First Reaction: Linkin Park – "The Hunting Party"
Fri, 30 May 2014 08:11:47
Linkin Park deliver a new kind of heavy on The Hunting Party. Now, this isn't simply a retread of their first two classics Hybrid Theory and Meteora. No, it's actually fiercer, fierier, and more fluid. This is a band sharpened by years of experience on the road and five previous studio albums. These are men on a mission. Mind you, they succeed with flying colors too, redefining what heavy can mean in the process as all timeless hard rock records should.
"Keys to the Kingdom" begins with a warbling and warped scream from Chester Bennington before galloping into a distinct deadly Brad Delson six-string crescendo. Rob Bourdon bashes out a bruising groove like his life depends on it, while Dave "Phoenix" Farrell deftly throws down on the bass punctuated by Joe Hahn's electronic wizardry. Mike Shinoda drops his signature fire as all of the elements forge together into a teeth kicking opening anthem a propos for any festival worldwide.
The pummeling continues on "All for Nothing" with a little help from Helmet's Page Hamilton. A towering wall of distortion can barely contain Bennington's feral howl, and everything punches with undeniable potency. The first single "Guilty All the Same" enlists an incendiary verse from Rakim, while Shinoda and Bennington fire back and forth punishingly. Airy and atmospheric, a minute-long interlude "The Summoning" sets the stage for the band's most explosive salvo to date, "War". Gnashing punk grit clashes with cybernetic thrash for a two-minute onslaught fortified by impressive soloing from Delson—who truly steps into the spotlight on this album as a modern guitar god. Bennington's screams pierce in the best way possible as well. Shinoda grabs the mic again on "Wastelands", lyrically lighting up some of his best verses since "Nobody's Listening", while the single "Until It's Gone" functions as a bombastic and booming call-to-arms.
Another standout, "Rebellion", sees Linkin Park team up with System of a Down shredder and singer Daron Malakian. He provides a distinct Middle Eastern groove as everybody teams up on a united vocal that's powerful enough to incite revolution. This is a special moment as it codifies the lasting power of the turn-of-the-century rock scene which spawned both groups. One more legend, Mr. Tom Morello pf Rage Against the Machine lends some mind-bending fretwork to "Drawbar", an entrancing instrumental emblematic of their diversity.
"Final Masquerade" should serve as the soundtrack to a film's climax it's so cinematic and chilling. Once again, the boys expand their songwriting seamlessly, drawing true emotion from this moment. However, "A Line in the Sand" is their most epic cut to date teetering between subtle balladry and volatile vocal explosions to a backdrop of instrumental intricacy.
Linkin Park promised a heavy record. Not only did they make good on that process, but they also changed the game in the process. This isn't just a party for longtime fans and heavy music lovers everywhere, it's one of the best albums of the year.
What's your favorite Linkin Park song? Are you excited for The Hunting Party on June 17?
Pre-order on the band's official site here!