(həd) p.e. – “Class of 2020” review

(həd) p.e. is a g-punk outfit from Huntington Beach, California masterminded by Jahred Gomes. From their first 2 albums under Jive to their first stint on Suburban Noize in the mid-2000s, these guys have truly been making a name for themselves for over 25 years whether that be their eclectic sound or the more political lyrics on their most recent output. They returned to Subnoize last year for their 11th album Stampede & to mark the 20th anniversary of their sophomore effort Broke this weekend, Jahred & company are celebrating with a sequel.

The album kicks off with “First Blood”, where Jahred angrily talks about how we’re all living in sin over some head-banging instrumentation. The next song “Watch It Burn” gets confrontational over some popping drums alongside a chugging guitar lead while the track “No Days Off” screams about putting his life on the line everyday & the soundscapes on here are electrifying. The song “Death Awaits” is sure to get the pits going whenever we can have live shows again from while the track “Last Call” is an enjoyable reggae/rock fusion.

The song “Ole Time Sake” is kind of a throwback to 80’s metal as the lyrics talk about being young at heart while the track “Greedy Girl” is a slow, melodic ballad expressing Jahred‘s affection for the titular character. The song “Nothing Lasts 4Ever (The Ballad of C19)” is an optimistic response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic while the penultimate track “We the People” gets on the political side of things & the hellish instrumentation are absolutely perfect. The closer “Overdue” has a depressive & confessional tone to it that I really enjoy, but the hook is a bit too robotic for me personally.

Even though the quartet seems to be self-aware that Stampede didn’t resonate with hardcore fans due to it’s heavy usage of auto-tune, this is a great return to form for them. Jahred Gomes’ vocals are still remarkably commanding & the sound on here is a refreshing callback to (həd) p.e.’s early work.

Score: 4/5

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