Hollywood Undead brings us their sixth studio release with “New Empire Vol. 1” In what is supposed to be a change in direction and new sound that is fresh while still being Hollywood Undead, it is all of that and none of it. The music is still a mixture of nu metal and rap which is what they have always done.
However, this album though takes it further with being a little heavier at times and way more melodic at other times full of melodies and hooks that make these songs instantly memorable and you find yourself singing them even when the album is done.
But the biggest difference is the lyrics. There is still the aggression you have always seen, but they seem to be a little more uplifting especially on songs like “Heart of Champion” and “Second Chances” which features Benji Madden from Good Charlotte.
And that heaviness I mentioned, check out the singles “Time Bomb”and “Already Dead” as they come at you full throttle and leave you exhausted and wanting more. “Already Dead” is already one of my favorite songs of the year so far. And that isn’t all, you get “Enemy” slamming at you and if you want a full on melodic gem than listen to “Upside Down” with special guest Kellin Quinn from the band Sleeping with Sirens as he brings a great vocal to the song and takes it a direction that the band wouldn’t normally go.
“Empire” is a little less heavy and a little EDM thrown in backdropping the rap by J Dog and Johnny 3 Tears. What is cool with them is at times all members get to sing or rap which gives the band a broader range and able to do almost anything they want. Lots of variety.
If you are looking for straight up rap then “Killin’ It” is what you want as it is full of cockiness, swagger and with the EDM effects delivers a solid track that makes you feel you can take on the world. You also want to hear “Nightmare” which is so dramatic and powerful. A beast of a song to end the album on. Then “Enemy” explodes and the drums come slamming against your head bringing the metal back to the sound.
The change for the band wasn’t as dramatic as I expected, but it was better than I expected. I’m really drawn to the melodic sound on most of the choruses. The hooks have grabbed hold of me. I’m not a rap guy personally, but what these guys deliver is something that holds my attention and mixes well with the heaviness of the music enough to make this rock guy to sit up and pay attention.
This year has been really slow for music and this is the first album that I have gravitated towards and I have a feeling it will stick with me for some time to come. The production of the album is slick and the mix is top notch as everything sounds nearly perfect. I give it a 4.75 out 5.0 Stars only because at 9 songs and only 33 minutes, it is too short!! Bright side, I can play it over and over and not take up too much time.