In July 2011, Linkin Park lead vocalist Chester Bennington told Rolling Stone that it would be the band’s aim to produce a new material every eighteen months; since then the modern rock supergroup spawned The Hunting Party in 2012, and their latest sixth album The Hunting Party. The new album has been described by band member Mike Shinona as their “heaviest record to date”, in terms of loudness and aggressiveness, rather than heavy in its full form. The Hunting Party was self-produced by choice by key members Brad Delson and Mike Shinona, and the album also features special guests; US rapper Rakim (Guilty All The Same), Page Hamilton (All For Nothing), Daron Malakian (Rebellion) and Tom Morello (Drawbar). The newbie sounds seemingly like a promising release.
Keys To The Kingdom unlocks the first glimpse of the album, beginning with a primary focus on Chester’s heavier vocal technique before the killer guitar riff kicks in, Shinoda’s rap sequences sees the song lower its dynamic. Second single All For Nothing (feat. Page Hamilton) wastes no time in getting down to the loud and energetic intro, and Hamilton’s contribution to the chorus with the vocal shouts throughout make the song all the more powerful. Leading single Guilty All The Same (feat. Rakim) is a multitude of dynamic layers, it is not consistently loud from beginning to end; there was a sentimental value to collaborating with Rakim for the track (he was one of Shinoda’s earlier influences) and Shinoda thought that if he rapped the bridge it would be too predictable, even though Rakim’s vocal is fairly indistinguishable from his own. Short interlude The Summoning eases us into War, the album’s fastest paced track thus far which effortlessly taps into the hard rock genre defining The Hunting Party, it only goes for 2:11 but leaves you wanting a bit more. The loudness successfully continues with the edgy Wastelands which also has a catchy hook in its chorus, it could potentially be single material.
Until It’s Gone features some cleaner vocals by Chester in the verses, which provides a little relief and rest from the heaviness of its predecessors; it still manages to maintain the loudness however, which again compliments Linkin Park’s goal for the album. Rebellion (feat. Daron Malakian) is a great guitar track, featuring System of a Down’s Daron Malakian whose contribution is what gives the track that extra lift, you are a little distracted from listening to the vocal whilst you are busy admiring the guitar work. We get a good dose of heavy rock with Mark The Graves, the long intro is escalating but makes way for a more cleaner and softer vocal in the verse, followed by Chester’s incredible higher range. Drawbar features Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, an instrumental track; Final Masquerade was released as part of the triple single release this month (along with Wastelands & Rebellion), the band take a more light approach with this track and is probably the most radio friendly. The Hunting Party comes to a close with final track A Line In The Sand, which starts off a bit slow, only to give the album the massive finale expected from it.
The Hunting Party is means for Linkin Park to show the world through their music that they won’t be backing down anytime soon. When listening to the new album, you can’t help but look back and relate the listening experience to 14 years ago when the band released Hybrid Theory; the band themselves drew inspiration from that particular album to recreate it and release a more modern version of it. The band’s last two albums were taken on a different direction from their trademark sounds, The Hunting Party will please the majority of Linkin Park’s oldest fans as well as make some new ones. It sounds like the group the world fell in love with all those years ago, and it’s great to see them back doing what they’re best at; writing, and this time self-producing a great heavy rock album.