be the life-jacket you need to survive from a sinking ship that's already deep underwater. There may be many elements here that'll incite hatred on scenesters and metalheads alike, but if you look at the record with an open mind, there's a whole bunch of awesome and, perhaps more importantly, ORIGINAL compositions here. In any case, 65 minutes and 24 tracks means that you can cherry-pick the best stuff from here anyway.

Download: Family, Live Or Die Free, Renegade
For the fans of: Mindless Self Indulgence, Rage Against The Machine, Kottonmouth Kings, Skindred, Stuck Mojo, Puto Diablo
Listen: Myspace

Release date 13.01.2009
Suburban Noize Records

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