Review: Hollywood Undead – Five

In 2005 Myspace created a label purely to sign bands who use their platform. One band exploded on the scene back in the days where Tom was a hybrid, a foreseer and one of the forefathers of staring at your phone. Myspace welcomed a rap rock band, Hollywood Undead to their fold.

A band of brothers wearing face masks with pseudonyms, but are not Slipknot, Insane Clown Posse or back-up singers in an Eminem video. Hollywood Undead found a niche in the market and proceeded to show the world via Myspace their own music entity.

A few years down the line, these masked Californians release a fifth studio album via their own label. They’ve called it Five and it’s ten years since their debut mega selling record Swan Song.

Five opens with “California Dreaming”, a nice anthem for the fans to chant along to its radio-friendly feel. The band change direction with “Whatever It Takes”, an aggressive hip hop flow put together with an agreeable repetitive beat. “Bad Moon” is clean vocals with a gentle touch of electronic rhythm allowing fans of certain genres to enjoy it as one.

Five is an eclectic flavoured record, for example, if you’re a fan of Duran Duran you’ll be into “Ghost Beach”.  Next it heads into a rap beat and lyrics – “Stories tucked in my notebook but I won’t ever read ‘em cos I’m too afraid to look / Back on the wrong side of the tracks because if I ever do I might not come back”. This is “Broken Record” changing the flow of the album once again. These collective musicians offer their own personality on each tune.

Rap royalty enters “Black Cadillac”, even before he arrives on scene the tune is a highlight of the album. When rap rock is done right, it sounds wonderful, it sounds fresh and feels like unison. We have to wait two minutes forty seconds before Cypress Hill and Prophets of Rage icon B-Real arrives and does what B-Real in his unique nasal styled hip hop flow can do.

Another highlight is “Riot”, electronic sound speeds with vocalists’ searching for answers, but have not found one. This is a collective camaraderie as they chant – “Fuck that shit, let’s start a riot”, mentioning ladies, rehab and how the vocalist thinks he’s been drinking too much and he’s done. But forget that – let’s start a riot. It’s a party tune, a track which can be played at a rock venue and the beat allows it portrayed at a dance club. The boys and girls will go crazy but not crazy in a “break stuff” way.

“We Own The Night” is an anthem. These guys have a great mind for music, they know what’ll get the crowd jumping, get the crowd dancing, and get the “Oooh did they just say that?” And getting the bobbers of heads to do their thing on edges of the mosh pits and/or dance floors.

The end of Five is near. “Bang Bang” continues its aggression duetting with clean vocals. Ending with “Your Life” as the masked collective of Hollywood Undead, Johnny 3 Tears, J-Dog, Charlie Scene, Funny Man and Danny all concoct an album giving fans more musical pleasure and another reason to seem them live.

Their performances have been spoken about since birth. Maybe it’s time for me to go along and witness a Hollywood Undead show and – guess what – they’re on their North American tour and in January they venture their hip hop metal music to the shores of the United Kingdom.

  • 24th – O2 Academy, Glasgow
  • 25th – Academy, Manchester
  • 26th – O2 Academy, Birmingham
  • 27th – The LCR UEA, Norwich
  • 30th – KOKO, London

Five is released on 27th October

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