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Hollywood Undead – 'New Empire Vol. 2' Album Review


1. Medicate

2. Comin’ Thru The Stereo (feat Hyro The Hero)

3. Ghost Out

4. Gonna Be Okay

5. Monsters (feat. Killstation)

6. Idol (feat. Tech N9ne)

7. Coming Home

8. Unholy

9. Worth It

10. Heart Of A Champion (feat. Papa Roach And Ice Nine Kills)

11. Idol (feat. Ghostkid)

12. Idol (feat. Kurt 92)

Hollywood Undead first turned up on my radar earlier this year, when someone recommended me the song “Time Bomb” from 'New Empire Vol. 1', which I enjoyed so much it immediately went on my Best of the Year spotify playlist, so as soon as I got offered the chance to review 'New Empire Vol. 2', I was extremely keen.

And the first word is wow. This is a sonic bombardment that really grabs you and shakes you to the bone and fuels you with excitement, anger and energy in a way only the most visceral music can. For those of you who haven’t ever heard of them, Hollywood Undead are quite hard to define. They could be Rap-Rock, they could be Nu-Metal, but they’ve got more variety than that. I think the best way to describe them would be as Industrial Rap-Metal, to a degree. They sort of feel as if Rob Zombie formed a band with the Beastie Boys and then invited everyone they knew to come and jam with them, before turning everything up to eleven and deafening everyone in the room.

For me, there are a few absolute standout tracks – the opener, “Medicate”, is great, and feels quite understated in comparison with the rest of the album – it’s got a lot of dynamic range, and doesn’t immediately batter you with sheer power. Meanwhile, it’s followed by “Comin’ Thru The Stereo” which decides to smack you around the face early on, and is an energetic song that really encourages you to get up and just jump around, or smack some shit up.

“Gonna Be Okay” feels like it should be a hit single – it’s almost Rage Against the Machine-esque, with the anger spitting out during the verses, and a surprisingly singalong chorus, and “Unholy” just has that sheer visceral rage going on, and I can just imagine a crowd screaming “You think I’m unholy, wait till you know me!” Special mention also goes to the version of “Heart Of A Champion” on here, which is a re-mixed version of the song from their previous album featuring Papa Roach and Ice Nine Kills, and is an absolute rip-roaring belter.

It’s not all brilliance though, sadly, as there’s a couple of songs I just found to be OK, and for some unclear reason (at least on the version I reviewed), there were three versions of the song “Idol”, each featuring a different guest artist, but I didn’t find them different enough to justify having three different versions of it.

However, the sheer power of this album (and indeed, of this band), was unexpected and really rather appropriate, especially for the year we’re all living through. It may not be my usual brand of Metal, but it’s definitely going to be a firm fixture on my spotify for the near future! It may not be perfect, but it's rough-edged, angry and visceral, which is always great listening as far as I am concerned.

Review - Michael Braunton


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