Label: A&M/Octone Records
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Reviewed by: Todd "ToddStar" Jolicoeur
Why do I dig rock bands that wear makeup and masks? Probably stems from my almost 40 year love of Kiss. Hollywood Undead is one of those bands I shouldn't like, because rap has never been my thing, but the way they blend hard rock and rap is unlike many others that give it a shot. That being said, this release, their third studio disc, is even better than the last two. From the opening sounds of "Dead Bite," I know I am in for one helluva ride. The guitar work and heavy groove are right in my wheelhouse, so to speak. This is definitely one of my favorites on the disc. "From The Ground" cuts in after that and keeps the groove heavy and guitar laden. The chorus is mellow, but definitely adds depth to the track. When I glimpse through the liner notes, it becomes obvious why the guitar parts are so heavy and cut through the track. John 5 of Zombie fame plays on the first two tracks, as well as two others. "Another Way Out" is more akin to the Hollywood Undead of their earlier releases. The lyrics are very playful, as is the rhythm. The beats kick in and add to the track. "Lion" is another great track that reflects the HU that their fans have come to love in addition to a little John 5 riff in the background. "We Are," the first single and video, storms in and is a strong track that screams to be heard. This is quintessential HU.
"Pigskin" is more rap than rock, but not to a fault. The song fits the mold and is enough of a deviation from the first half of the disc that it is great to see the band sticks to its guns and does what they want to. Next up is the mellower "Rain." This is a great track to break up the madness on this disc. I really dig the instrumentation on this tune. "Kill Everyone," again featuring John 5, has that heavy riff that chugs throughout the track. This is a great rock track that stands up with anything these guys have done to date. "Believe" has a very cool piano intro that lures you into the song. The chorus and lyrics keep the mood light and add dimension to the band. They always seem to drop a couple tracks that are polar opposites from anything else they do. This is one of those instances, and it kills. "Up In Smoke" is another deviation from the mold that is HU. This tune is familiar yet different. The rap and flow seem to pull other influences in, without being detrimental to the overall quality of the disc. CD closer "Outside" brings rock back and demonstrates the side of Hollywood Undead we are all too familiar with. This track leaves me wanting more. Can't wait to see how these songs come across on the Underground Tour.