Day of the Dead
Hollywood Undead are unintentionally hilarious. Their current line-up features luminaries such as J-Dog, Da Kurlzz, Funny Man, JOHNNY 3 TEARS, Charlie Scene and, uh, Danny. Former members include Shady Jeff (who, according to Wikipedia, “currently works as a mechanic and is working on converting diesel cars into vehicles that can run on vegetable oil.”) and Deuce. Their gimmick steals elements from basically every nu metal, rap metal or rap rock band you can think of – the face paint, the masks and the musical style all draw heavily from groups such as Limp Bizkit, Slipknot and Linkin Park in particular. Danny sounds like he should have been in Blink-182 instead.
Thematically, their music literally could not be more pedestrian and Day of the Dead is no different. On ‘How We Roll’ Johnny 3 Tears notes, incredibly, that “Ain’t nobody leaving until all of our dicks cum!”. They’re laughable and their music is panned by all music critics except the ones who are specifically into this sort of thing (“It’s time to enter into the Day Of The Dead- you can’t escape it if you wanted to”, notes Big Reggie Edwards over at The Front Row Report in his 9.5/10 review of this album). These are sad men who are now in their early and mid-30s singing about juvenile nonsense. And it’s actually a pretty fun listen, to be honest.
They’re at their best when being their ludicrous selves. The opening track, ‘Usual Suspects’ is very reminiscent of their 2009 semi-hit ‘Undead’ except with clichéd dub-step sprinklings. The guitar and drum work on ‘Day of the Dead’ is genuinely impressive. ‘Does Everyone in the World Have to Die’ needs to be heard to be believed – they’re ripping off so many people at the same time that it must be some kind of record. There’s elements of dub-step, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Limp Bizkit, Eminem and probably like 30 other artists here and it, miraculously, works. Another standout song, ‘Disease’, sounds like they mashed up Marilyn Manson’s ‘Beautiful People’ and Gary Glitter’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Pt. 2’ before giving it the Hollywood Undead treatment. Elsewhere, “party” songs such as ‘Guzzle, Guzzle’ are listenable if redundant and occasionally their attempts at being serious hit the mark – notably on the excellent ‘Let Go’.
Where the album falls down, aside from the obvious handicap of being made by Hollywood Undead, is when they go full Linkin Park and this happens a bit too frequently. Songs such as ‘Take Me Home’, ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Save Me’ are all grim angry verse-attempted sweeping chorus-angry verse affairs that made many of their influences so unbearable in the first place. Elsewhere, they step a bit outside their plagiaristic comfort zone on the swinging, poppy ‘Party By Myself’ which has a traditional Latino feel to it that sounds wildly out of place. It’s muddled, meandering (clocking in at 4:56, the longest song on the record) and the sort of thing they should stay well away from.
Day of the Dead is good for what it is. There are few surprises here – and when there are, they’re usually unwelcome ones – but it’s full of guilty pleasure songs along the lines of earlier popular singles such as the aforementioned ‘Undead’ or ‘Dead Bite’. It’s probably Hollywood Undead’s finest release to date and, with high praise like that, who could really resist?