Hollywood Undead first burst onto the scene with debut album Swan Songs taking the music world by surprise. Combining an entertaining mix of heavy rock anthems and hip hop madness, essentially nu metal for the modern generation, the Los Angeles six piece provided the ultimate soundtrack to adolescent house parties all over America.
Although after losing lead vocalist Deuce, the band recruited former American Idol contestant Danny Murillo for second album American Tragedy where they made a turn for the worst sounding like an aimless Linkin Park lacking in originality and losing in popularity.
Two years later Hollywood Undead are back with the perfect middle ground between the previous two records, Notes From The Underground redeems the error of the bands ways. Replacing most of the embarrassing teenage house party lyrics with much darker themes (still with that tongue in cheek attitude) and an overall heavier sound.
What’s nice to see is that the band haven’t made the seemingly popular addition of dubstep to their tracks like so many of their peers. Instead they’ve progressed their sound. The flows are stronger and the melodies are just ready to be screamed back at them live. As single ‘We Are’ bursts into life you can tell Murillo is now comfortable in his own skin, no longer an imitation of Chester Bennington. ‘Kill Everyone’ and ‘Dead Bite’ are possibly the most sinister the band have ever been lyrically as they seem ready to head into some kind of rebellion.
Admittedly the band trip over some bad habits with ‘Pigskin’. As important as it was to the launch of their career you’d have thought that Hollywood Undead would have left the get drunk take drugs attitude behind them. Albeit a catchy chorus the paper thin ‘Up in Smoke’ sounds like an Eminem b- side that would make Cypress Hill wet themselves in laughter.
Still the good far outweighs the bad and ‘Outside’ acts as an epic crescendo to the album making you gasp for more. What could be an early contender for rock album of the year, Hollywood Undead have stepped up their rap rock game and have certainly ended this chapter on bigger high than their last.