Hollywood Undead are a divisive band – caught somewhere between nu-metal, metalcore, rap, rock, and something else entirely, the band exist as either rabid fascination piece or derisively mocked on any number of heavy music forums. Metalheads can be vicious, this personality is bred into the mindset and into the music. Metalheads viciously defend and viciously attack, and both of these are common themes for Hollywood Undead.
I’ve been aware of the band for some time, but I came of age, and came of metal long before their particular brand was something that I would have grown up with. I’m considered an early millenial, as I push the age of 35. My own musical taste was always more anachronistic than modern, something which is reflected in my interview with Hollywood Undead’s Johnny 3 Tears. For those not already painfully aware, Hollywood Undead aren’t the typical band to be featured around here in the graveyard, and that’s one of the reasons I endeavoured to check out their new album and I was pleasantly surprised.
Like I said in my interview, I really liked California Dreaming, the leading single from the album “Five”. It’s catchy and with some minor edits would probably be radio friendly. The music is palatable for a wide range of audiences and the sheer catchiness of the song really worked for me. As J3T stated in our interview, he was largely inspired by Anthony Kiedis’s sing along vocals in the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and that is very much reflected here. “Whatever It Takes” and the final track “Your Life” were particular weak links for me, with more bravado than I thought seemed necessary, but this seems standard in this particular brand of metal. “Whatever It Takes” also has a bit of an Eminem influence to some of the vocal delivery which worked for these guys. There’s a very Eminem/Limp Bizkit/Linkin Park/1990s rap rock sound that carries through the album which bears an interesting dichotomy of oddly deep lyrics, mixed with overstated cock rock male machismo. In “California Dreaming”, an “as above so below” reference is made and this bit of occult alchemical truth, mixing the sacred and profane seems to carry as a theme through the album. Lyrics like Bad Moon’s, “loneliness is the only bitch who holds me” and references from Broken Record’s “frosted tips/chain wallet” and Cashed Out’s seeming ode to women in thong underwear, mix with oddly poetic pieces like “Ghost Beach” which lament what has become of LA.
The take turns vocals of the three vocalists showcase not only the similarities but the differences in style and vocal delivery.
This is a very odd album – the varying styles seem to move at times like one united voice and then like a disjointed chaotic chorus. I get it though, and in my brief moments since completing my interview with Johnny 3 Tears, I have seen what this band means to a lot of people. Countless twitter accounts are dedicated to the Hollywood Undead, and it seems like there are countless experiences out there detailing just how this band got individuals through hard times. I always get brought back to moments like this when I see people shit slinging online for various bands or artists or whatever. I wish metalheads could come to a consensus and allow people to enjoy things, and moreover I wish we could just accept that not every piece of art out there is going to be made for us. I didn’t expect to enjoy this album as much as I did, and the truth is straight up that I like this one. It’s not a perfect album, of course – few are.
All I can say about this one is a simple thanks – thanks for making this noise. Thanks for helping people get through the shitty times. And again – thanks to the Hollywood Undead for being bros and putting up with our particular brand of buffoonery.
Hollywood Undead’s new album “Five” aka “V” is out October 27th 2017. Preorder the album on iTunes or other places you buy your music. And for the record – buy the fucking album. Don’t download. This one is good.
You can find Hollywood Undead online:
The Hollywood Undead are touring Western Canada:
You can find the oldblackgoat on twitter wondering if Bigfoot eats ass and searching for pumpkin spice rolling papers.