In November, a new Linkin Park album was released. Linkin Park’s last two albums were not what I would judge as heavy metal or even heavy rock. Perhaps metal rap, with an element of punk rock is closer when labelling the band’s genre of music. Mike Shinoda actually described The Hunting Party as “almost a prequel to Hybrid Theory.” The band has two vocalists – one who has a fantastic vocal range and the other vocalist has a background in hip-hop. The first release from the album “Guilty All the Same,” is a guitar dominated song and Brad Delson, has been quoted online as saying that this song sets the tone for what is to come on the album.
This album is not produced by Rick Rubin, which has left fans speculating on what they can expect from Linkin Park without their genius producer. The lyrics attack politicians, rule-makers, ex lovers and anyone else in their line of fire, accompanied by some pretty awesome and loud guitar. The entire album is very different to what we have heard in recent years. This CD does incorporate the synthesized and electronic effects that Linkin Park have been famous for over the last ten years, but these effects have been dialled back. I still cannot decide if this album is metal, heavy rock, metal rap or even punk.
Keys to the Kingdom: The opening track begins with hysterical screaming and full-on drumming. The guitars jump into the fray and Linkin Park’s opening number seems to be going in a hard punk direction. Once the vocals begin it is clear that the intention is to give the song a metal ambiance. The vocals try hard to give the listener the impression that it is back to basics for Linkin Park and that the track is a preview of what is to come.
All for Nothing: The guitar continues to dominate, and the beat slows down. This song is about disobeying orders; the lyrics give the listener a feeling of rebellion. The other vocalist you hear is Helmet’s, Page Hamilton performing on the chorus.
Guilty All the Same: This is the track that was released before the album came out. It features hip-hop legend Rakim. The first minute is a build up of guitar playing, which builds to give it a more metal atmosphere. The lyrics suggest the vocalists are attacking the media, and it’s easy to see why fans were excited for the albums release after hearing this track.
The Summoning: This track is exactly sixty seconds long; it is a preface for the next track, an interlude to build tension – like the act of defusing a bomb. That’s at least what I felt, especially after listening to the next track.
War: This track was more punk rock than anything else. It is probably one of the best songs on the album however, in two minutes and eleven seconds it delivers its message loud and clear, with a stunning guitar solo by Brad Delson.
Wastelands: The electronic effects help this song which is definitely more rap than anything else. Shinoda does most of the rap vocals, and the guitar work is brilliant. This song does not seem to attack anyone in particular with its lyric, in fact Bennington comes across as though he is disgruntled with everything.
Until It’s Gone: This track begins with synthesized effects amongst the sounds of loud, heavy guitars. “Until It’s Gone” comes across as an electronic rock song, with a low bass line and heavy guitars. The lyric seems clichéd, however Bennington’s vocal ability is outstanding on this track.
Rebellion: Probably the best guitar work on this CD happens on this track. The guitar riffs in the intro are truly awesome. This track is about anger and having nowhere to direct the anger. That’s the feeling I got from “Rebellion” anyway.
Mark the Graves: The intro suggests a U2 influence. Punk drumming and loud guitars dominate the song, and the lyric suggests that we are contemplating the ruins of a failed relationship or perhaps some kind of natural or human oriented disaster, such as a terrorist attack.
Drawbar: This is a great track, the guitar, the lyrics, the piano, which was a surprise addition. More synthesized sounds and guitarist Tom Morello makes this song pretty awesome.
Final Masquerade: More synthetic sounds and amazing guitar riffs turn this track into a hard rocking track. The chorus is divine, you feel like singing along with the. The lyric is about a love affair gone wrong, which leads us to the final track.
A Line In the Sand: Many critics have said that Shinoda sounds a lot like Richard Page from Mr. Mister. In any case this track closes out the album with a bang. The lyric suggests anger at a certain authority figure, a president perhaps or someone who instigated war that turned out to be, in terms of peace, a waste of time and a senseless loss of life. It could also be interpreted as anger at a relationship that ended very badly.
Whether you see Linkin Park as a metal band or perhaps punk or rap, or heavy rock with electronic and synthetic overdubs, they are a great band and this is a great album that all Linkin Park fans need to hear. It is definitely going to go down as a classic Linkin Park CD, it is truly one of their best releases.