Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Hunting Party, the sixth studio album from Linkin Park.
In green is my opinion. I grew up listening to Linkin Park. Their newer albums do not appeal to me, however. I hope The Hunting Party truly is a rebound from the electronic sound of Linkin Park’s last couple of records, as Mike Shinoda claims it will be.
In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He too has grown up listening to Linkin Park. He has grown tired of their electronic sound. He wants them to return to the rock/metal sound that he grew up with.
Let’s start our track-by-track review!
Keys to the Kingdom
“No control, no surprise” defines this opening song perfectly. Shinoda’s vocals are sung without a sliver of passion and Chester’s screaming is overkill. The loud guitar and rapid drumming isn’t tasteful whatsoever, though these heavy sounds indicate a welcomed break from Linkin Park’s electronic sound. Good riddance. Now let’s see if the guys can get it together with this new yet somewhat familiar sound. The ending of this song is hilarious though. I hope we get more of that kid elsewhere on the record.
My God. This album starts with a bang. The band clearly shows they are back to their good old selves. For those of you who thought Chester could not scream, this song is a jaw-breaking punch to you! Mike’s rapping is great as usual, and the rest of the band plays an even bigger role compared to their older work. Keys to the Kingdom is an excellent, bomb-dropping intro to the album. Oh, and the ending is pretty funny and unexpected.
All for Nothing (feat. Page Hamilton)
All for Nothing is an ass-kicking track. Mike Shinoda and Page Hamilton take the wheel, crafting a hardcore sound that doesn’t stall. All for Nothing keeps moving forward. The chorus sounds like something taken from Breaking Benjamin, and I loved every second of it. This time around, the guitar solo was complementary to the song. All for Nothing is a fantastic song.
All for Nothing starts off with the classic rock/rap/metal combo we all know and love from Linkin Park. I am a fan of Page’s voice in the chorus. All For Nothing continues to give us the same energy that Keys to the Kingdom radiated, but with more rap. Have no fear, Chester is still in there with his screams!
Guilty All the Same (feat. Rakim)
Avenged Sevenfold, anyone? Guilty All the Same features some insane drumming and a wicked guitar riff that oozes A7X. Therefore, it should go without saying that this is a heavy song. Rakim fits right in with the Linkin Park crew, his voice acting as a fitting substitute for Shinoda’s, as they do sound similar. I would have liked for the band to have carried the dark piano throughout the song rather than just teasing it in the introduction, but Guilty All the Same is a great listen regardless.
First off, Guilty All the Same is the song that got me excited for the release of this album. I can easily get a feel for the metal vibe in this song due to the shredding guitar riff and heart-pounding drums. I also love Chester’s vocals on this track, and how he can easily go from singing softer to singing louder when the song transitions from the verse to the chorus. This is a perfect workout song. I love how heavy it is. I am not a fan of Rakim though, and I would have preferred to have Mike rapping instead.
The Summoning is a boiling of sound that teases a coming explosion…that never comes. I understand that this song is succeeded by War, a full-length song, but regardless, the building of this grandiose piece should not have ended where it did. Wasted potential, this track is.
Unfortunately, The Summoning is a short track that makes me wish (as usual) that it was longer. I feel like this song could have been something grand. It had high potential. It’s a dang shame that this one minute track is just a bunch of sounds thrown at us.
War is far from melodic. Chester yelling over uninspired-sounding guitar isn’t musical in the slightest. War isn’t a track that is infused with any sort of edge, making it forgettable before it could even be memorable.
War is another short song, but unlike The Summoning, it is a very satisfying piece of music. This song reminds of punk rock, much like Given Up from Minutes to Midnight. War sounds like it could be a song from another favorite band of mine, Rise Against! Once again, this is another solid, heavy song from LP! Linkin Park going punk is never a bad thing.
Throughout the duration of Wastelands, I was waiting for Chester to yell “Guilty All the Same!” This song sounds very similar, as far as I can tell, though the music in this track is far less interesting than the music in Guilty All the Same. No captivating guitar riff. No intriguing drumming. Wastelands is a repetitive song without any drive. I’m not a fan.
Right away, we are hit with an amazing guitar riff followed by Mike’s rapping. Wastelands begins by hitting us hard, and it remains hard-hitting for the entire song. Chester’s classic screaming is music to my ears. This song is nostalgia for older fans. It may be a bit repetitive, but that is no problem in this case.
Until It’s Gone
Chester begins this song by telling the listener that the message that he is about to communicate has been heard a thousand times, yet he goes ahead and tells us anyway. With a different message, this song could have been a success, as the music holds its own. The cliched, unoriginal lyrics keep it from getting off the ground, however. Don’t bother with Until It’s Gone.
Until It’s Gone really showcases how great Chester’s voice is and why I am a fan of it. The song starts off slow but then it picks up, although it does so without much screaming, which is fine. I don’t mind when Chester calms down his vocals. The instruments also tie in well with this song. Many may find this song boring and bland, but to me, it is a solid track on the album. It reminds me of Minutes to Midnight.
