Originally written for Valkyrian Music.
“New Empire” is HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD’s gold coin – volume 1 showing their heaviest side, and now volume 2 showing the exact opposite. Which one is better? Well, that’s the same as asking if a burger is better than chocolate cake – you can’t compare two things so different in their nature. What you can do is say what you like the most, and for some of you it may even depend on the mood you’re in (hence the food analogy). It’s really a case of personal taste.
“Idol” came out as first single and I can’t stop thinking how the choice marked the transition between the two records, with its dark and imposing pulse just as heavy as any other song on volume 1. I was going to say “intense” but that kind of applies to every track here, just on a more emotional level (as Danny said at some point). And when that powerful ballad “Coming Home” was released next, such emotional reference made total sense.
The opening track “Medicate” flows with an almost childish catchiness, a chipper song in contrast to its lyric content (medication against depression). The upbeat mood follows suit, a bit sharper now, with “Comin’ Thru The Stereo”, Hyro The Hero’s somewhat high pitched tone highlighting the first verses. Just like “Medicate”, singing along this one is almost mandatory.
The synth rap underlying “Ghost Out” adds a juicy rhythm but it’s the edgy riffing in “Gonna Be Okay” and the seductive one in “Unholy” that really rock me out.
There’s always a song or two in each album that I skip, as not even my open mind enjoys all their musical approaches. “Monsters” has some beautiful, deep lyrics but such dark hip hop isn’t my cup of tea at all, even if I’m able to acknowledge its greatness. As for “Worth It”, it is just too mellow. I believe it’s the first time a HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD song can be called that, so kudos for the initiative. I just hope it doesn’t happen again.
I’ve left “Heart Of A Champion” for last not because it wraps up the record but because it’s probably my favorite song from volume 1 and I was a bit skeptical the first time I’ve heard of a new version. HU were on tour with PAPA ROACH and ICE NINE KILLS when the pandemic broke out, so it was a nice touch bringing in Jacoby Shaddix and Spencer Charnas, but I was still afraid that it would ruin it. It didn’t (the video is a killer, too) – especially Spencer’s voice in the beginning -, even if I didn’t like to see J-Dog’s “compare me to none” verses cut out. It’s a bit like the two records: not better nor worse, just different.
Label: Dove & Grenade Media / BMG
Producers: Matt Good & Jordon “Charlie Scene” Terrell
- Comin’ Thru The Stereo (feat. Hyro The Hero)
- Ghost Out
- Gonna Be OK
- Monsters (feat. Killstation)
- Idol (feat. Tech N9ne)
- Coming Home
- Worth It
- Heart Of A Champion (feat. Jacoby Shaddix and Spencer Charnas)
- Idol (feat. Ghøstkid) (bonus track)
- Idol (feat. Kurt92) (bonus track)