Linkin Park
The Hunting Party


3.7
great

Review

by Irving Tan STAFF
June 15th, 2014 | 967 replies | 51,498 views


Release Date: 06/17/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Make no mistake – this is the record that Linkin Park know they should have made seven years ago.

There was a time when the incomprehensibly thick Minutes to Midnight threatened to swallow Linkin Park whole. Laughably self-absorbed on an artistic level while retaining the intellectual breadth of a roadside billboard, the album ended up being remembered more for its criminal underuse of Mike Shinoda than for its parent band’s efforts at hauling themselves away from a severely outdated nu metal sound. Acutely aware that they were on the brink of a spectacular implosion, Linkin Park doubled down and managed to put together 2010’s A Thousand Suns, a fatalistic thesis of unconstrained experimentation and giddy Shinoda-Bennington interplay that stands to this day as their most expansive and thrilling work. The comparatively pedestrian Living Things followed two years later, and it dutifully rode out what remained of its predecessor’s success, indulging in electronic grooves and strangled guitar lines in a thinly-veiled attempt at merely keeping pace with the times.

If there’s anything that we’ve learnt from all this, it’s that Linkin Park are at their best when they embrace their wildest impulses. They also seem to have realized as much, as proven by their decision to do away entirely with the first batch of demos that were crafted in between breaks on the 2013 Living Things Tour. "It needed to be visceral,” explained Shinoda in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. "We need to weed out a lot of the soft, emo kind of approach to our music, and we need to weed out anything that feels aggressive for aggressive's sake.” To achieve these goals, Shinoda and co. chose to return to the alternative rock template which they had first showcased on Minutes to Midnight; thankfully though, all similarities with that ill-fated album end there, as nearly everything about The Hunting Party points to a desire to right the wrongs of the past. Make no mistake – this is the record that Linkin Park know they should have made seven years ago.

Album opener “Keys to the Kingdom” is the sound of six rejuvenated men scything down the zeitgeist of Living Things, with the song’s distorted introduction coming off as a seemingly deliberate attempt at throwing off unsuspecting listeners. “I’m my own casualty!/I fuck up everything I see!/Fighting in futility!” screams Chester Bennington, as drummer Rob Bourdon lays down an earth-shattering drum groove all around him. Second track “All for Nothing” in turn storms out of the gates with a series of walloping guitar licks that eventually lead into a series of call-and-response vocals between Bennington and Helmet's Page Hamilton, who turns in a solid shift here. Then there’s the gritty “War”, which picks up where Living Things’ “Victimized” left off and throttles by on a coarse combination of speed and power before disintegrating into a bristling, chewed-up bridge that's as sharp as it is raw. The album’s middle third is even better: the Daron Malakian-backed “Rebellion” is perhaps the best cut on the entire record, with the former System of a Down guitarist choosing an angle of attack that is strongly reminiscent of Mesmerize/Hypnotize-era SOAD. “Wasteland” is equally as essential, with the song deriving much of its strength from Bourdon’s tribal fills and the effortless swagger that has now become Shinoda’s calling card.

That being said, not everything on The Hunting Party works out completely as planned: “Until It’s Gone”, for instance, sounds like what happened after a label representative turned up uninvited at the studio where Linkin Park were working and told them that they needed to put a made-for-radio single on the album. Both Bourdon and guitarist Brad Delson, who up to this point have performed every song with a knife between their teeth, suddenly find themselves having to play with the handbrake on. And the less said about Bennington’s shambolic lyrics (“I thought I kept you safe and sound/I thought I made you strong/But something made me realize/That I was wrong”), the better. Elsewhere, Tom Morello’s performance on “Drawbar” turns out to be nothing more than a red herring, while “The Summoning”, a full minute of chewed-up samples, drum fills, and ambient noises, does nothing but bleed off some of the album’s hard-earned momentum. Worst of all perhaps, are the numerous moments of perceptible hubris on the record: just prior to the start of “Guilty All The Same”, for instance, Shinoda can be heard telling Delson to “Put the heavy shit there” – it’s one thing for a band to have the guts and desire to attempt a stylistic change; it's another thing entirely for them to be so far up their own asses about it.

But when all is said and done, Linkin Park have ultimately acted in a way that both surprises and delights. While it’s worth noting that the album’s staying power is slightly suspect (it’s only been about a week since the stream dropped and already its share of thrills feel like they are starting to run a little dry), to harp on that seems rather churlish. A little over two years ago, it seemed that Linkin Park probably had just enough going for them to stay alive, but after proving here that they can create multiple slabs of widescreen hard rock that manages to push their boundaries while still maintaining the overall integrity of the band, I wouldn’t be surprised if history ends up remembering The Hunting Party as the most important album that the Agoura Hills outfit made for themselves.




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user ratings (582)
Chart.
3.5
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2014



7163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

John with no Yoko/More power less people.

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2014



13970 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The party don't start til Irving walk in

Digging: Abigor - Leytmotif Luzifer

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2014



7163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Haha, there's already been like what...six reviews worth of party? LOL.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2014



31053 Comments


And still it's a party over before midnight

Digging: Marcel Dettmann - Fabric 77

TalonsOfFire
June 15th 2014



6221 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This site sometimes

Digging: Ulver - Blood Inside

iswimfast
June 15th 2014



1284 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nailed it.

Digging: A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Sea When Absent

MartinBright
June 15th 2014



39 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

1.5 - As the time progresses, they do suck more and more . . . What a dissapointment

Xenophanes
Emeritus
June 15th 2014



10592 Comments


This is a sobering reminder that Minutes to Midnight came out seven years ago...when I was a high school senior @__@

VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2014



876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Spot on Irving.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2014



7163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

This is a sobering reminder that Minutes to Midnight came out seven years ago...when I was a high school senior @__@

As that album famously put it...the little things give you away.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2014



7163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

And cheers, iswimfast and Vheissu.

Out of curiosity, what are your favourite tracks on the album? (this question is directed at the both of you)

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2014



28389 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

oh YES, irv

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2014



876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Keys and Rebellion joint for me, I'm glad you highlighted the latter in particular.

Green Baron
June 15th 2014



19136 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i love you irving

Digging: Royal Blood - Royal Blood

FCY
June 15th 2014



205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. Sums it up perfectly.

iswimfast
June 15th 2014



1284 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

keys and a line in the sand. and the chorus of all for nothing is a pretty nice changeup.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2014



7163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

"Keys" is great - that opening sample where they really chew up Chester's voice is a nice touch. I really liked it. "A Line in the Sand" is a bit 50/50 for me - it felt like Linkin Park trying to go prog (an idea I considered floating in the review but decided it was more gut feel than something I had actual + ample evidence for).

Nothing comes close to "Rebellion" though - that bit in the chorus and coda of the song when Malakian throws it in with Delson behind him just hits it out of the park, every damn time. So simple but surprisingly so effective.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2014



9550 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review man. My fav is definitely all or nothing.

BrushedRed
June 15th 2014



979 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Mixed feelings so far but one thing is for certain: this is the best thing since Meteora

Green Baron
June 15th 2014



19136 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Keys is definitely my favorite so far, and All for Nothing and A Line in the Sand come close. Then we have Rebellion, Guilty and War, which I both love but not as much as the best.

Final Masquerade is their best ballad since MtM though



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