Rebellion (feat. Daron Malakian)
Daron Malakian must have snuck all of his band-members into the studio because Rebellion sounds like an all-out collaboration between System of a Down and Linkin Park. The rapid guitar and grooving drums are staples of System of a Down’s style, and they are present for the whole duration of the song. Even the lyrics and melodies within the song are SOAD in essence. I really dig the influence System of a Down had on the sound of this track. Rebellion is a big success.
The guitar riff in Rebellion reminds me of the riff in the song Assassin by Muse. With a title like Rebellion, I expected a song that spurred rebellious feelings. This song manages to do that. I could imagine people marching to this song, or having it be a theme song for anything in life. I absolutely love the guitar riff and vocals in Rebellion. Chester’s screaming, once again, is pleasant to hear, and it makes this song even more epic!
Mark the Graves
Mark the Graves is like that kid who you don’t ever want to encounter on a plane, in a restaurant, or in a movie theater. You know, that kid who can’t sit still for one minute? Mark the Graves is full of progression and fluctuation, keeping itself fresh for the five minutes that it runs. In the end, however, Mark the Graves is only a good track. Its frequent changes and jumps keep it from being branded as anything but that child who can’t sit still.
Once again, we get an intro that is just blasted away by heavy music. Mark the Graves has great harmony in it. It is nice to get a song that just features Chester’s voice without Mike’s rapping in it. Mark the Graves tells us loudly and clearly that Chester is angry at the world. This awesome band has created another great track.
Drawbar (feat. Tom Morello)
I don’t know what the hell a drawbar is, but I sure do enjoy this song. Drawbar is an outstanding instrumental piece from Linkin Park. The drumming, the piano, and the ambient guitar work together to create a cohesive, individual song that should be regarded highly. I am thankful that Linkin Park has ditched their electronic sound. If they hadn’t, this track wouldn’t have been happened the way it did.
I was excited to hear Tom Morello play guitar in an LP song, but instead I got to hear piano playing in this interlude song. This here is a wasted opportunity for Linkin Park, although I do not mind the entirety of the song, as it is guided by flowing piano and smooth drums. It is the odd ball of the album. Still, Drawbar is a solid instrumental song that is a breath of fresh air from all of the crazy, heavy, and heart pounding songs on The Hunting Party.
The title of this song is extremely fascinating, but the intrigue stops there. This mediocre track is nothing we haven’t heard before. There is some solid melody peppered at some points in the song, but it doesn’t carry much weight.
Final Masquerade starts off with an awesome drum beat followed by the top-notch vocals. This song reminds me of Shadow of the Day and Leave Out All the Rest from Minutes to Midnight, two songs I am a big fan of. I love how much softer this song is compared to the rest of the album. Final Masquerade communicates a great message and the guitar is flawless. This, much like Rebellion, could easily be a theme song. People will be able to find closure with Final Masquerade.
A Line in the Sand
I feel that what makes the best songs from the Hunting Party the best is their tightness. When Linkin Park doesn’t pause to throw out a soft verse. When they focus on the music rather than the tender lyrics. A Line in the Sand betrays all of that. They went back to the basics. This song isn’t captivating or catchy. It’s just there. Chester clearly gave his all, as did Shinoda, but A Line in the Sand is a worrisome closer. Is this the future of Linkin Park? Will they retreat to New Divide? A Line in the Sand has me scratching my head. I thought the guys flushed out this sound.
A Line in the Sand sounds like many other songs on the album, as it retains the eerie noises and guitar riffs the rest of the album has showcased. When Mike first sang, it reminded me of Pink Floyd. This song has an ominous atmosphere, and it is epic! A Line in the Sand has more of what we love from Linkin Park, and it is the perfect song to end the album with. Mike and Chester are so great together, and this song shows it. I love how the band really comes together more in this album, and how the main focus is not the lyrics for once. What I love about this album is that each song ties into one another. I am proud to say that The Hunting Party brings back the Linkin Park we all missed, and it is my favorite LP album thus far. You will not be disappointed with this album, and it blew my expectations all the way to the moon! Thank you once again for reading this roller coaster ride of hell review, and stay tuned for more!
My Top 3
All for Nothing
Guilty All the Same
Robby’s Top 3
A Line in the Sand
Overall, The Hunting Party is a small step in the right direction for the Linkin Park crew. The hard rock/metal sound that fans have been pleading for has returned with a new edge. This album isn’t stellar all the way through, however. There are plenty of weak tracks. This Porkchop is an enjoyable cut as long as you pick the meat out from the fat. I hope Linkin Park embraces this musical direction and fleshes it out. They have some work to do, but there is hope for these guys yet. This isn’t quite the revival of Linkin Park’s image, but it is the conception of something greater than their most recent work.