Hollywood Undead – “V” Album Review

Hollywood Undead – “Five” (MDDN/BMG)
By: Brian Campbell

While Hollywood Undead’s latest, “Five,” their fifth studio album and first without Matthew ‘Da Kurlzz’ Busek, who departed from the band in early 2017, finds the masked quintet abandoning most of their signature rapcore thump, those familial tones kick things off on standout lead single “California Dreaming,” a hard-charging affair that also serves as a reminder of Hollywood Undead’s innate penchant for crafting melodies.

While the group has called back the heavy stuff, “Five” succeeds in experimenting with a variety of sounds (“Ghost Beach” is a slice of alt-pop bliss, a sonic obituary of old Los Angeles that plays out as Top 40 perfection, “Broken Record” pairs Eminem-esque verses with saccharine, soaring hooks, Hollywood Undead gets downright inspirational on “Nobody’s Watching” as Daniel “Danny” Murillo implores ‘sing, sing like there’s nobody watching, sing, sing like there’s nobody listening,’ Cypress Hill/Prophets of Rage’s B-Real stops by to spit the truth on “Black Cadillac,” which could just as easily find a home on any Kottonmouth Kings album, “Pray – Put Em In The Dirt” is an ominous manifesto that combines heavy beats and big hooks, “Riot” is a straight up club banger).

The heaviness returns on “Renegade” as shredding riffs wake the album’s guitars from their slumber for the first time since the opening track, taking things to another level of heavy during the track’s latter stages. Hollywood Undead also keeps things heavy towards the end of “Five” (“We Own The Night” might be the album’s best pure rock track, “Bang Bang” takes some cues from “The Hunting Party” era Linkin Park and the entire arsenal gets emptied on “Your Life,” a solid amalgamation of all of the various sounds of “Five”).

There is a lot going on throughout the course of “Five’s” 14 tracks, from rapcore to hip-hop to pop to electronica, which work to represent something of a new beginning for Hollywood Undead. To make a long story short, regardless of what genre you may ultimately prefer, it should be easy enough to find something to like on “Five.”

Track List:

1. California Dreaming
2. Whatever It Takes
3. Bad Moon
4. Ghost Beach
5. Broken Record
6. Nobody’s Watching
7. Renegade
8. Black Cadillac (feat. B-Real)
9. Pray (Put Em In The Dirt)
10. Cashed Out
11. Riot
12. We Own The Night
13. Bang Bang
14. Your Life

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