Thursday, June 26, 2014

Linkin Park - The Hunting Party ALBUM REVIEW

" I give you what you came for
This is not the same flow
Got a different method
But I still can bring the pain so "

Take a few moments and read vocalist Mike Shinoda's rap verse from the opening song Keys To The Kingdom above, because if there's anyway to describe what the Cali based rap-rock group Linkin Park has to offer in their six full length record The Hunting Party, is perfectly summed up in that verse. We'll get to that specific song later, let's talk about the album in its entire first. 

For some fans, this record might be a dream come true. The band gears up their DeLorean time machine, feeds it with all the trash they got from the nay-sayers, preps their flux capacitor and literally goes back in time to take notes from influential acts like Motorhead, Helmet, Eric B. & Rakim, Anthrax and almost every other acts that inspired Nu metal to make a not so Nu metal record, but something close. But it's okay, because in a way the record is not aiming to be a Nu metal record by any means, but rather the record is some sort of a diary about the band's journey of refining old school rock music. 

The opening track Keys To The Kingdom doesn't takes it time to slow down and introduce the record smoothly, the song is just firing missiles in every direction. That energy continues on with All For Nothing (ft. Page Hamilton of Helmet) and the album's lead single Guilty All The Same (ft. Rakim). Both songs have different structure to them which makes them both unique and identical in some way, but they are songs that could make the crowd go crazy like it was 1999. The Summoning/War is a song though that is kind of hard to swallow, especially if you didn't get the punk influence that the song offers. By the second half of the album it is undeniable that some of that high energy from the first half ran dry. Wastelands and Until It's Gone both are good songs, but both felt like the play-safe of the record. Drawbar (ft. Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine) maybe the biggest surprise of the album, because if you're expecting Linkin Park/Rage Against The Machine/Audioslave going all out wrecking your house, this is not that song. It's more a soft piano instrumental track, but a good one though, makes you feel relaxed after all the boom-bastic noises we've heard before. Final Masquerade, is undeniably one of the most saddest Linkin Park songs of late, it's just that great it makes you feel sad. The closing track A Line In The Sand, I honestly have mixed feeling to it. It's like it's both a tribute track to the previous songs of the record and just a rehash of recent ideas because they're simply running out of it.

The band themselves pushed their limits to show everybody that they are still capable of pulling such amazing feats. Lead vocalist Chester Bennington still has that amazing vocal range, even though with age he sounds like he could use a glass of water badly. Mike Shinoda's verses are all relevant, both singing and rapping. He's rap verses are maybe few but it made him look like an underdog claiming victory from the big players, but he sings like a less-intimidating puppy. Guitarist Brad Delson and drummer Rob Bourdon are the members the felt like they've pushed their limits and channel their inner angst-y teenagers to bring out the fire of this record. Bassist Dave Farrell and DJ Joe Hahn are the ones that felt like they were left out in the background though, but their functionality still brings more fire power to the record. 

The Hunting Party may not be the Hybrid Theory III or Meteora 2.0 some fans were expecting. It's not a perfect record, but in terms of fluidity it is flawless. This is definitely the rock record every Linkin Park fan and regular head-bangers deserve.

Track by track thoughts:

  1. KEYS TO THE KINGDOM - bring on the pain, brotha!
  2. ALL FOR NOTHING (ft. Page Hamilton) - you know what would make this song more awesome? crowd vocals. Ya'know? like the ones from Thirty Seconds To Mars.
  3. GUILTY ALL THE SAME (ft. Rakim) -  hit me with the double peds Rob. Just don't break your back again.
  4. THE SUMMONING - Err, okay. I guess?
  5. WAR - Is Chester calling out the astral beast? 
  6. WASTELANDS - a bit generic, don't you think?
  7. UNTIL IT'S GONE - play-safe, next. 
  8. REBELLION (ft. Daron Malakian) - where's my crowd vocals with Serj Tankian? That would have been cool 
  9. MARK THE GRAVES - the filler song
  10. DRAWBAR (ft. Tom Morello) - Yeah, I could use some slow instrumental
  12. A LINE IN THE SAND - you're running out of ideas, aren't you? 

Score: A

Linkin Park's The Hunting Party available now. 

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