Linkin Park

The Hunting Party

Written by: PP on 04/09/2014 21:56:58

Despite having removed themselves from relevancy a few albums ago in the eyes of the critics, Linkin Park's last two albums have been remarkably successful from a commercial viewpoint. I'm not sure why. Electronic music might have peaked in popularity during "A Thousand Suns" and "Living Things", but neither were exactly great albums to remember down the path of history, even if the latter brought back a hint of Linkin Park's origins as a nu-metal band. The band seemed to have reinvented themselves as a pop band without much to offer to the alternative rock and nu-metal fans of their earlier days, and as such most music enthusiasts today speak of the band and their fans with a skeptical tone at best, a derogatory tone at worst. That sixth album "The Hunting Party" returns the band to their origins might be too little, too late in that context, but separating it from the band's stigmatized past provides insight into an album the band most certainly should have released in 2007 instead of "Minutes To Midnight".

Interviews with band members have suggested that "The Hunting Party" was written with debut album "Hybrid Theory" as the main inspiration, only interpreted with the 2014 music scene in mind to avoid sounding completely dated. In practice, that's a fairly accurate description of what's going on here. It is certainly the heaviest and most scream-laden record by the band since their seminal debut album, featuring quality arena rock riffage and crunchy, distortion-fueled guitar sound echoing in the soundscapes. The band has taken care not to over-inflate their sound, meaning it sounds big, but not unnecessarily spacious, resulting in powerful rock songs that really sound like the band means business. It's a clear indication that the band have always been at their best at writing the (albeit simplistic) hook-laden arena nu-metal meets alternative rock rather than the electronically infused crap they've been dabbling with for the better part of the last decade or so.

We can take "War" as an example. You haven't heard Chester Bennington scream this coarsely since "One Step Closer"; "Wasteland" is another example where razor-sharp screaming poses a serious challenge to the pop radio stations across the world accustomed to the softer, more mainstream friendly Linkin Park songs on post-"Meteora" era. The band manages to do this without resorting too much into nu metal clichés, instead finding themselves somewhere between the arena hard rock of Five Finger Death Punch and their own "Hybrid Theory" past.

Nevertheless, Linkin Park are mainstream rock/pop musicians in the end. That means most songs have massive hooks - see "Mark The Graves", "Guilty All The Same" or "Rebellion" as examples - and ultra catchy choruses, even if they are delivered with more edge and aggression in the process. Impressive cameos from Helmet's Page Hamilton ("All For Nothing"), SOAD's Daron Malakian ("Rebellion"), RATM's Tom Morello ("Drawbar"), and even a hip-hop guest passage by Rakim ("Guilty All The Same") ensure variety and character on the record as well. When you put all of this together, "The Hunting Party" all of a sudden seems like a comeback album or at least a return-to-form album of sorts by Linkin Park, and one that the old fans will welcome with open arms. The question still remains, are there any "Hybrid Theory"-era fans still listening?


Download: Guilty All The Same, Rebellion, Mark The Graves, Final Masquerade
For the fans of: Five Finger Death Punch, Egypt Central, Sick Puppies
Listen: Facebook

Release date 13.06.2014

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