Review: “Last Ones Standing” from (hed)p.e. and Dropout Kings!

Having spent a lot of time touring the US together, a collaboration between Huntington Beach California G-Punk outfit (hed)p.e. and Trap Metal masters Dropout Kings is the next logical step in their mutually beneficial relationship and the result is “Last Ones Standing“, a split EP that bridges the gap between Nu-Metal and Trap Metal with weight and integrity. So we’ve got four cuts with both bands playing their part on one of each others cuts while also offering up a fresh one of their own…

First up is “Bartenders” a new version of the huge (hed)p.e. classic “Bartender” from their seminal albums “Broke“. It has to be said that it’s a risk when a band take on a classic either as a cover, a remix or a reinterpretation but here they have managed to get it right with a less is more mantra. Additional vocal parts from Adam Ramey enhance the track, the change in guitar tone adds a Trap Metal vibe and DJ Lethal takes things home with a lot work on the turntables that throwback to the early days of the Huntington Beach crew. The result is a modernization of the original without taking anything away from what makes it a such a great track. “Hey Uh” then brings the darkness with an eerie sample loop and a big stuccato riff building the tension. It sounds like it was recorded in the same sessions as last year’s “GlitchGang” album and also gives the opportunity for some call and response in the live shows, it’s a stone cold banger from Dropout Kings. “Boot Hill” throws back to cuts like “Pay Me” from (hed)p.e. with a chunky riffs, sung chorus and a rapped verses, the addition of a couple of harmonica solos giving it that real southern vibe and all together it works really well. It ain’t going to make the bands live set with so many classics already in there but it’s an offering that bodes well for the next album. As with the reinterpretation of “Bartender”, the remix of “GlitchGang” is one which doesn’t take away from the original and instead embellishes it with extra vocal parts from the trio of guests, maintaining that eerie sample loop and those heavy guitars to build the atmosphere of darkness. It’s the guitars cutting across all four tracks that makes “Last Ones Standing” a triumph of a split EP, conjoining things in a way which holds everything together and makes this less of a complication and more of a smooth ride with slick transitions between the tracks. If they should decide to do a sequel then we’d be down for that [7.5/10]

Track Listing

  1. (hed)p.e. – “Bartenders” (ft. Dropout Kings and DJ Lethal of Limp Bizkit)
  2. Dropout Kings – “Hey Uh”
  3. (hed)p.e. – “Boot Hill” (ft. Hard Target)
  4. Dropout Kings – “GlitchGang” (remix) (ft. (hed)p.e., Crazy Town, & Twiztid)

Last Ones Standing” from (hed)p.e. and Dropout Kings is out now via Suburban Noize Records

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