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Album review: Hollywood Undead's 'American Tragedy'

April 5, 2011 | 11:54 am

Hollywoodundead Longtime Linkin Park fans disappointed by that band’s turn toward introspective art rock on last year’s “A Thousand Suns” might do well to check out “American Tragedy,” the defiantly shallow — yet undeniably bracing — new studio disc from L.A.’s Hollywood Undead. Here we find six young men (and their various studio-pro collaborators) in single-minded pursuit of a straightforward goal: synthesizing the aural equivalent of uncut testosterone. Complicating agents? They’re simply not here.

The upside of the group’s purity of purpose is that it sounds as energetic as any band of rapping rockers ever has: On “Apologize,” HU rides a booming groove out of prime Rick Rubin, while “Levitate” throbs with disco-metal urgency. (Kevin Rudolf, the dependably dunderheaded party-starter responsible for “Let It Rock” a few years ago, produced the latter cut.) The downside is that along with heart and brains, Hollywood Undead has filtered out any sense of humor from its music, which makes “American Tragedy” virtually impossible to listen to for longer than a few songs at a time. Try it at your own peril.

— Mikael Wood

Hollywood Undead
“American Tragedy”
Two stars