Linkin Park's 'The Hunting Party' - What You Need To Know
It seems strange in the week that Linkin Park have just headlined Download Festival playing their 27 million selling debut album Hybrid Theory through in full that there’s also a new album to talk about, but there is, it’s titled The Hunting Party and it's out now (you can preview it by clicking it on the icon on the right-hand side of the page). Here's what you need to know about it...
What’s The Background?
It’s fair to say that the last two Linkin Park studio albums A Thousand Suns and Living Things have deviated strongly from the band’s very successful formula of big walloping nu metal riffs and skyscraper sized choruses, incorporating layered electronics, more samples and decidedly softer moments.
After some dodgy reviews and lots of complaints from the group’s hardcore fanbase, not to mention seriously shrinking sales, they’ve decided to put guitars front and centre once more, as the bloodcurdling scream that kicks this album off goes to show.
The band have spoken at length about their desire to recreate the vibe of Hybrid Theory and wrote with that in mind, even without frontman Chester Benington, who was on tour with the Stone Temple Pilots while the majority of the album was written. In a number of interviews, Benington has confessed to being presently surprised by the band’s new direction and has spoken of how much the band are looking forward to playing the new songs live.
Who’s At The Controls?
After working with some of biggest names in the past, including Rick Rubin and Don Gilmore, this time the band’s frontman Mike Shinoda and guitarist Brad Delson are at the controls, which is an interesting move. Not that it’s new for Shinoda, who has acted as co-producer on the band’s last four albums.
Are There Any High-Profile Guests?
There are indeed. Helmet mainman Page Hamilton features on the driving ‘All For Nothing’, while System Of A Down guitarist and all-round oddball Daron Malakian guests on ‘Rebellion’. Malakian isn’t the only six-string slinging royalty on the record, with Rage Against The Machine legend Tom Morello also guesting on a track named ‘Drawbar’. Finally rapper Rakim adds a grunt and a verse to new single ‘Guilty All The Same’.
What Does It Sound Like?
Well they haven’t been lying, the album is a lot heavier than anything the band have done for a decade. In particular tracks like ‘Wastelands’ and ‘Guilty All The Same’ have a real driving power in the guitars and a smack round the face of a chorus. There are quieter moments too, like ‘Until It’s Gone’ and ‘Final Masquerade’, but, most strinkingly, there are guitar solos, loads of them.
What Are The Standout Tracks?
‘Guilty All The Same’ packs a real punch as does ‘Drawbar’. The album’s absolute highlight though is the bombastic ‘Wastelands’.
Does It Deliver?
It does. It doesn’t capture the rage and power of Hybrid Theory, but it’s easily the best thing the band have done for a decade.
Check back to hmv.com over the weekend for a review of Linkin Park’s headline show at Download Festival.