Linkin Park – The Hunting Party Review

If you’re like me, you can’t believe that Linkin Park just released their sixth studio album, well, technically it releases on June 17, 2014. I was fortunate enough to obtain a copy early of The Hunting Party by Linkin Park in order to provide this review. As an early adult I remember rocking out to songs such as “Numb”, “Breaking the Habit”, “Papercut” and “One Step Closer”. In fact, a lot of people did as Hybrid Theory and Meteora sold over a total of 15 million copies in the US alone since 2000. More recently they released Minutes to Midnight in 2007, A Thousand Suns in 2010, and Living Things in 2012.

Mike Shinoda described this album as being “Visceral” and stated on his blog recently that he wrote this record due to the fact that people were losing faith in rock music. Supposedly, he threw out the softer demos and took on the challenge of saving the genre of rock that has unquestionably gone downhill as of late. “Why can’t Linkin Park go back to the heavy guitars, scratching, screaming and rapping,” asked everyone on the internet. Well, our persistent complaining has finally paid off, besides the scratching. (I wonder what exactly Mr. Hahn does in the band these days?) Linkin Park is back and better than they’ve ever possibly been. Perhaps the energy they brought from their sideprojects with Chester recording with Stone Temple Pilots and Mike’s Fort Minor rapping, singing and producing has contributed to this explosion of sounds on The Hunting Party. After their dubstep, techno and soft rock phase passed they went back to their roots and their earlier sound. Thankfully they’ve provided us with 45 minutes of excellent music.

1 – “Keys To The Kingdom”

2 – “All For Nothing” (feat. Page Hamilton)

3 – “Guilty All The Same” (feat. Rakim)

4 – “The Summoning” An interlude.

5 – “War”

6 – “Wastelands”

7 – “Until It’s Gone”

8 – “Rebellion” (feat. Daron Malakian)

9 – “Mark The Graves”

10 – “Drawbar” (feat. Tom Morello)

11 – “Final Masquerade”

12 – “A Line In The Sand”

Standout tracks: Keys to the Kingdom, All for Nothing, War, Mark the Graves, A Line in the Sand.

LOUD! Seriously, this is their hardest sounding record to date. Yes, even more guitar, drumming and screaming than Hybrid Theory or Meteora.

Their old formula has changed. No longer is it verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus structure on every track.

Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington take turns sharing the spotlight. Nobody is dominant here vocally although Chester shines when he decides to scream his lungs out. Even at age 38, he’s still got it. Shinoda shows us a little bit of his Fort Minor energy by aggressively rapping on “Keys to the Kingdom”, “All for Nothing”, and “Wastelands”.

Positives: Every song is diverse; nothing sounds too similar on this album.

Guests featured on the album included Rakim, Page Hamilton, Daron Malakion, and Tom Morello.

Interludes tie nicely into the next song.

Production value: very raw, in-your-face and natural which is a shift compared to their earlier albums.

Negatives: I’m nitpicking here but interesting random sounds at the of a few songs. Not sure what their purpose is. Maybe they’ll shed light on their decision to include those? Sometimes it’s cool to just have a record without feeling like you need to fast forward through sections at the end of the song.

Some songs seem like they don’t belong. Until It’s Gone sticks out like a sore thumb. They described this album as being “visceral” but the simplicity of the lyrics and repetitive nature of the song left me a bit disappointed there. Final Masquerade, while a major improvement in the lyrical department, also felt like it was too mellow for this thrashing album.

Bottom Line: Amazing album. If you like rock, alternative, rap or music in general, I think you’ll like it. This is not top 40 pop Linkin Park, this is a true, rich and edgy Linkin Park. 9/10

Make sure to check out Linkin Park on their tour this summer with Thirty Seconds to Mars and AFI called the Carnivores Tou

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