Following up from ‘New Empire, Vol. 1’ back in February, Hollywood Undead continue to expand the more contemporary aspects of their sound with its sequel-esque companion piece, ‘New Empire, Vol. 2’.
Employing a number of guest musicians from both rap and rock backgrounds, the group’s seventh album blends genres together closer than ever before.
Kicking off with ‘Medicate’, bouncy pop melodies mark a deviation from the oft-expected sound as Danny Murillo leads the hook filled track. Whilst it does breathe fresh air into the record from the get go, compared to the strength of later tracks, it sits as one of the lesser cuts on offer.
Following up with the heavy hitting and hip-hop fuelled ‘Comin’ Thru The Stereo’, both Johnny 3 Tears and Charlie Scene hold their own against featured artist Hydro The Hero, with a fast-paced verse and standout bridge respectively.
Unfortunately, both ‘Ghost Out’ and ‘Monsters’ fall flat compared to their predecessors and blistering single, ‘Idol’. Whilst the aforementioned tracks tick all the boxes of rap rock, they don’t possess the urgency and bounce of the record’s more standout moments.
With ‘Idol’ being a strong rap rock mash up, powered by a punk energy and an infectious chorus, ‘New Empire, Vol. 2’ boasts three alternate versions, allowing Tech 9ine, Ghøstkid and KURT92 to give it their own spin.
Whilst the latter half of the record does become hit and miss, it does deliver a varied snapshot of the group, with the romantic ‘Worth It’ proving to a first for the group. Elsewhere, ‘Coming Home’ re-enforces how strong the group are when they hit the prefect blend of crunching guitars and impassioned rapping.
Surprisingly, one of the weakest tracks on the previous release becomes one of the strongest on this record, as we see ‘Heart Of A Champion’ remodelled and envisioned for the better. Featuring guest vocals from Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach) and Spencer Charnas (Ice Nine Kills, it rushes through stomping guitars, pulsating electronics, and a driving chorus.
With ‘New Empire, Vol. 2’, Hollywood Undead won’t exactly convert a new audience, but they will satisfy their existing fanbase. Continuing to grow their sound and embrace the hip-hop styles that they’ve invariably influenced, Hollywood Undead close out the year with an ambitious and revitalised approach to their sound.