Review Summary: Linkin Park's "The Hunting Party" serves to showcase the talents of their beloved guitarist Brad Delson in the most heavy and gritty record of the band's career to date.
Linkin Park have answered the concerns of both fans and critics alike with "The Hunting Party." Produced by front-man Mike Shinoda and guitarist Brad Delson, the sixth studio effort from the California band is fancied a "prequel" to their debut record as it aspires to conjure creative exaltation; the raw emotional drive any young musician might feel when they're inspired, by their favorite song, to pick up a guitar and shred on an 8-track.
"The Hunting Party" is a pounding thrash-fest that MIGHT be a concept album akin to the band's fourth release "A Thousand Suns." In fact, the record shares a chromosome with all of the preceding records of the band's career, you just can't recognize them because Joe Hahn has been locked in the basement with all of his gear. While the guitar-work on the album is impressive, most of shock value comes from simple fact that THERE ARE GUITARS on the album.
We are also used to front-men Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda rubbing their scented oils all over everything Linkin Park. From interviews with the press and right down to Itunes promotional photos, all we see are the singers; they represent the group...but what of the rest of the band? Make no mistake, Brad Delson is the star of this show. I think this was a wonderful step for Linkin Park to take in their career. Bennington noted in an interview that the band was very close to moving in a ‘pop’ direction, and thus “The Hunting Party” is really a statement that the group is not ready to conform to the structures that they have built for themselves as a final destination.
Delson’s performance on the record takes full precedent over any atmosphere or lyrical statement the band has produced in past endeavors. Thankfully, Shinoda’s raps are conducive to the fast choppy guitar riffs that resemble Avenged Sevenfold and even Motorhead. As for fans who believe Chester has gone soft recent years, you no longer need to worry because he SCRRREEEAAAAMS on this thing. There is an intensity to the music, this time around, that is completely unlike anything the band has done before. Keys to the Kingdom opens the set-list with an intense vocal performance by Bennington as he shrieks his way through each chorus.
All For Nothing features Page Hamilton’s vocals over a series of slow but steady guitar riffs that will blow out your speakers if you listen to it right. The fun continues all the way through the juggernaut ghost of punk-rock War. Big guitars, fast drums and atmospheric bass bleed a raw and gritty bootleg production puss that sounds almost dilettante in the first half of the “Hunt.” This raspy rattle of dirt and dust will really turn on fans of industrial metal music who have grown tired and hateful of the polish Linkin Park has recently dished.
Entering the second half of “The Hunting Party,” we have the bouncy anthem that is Wastelands followed by the sole shade of previous work Until It’s Gone. Serving as the second official single of the album, Gone stumbles a bit in its first verse; there is small problem with repetition. However, once the chorus is reached, everything fans love about the band suddenly shines through, and we are hit with one of the best vocal performances of Chester’s career. Daron Malakian adds the most potent and memorable influence of the guest appearances in Rebellion; a ghostly semblance of something from his home-band System of A Down that will leave Linking Park fans under the impression that they have been Rick-Rolled.
The greatest strength of the record is also its saddest truth, which is that Linkin Park doesn’t use enough of their band when they work on a project. Even if you’re not a fan of Delson’s riffs on this record, you have to admit this sound would be perfect in a more team-oriented ensemble performance. “The Hunting Party” is loaded with passion and soul, but certain elements are still missing. What we have here might be the polar opposite of “Living Things.” It is time to let Mr. Hahn out of the basement to assist in production of the next album because I have feeling his collaborate efforts with Delson will spawn the next Meteora.