New School Hollywood

After a superb set opening the main stage of Download Festival 2009, it came as no surprise that the Californian rock sextet were to be invited back. Joining fellow fusers of rock and rap Linkin Park on this year's Donington bill, Hollywood Undead's appearance signified that such musical variety is not only sought by the Download organisers but equally embraced by the festival goers.

With the troupe having recently released their new album 'American Tragedy', Hollywood Undead were obviously keen to promote their fresh material. But as a result, much of their forty minute set was focussed on trialling new songs even though it was not to the preference of their fans. For anyone that had yet to experience the band's second album, the effort put into the consecutive performances of 'Sell Your Soul', 'Been to Hell', 'Comin' in Hot', 'Coming Back Down' and 'My Town' would have most likely been wasted, distancing the attitude-ridden musicians from their audience. Popular singles 'Young' and 'Everywhere I Go' from their debut studio album were unsurprisingly met with the best crowd responses, with thousands collectively celebrating the performance of the expletive-littered hits. The group's sound may possess a superb level of tightness and rhythmic precision when recorded, but in live performance the layering of the multiple (and unnecessarily duplicated) vocal parts just sounded messy. With much of their instrumental sound being pre-recorded, there was little to fault, but additions from members such as drummer Daren Pfeifer and guitarist Charlie Scene functioned as efficient embellishment.

Hollywood Undead were a pleasant discovery for many fans in 2009, with many people attracted to the inspired unity of rock and rap. Having risen further towards mainstream success, the masked six-piece have still retained their signature sound and image, but on this occasion failed to provide a festival set that balanced new with old material in the interest of appealing to a wider span of fans. Those who missed this set need not be too distraught; just turn on your stereo, rack up the sub-woofer and let the profanity flow.