in a long while, you get these bands that defy everything you knew, or thought you knew, about music and genres. Hollywood Undead
may not be that band, but they're damn close enough. These "six crazy MCs" walk a tightrope between rap and metal, on the one hand being even less metal than nu metal and yet too heavy for rap (believe me, I have never found a single HU album in the hip-hop/rap section of any music store, and I mean the real music stores, not Wal-Mart).
For those who are new to this band, let's take a look at them. This is the "classic" line-up of Hollywood Undead
, the one many fans yearn to see again. Drums are handled by the one in the white kabuki mask, Da Kurlzz, while guitars (yes, they have guitars) are handled by J-Dog and backing vocalist Charlie Scene, who sounds a little like Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park
. But don't let that fool you, if anyone sounds "scene" its Johnny 3-Tears, who's backing vocals always sound like he's on the verge of shedding the three tears of his name-sake. The main vocalist, often called "The Pro-Deuce
-er" is the lead singer, and his singing sounds in between straight rock and ballsier post-hardcore. But let's not forget the homey Funny Man, "a baritone with a voice so low, it'll make your speakers explode." Once
again showing that baritones can sing fun lyrics, even if your speakers can withstand Funny Man's voice, you will enjoy every minute of his singing (and though he sounds black, he's part-Hispanic actually).
First track kicks off with a synthesized version of Randy
Rhoads' iconic "Crazy Train" riff, as the band shows that they're the real thing and they mean business. They're giving the finger to the haters, and between 3-Tears' emotional statement to Scene laying it down like it is (telling haters to "slit your wrists, get pissed and then go jump off a bridge"), "Undead
" has got to be one of the most memorable tracks on this album. It's a good way to start. The music video for this song was directed by Jonas
Åkerlund, former drummer of black/viking metal band Bathory
and director of videos from metal giants like Ozzy Osbourne
. As per his particular talent, it's another R-rated video that you cannot find the unedited version anywhere on YouTube. But I challenge you to look it up, it's totally worth it and it's got all the balls and raunchiness of Motörhead...just without Lemmy's epic mole and handle-bar chops.
"Everywhere I Go" is another memorable song from the Swan Songs
album, and is another party-tune like "Rock Out
" by Motörhead. If you get the Desperate Measures
double-disc set, you get to hear the Castle
Renholder Remix of this song - not a dance tune, but something that sounds more rock-ish, with loud, distorted guitars. Mr. Scene might be singing about all the same stuff that every other rap artist does (banging chicks), but, hey, black and power metal sing about the same things so much that they have become cliche themselves, so let's just give these six a break, pop open a forty and enjoy this party-song like there's no tomorrow.
This album has lots of high (Funny Man's singing on "No Other Place" and "Bottle and a Gun") and low points (3-Tears almost crying on "Black Dahlia"), and other points where they really start sounding like Linkin Park
("Young" in particular). But Linkin Park
is nu metal and alt. rock of a certain. Too heavy for rap, too rap for nu metal: Hollywood Undead
is unique, they are themselves. After all, what else would you say for a rap-rock band that covered a Led Zeppelin
song? ("Immigrant Song" on their Desperate Measures
box-set, even complete with that damn-annoying vocalization.). Maybe I'm not the right person to be talking about this album, since it doesn't really stick out for me. But where it does, it's definitely worth at least a once-over.