Review || Hollywood Undead - "New Empire, Vol. 1"

Hollywood Undead is probably one of the most controversial bands of the past decade. People seem to either love them and the way they manipulate electronic and hip hop sounds to build a modern metal powerhouse, or absolutely loathe how they won't conform into one creative box and further expand their creative boundaries. On February 14th 2020, the American titans drops their sixth studio album, "New Empire, Vol. 1" via BMG. 

The album consists of 9 very vibrant tracks. The band seems to have put a lot of thought and effort into this endeavor to redifine their sound while maintaining their core identity. The compositions are fresh and polished, cleverly keeping up with the modern metal sound, subtle nüances pun intended, melody and hip hop influences. For the most part, the metal songs have an anthemic vibe, and I can only imagine how tracks like "Heart Of A Champion", "Already Dead", with the epic intro and "Enemy" will translate live, keeping fans pumped. On the hip hop aspect, we have tracks like "Killing It" and "Nightmare" which give the listener the feeling of listening to a well-crafted mixtape. The execution is impressive while the flows are on point. One thing, however, that I notice on the former, and which I find doesn't fully blend with the lyrical spirit of the rest of the album, is how much it tries to promote a false notion of superiority through unnecessary hostility. The latter on the other hand, in all its emotional darkness, is hard hitting and feels brutally personal and honest. 
It is also worth noting that the secret asset of this album are two cameo appearences, courtesy of Kellin Quinn from Sleeping With Sirens (and his unmistakeable timbre) on "Upside Down" and Benji Madden of Good Charlotte on "Upside Down".

Overall, "New Empire, Vol. 1" is a grown up but very amusing album. It's brazen but not pretentious. The constant groove is perfectly paired with the dynamic, contagious big choruses, all while keeping a good balance between catchiness and heaviness. Some vocal lines/melodies will stick to you like gum in your hair and the character of the compositions will leave you craving for more. I'm already looking forward to Vol. 2.
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