Weekly Music

Monday, June 23, 2014

Linkin Park - The Hunting Party

Warning: this is a long track-by-track review.
Rating: 9/10
A little less than a week ago on June 17, Linkin Park dropped their sixth studio album, probably their heaviest to date. After their booming debut Hybrid Theory, similar sophomore release Meteora, alternative rock Minutes to Midnight, stylistically different concept record A Thousand Suns, and last album Living Things that combined everything they had ever done, the band returned to their roots from even before 1999 with influences like Helmet, the Refused, and At the Drive-In. Going into the studio about a year earlier, emcee Mike Shinoda said he brought in some demos with a more alternative style that would satisfy pop radio, but came to a point where he hated it and trashed those, diving into the aggressive sound he felt is missing from current rock music.
We wanted to write music that gets that 17-year-old who was never thinking about guitars to go, "I want play guitar because of that song!"
-Chester Bennington (vocalist)
The record bangs off with an opener that shocks anyone who has heard LP’s last three albums. No more short instrumental intros; “Keys to the Kingdom” begins with Bennington’s distorted screams wailing about “fighting in futility” and sails smoothly into hard, and fast-paced drums that continue throughout the record. Following loud guitars, Shinoda graces the track with his low, melodic voice between choruses before ripping out a verse to remind everyone of his rapping skills. The second song is no disappointment either with its heavy intro Shinoda’s unforgiving rap that leads into Page Hamilton of Helmet on the chorus. “All For Nothing” even brings in their electronica influence with small drops in the second verse, and ends on a quiter note before their heavy first single “Guilty All the Same”. Before any vocals appear, it holds about a minute and a half of guitar, drums, piano, and bass that show everyone Linkin Park is back, and then Bennington yells out the verses and choruses with heated accusations. Enter legendary artist Rakim to spit a rap relevant to the whole idea of the album on the bridge. After the final chorus, Delson and Rob Bourdon finish the song as hard as it started. “The Summoning” is the short and strange instrumental that gives the listener’s ear a break before slamming it with “War”, a track with so much anger not only can you hear it in Bennington’s screams, but the instruments as well. Leading off with “Lies Greed Misery"-like drums, “Wastelands” is the third single of the album. Shinoda blasts you with a fearless rap on the verses, while Bennington yells the chorus in a similar manner as “Guilty All the Same”. Taking a break from the heaviness (sort of) with the second single “Until It’s Gone”, Bennington displays his incredible voice with singing reminiscent of “Burn It Down". The Hunting Party then hits you with an almost heavy metal track that is the fourth single. “Rebellion” is layed out with Shinoda’s deep voice singing the verse and Bennington on the pre-chorus and a blending of vocals for the chorus and screams on the bridge, all the while backed with Daron Malakian of System of a Down on guitar. “Mark the Graves” begins soft, but enters some more loud guitar by Delson that cuts out when Bennington’s smooth vocals come in with Shinoda on the harmonies. Breaking from the loudness, there is the absolutely beautiful instrumental “Drawbar” that features Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine before going into the other softest song on the record and fifth single “Final Masquerade” that is another glowing example of Bennington’s incredible singing voice. The final track is a little like the first in that it has many different ideas used in the band. “A Line in the Sand” starts simply with quiet vocals sung by Shinoda before hitting off like the rest of the tracks with the guitars, drums, and screams of Bennington. Lasting approximately six and a half minutes, it is the epitome of The Hunting Party and Linkin Park, combining nearly everything they have ever done.
Overall, it is one of the best records this “nu-metal”, alternative rock band of six has put out (not just my opinion either). Brad Delson has finally come out of his shell to show the world that he is truly a guitarist worth remembering and Rob Bourdon developed his drumming skills well over what we have seen in the past. Even the quieter songs of the album hold heavy riffs that make them fit perfectly with such a hard collection. Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington demonstrate their ability to not only seamlessly flow between each other’s vocals, but also to blend their voices into one. It is an amazing piece of work by the band and all you that ran off at their last three releases, I suggest you at least check out this record; Linkin Park wanted loud and aggressive, and that is what they made.