Hollywood Undead
New Empire Vol. 2


3.0
good

Review

by xtrole USER (13 Reviews)
December 7th, 2020 | 12 replies


Release Date: 12/04/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Excellent singles, good album.

Usually, Hollywood Undead's albums contain about twice as many songs as New Empire Vol. 2 does. Also, I've noticed that usually the tracks they put out before the full LP is released are not as good as the songs that follow (for example, Nobody's Watching, Bang Bang, and Your Life were all better than most of the singles in regards to Five's tracklist). Having less songs gives each one more weight in regards to its effect on how good the album as a whole is, but I expected this to be Hollywood Undead's best release yet based on how excellent the singles were. However, unusually for them, the singles were better than the album as a whole and thus my expectations were not fully met. It is still a good album, but it's got some awkward lyrics and filler songs that weigh it down a bit.

I'll mention some singles, which gave me high expectations for the album, first. Idol is a fascinating song and Tech N9ne's appearance on it fits perfectly. The musical style is a mixture of hip hop and dubstep. The band has included several songs that incorporate dubstep (see Pray, I Am, and Usual Suspects as some examples) that have worked quite well in previous releases and it is good that Hollywood Undead is still utilizing that genre in their music. Also, the way that the mixing is done so that it feels like J-Dog J3T, and Tech N9ne are coming in and out of focus during the verses creates an intriguing dynamic to the song. There are two alternate versions of this track that feature other guest vocals, but the original one with Tech N9ne is the best of the three.

The alternate version of Heart of a Champion, which was perhaps the weakest track on Vol. 1, is now one of the best songs that HU has ever released. J3T's alternate verse is significantly better than his original one, the mixture of singing and rapping by Jacoby Shaddix that replaced what was originally the bridge is spot on, and the vocals by Spencer Charnas that accompany/replace Danny's add to it as well. The original version, despite its impressive instrumentals, suffered from some mediocre lyrics in Johnny's first verse and a so-so bridge. Vol. 2's remake fixed those issues. Gonna Be OK, is a celebration of introspection and hope that is mixes rock and dubstep flawlessly in an energetic way. It is similar in quality and energy level to past songs they've done like Renegade, Tendencies, Live Forever and Bang Bang, even though the lyrical/musical aspects of it differ from them.

Once the whole album dropped, some flaws became apparent. Medicate and Unholy are fillers, with Medicate being the better of the two. It's a fairly generic pop/rock song that's not unlikable but doesn't serve much of a purpose either. Unholy, the worst song on the album, has the "I'm bad to the bone" theme that Idol employs but utilizes it in a far less lyrically interesting way and isn't as good instrumentally either. Monsters is perhaps the most creepy/chilling song that HU has ever made and the successful haunting effect of Killstation's guest vocals really help make this song work well in that regard. Some of the lyrics are a bit awkward ("I said, Lord, are you even there? Maybe you'll show up if I wreck this Buick"), but this is one of the better songs on the album and it has a uniqueness to it that causes it add to the album's diversity of sound.

Ghost Out is the only song on the album that utilizes Funny Man's vocals, is also the only party song on the album, and is better than most of the songs in that style of music that they've released. Lyrics like "I got a room where my weed grow, it's bigger than my ego" accompanied by catchy instrumentals are a reason why some people like Hollywood Undead, and there's nothing wrong with that. 'Comin Thru the Stereo features a well executed verse by Hyro the Hero, and Worth It is a romantic hip hop song that contains some awkward lyrics ("All alone and I'm getting nervous, But when I come around, you can feel the curse hit... You kept my letters, But you burned my sweater, I know I said forever, We will die together"), but is intriguing simply because love songs are not the norm as far as Hollywood Undead material is concerned. To be fair, it's kind of a messed up love song and I would assume that it was intentionally made to be that way. Thus, someone's capacity to enjoy/appreciate it may come down to whether or not someone relates to and/or emphasizes with the messiness in the lyrics. The same principle could be applied to other awkward/messy lyrics in the album as well.

To conclude, this is a good release for Hollywood Undead despite the singles setting the bar a bit higher than the rest of the album was able to clear. They're letting go of lyrical themes such as getting laid and writing about subjects like romantic relationships, struggling with being viewed by some as a role model, and the benefits of introspection. In addition, they've been collaborating with other artists more than usual, which is a smart idea for a group that is to some degree liked because their material features more singers/rappers than you normally get from a band. Imperfections aside, New Empire Vol. 2 is a worthwhile addition to their discography.

Recommended Tracks:
Ghost Out
Idol (feat. Tech N9ne)
Gonna Be OK
Monsters (feat. Killstation)
Heart of a Champion (feat. Papa Roach & Ice Nine Kills)



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user ratings (22)
2.5
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
xtrole
December 7th 2020


77 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

As always, corrections/comments/criticisms are more than welcome!

xtrole
December 7th 2020


77 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The people giving negs to this review could offer constructive criticism that might help me improve the way I write reviews.



Or maybe they just don't like the album/band and don't really have much of a critique worth mentioning about how the content of the review itself.



Of course, nobody is under any obligation to explain why they think a review is/isn't well written.

TheTalkingDude
December 7th 2020


13 Comments


This album really was a surprise to me, as the last three records from HU were underwhelming af imo. They still got it and that makes me very happy^^

You're talking bout awkward lyrics several times in your review, I think it would've been nice to see what you mean by that.

xtrole
December 7th 2020


77 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I wasn't sure if leaving it to the reader to determine what lyrics in those songs they might consider awkward would be better or whether including some quotes as examples would preferable. I'll edit the review to include some quotes.



Of course, lyrics that I consider awkward might not seem that way to everyone. Any editorializing I do in a review is just my opinion.



...



OK, edits have been made. I appreciate the feedback, and as I said, just because the lyrics struck me as being awkward doesn't mean others will neccisarily see them that way. Lots of subjectivity when it comes to art, lol

rellik009
December 7th 2020


1335 Comments


thank you captain obvious

jokes aside, this is a pretty good review, maybe talk less about the singles and more about the album in general? Idk, I'm probably just nitpicking, your review was a fine piece of writing.

xtrole
December 8th 2020


77 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the feedback. I wanted to frame the review in a way I hadn't done before, and the singles vs album in general was something I stuck out to me about it. I can see where it may not be the best way to frame a review though, lol. Now that I've tried it once, I'm unlikely to frame a review that way again.

Emim
December 8th 2020


29601 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

God, I hate this band.

Kompys2000
December 8th 2020


5106 Comments


No dude they're good

deathschool
December 8th 2020


27148 Comments


Bad.

Digging: Madvillain - Madvillainy

Kompys2000
December 8th 2020


5106 Comments


Great band, perhaps even the best

deathschool
December 8th 2020


27148 Comments


No you’re wrong

Emim
December 8th 2020


29601 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Genre-defining, mind-bending, cutting edge, modern day classic, magnum opus, The Odyssey of rap, the Moby Dick of Rock, the Great White Buffalo, the Colossus of Clout...



I could go on.



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