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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Linkin Park -- The Hunting Party

 photo Linkin_Park_The_Hunting_Party_album_art_final_zps73d5153f.jpg

After Living Things, Linkin Park parried about the idea of making an even dancier album. They instead made the heaviest album of their career. The Hunting Party is Linkin Park's take on 80's punk and metal. The cool thing is, The Hunting Party still very much sounds like Linkin Park. This is 80's punk and metal through a Linkin Park lens--still a smooth blend of rapping and singing, and still with the distinct sound each particular musician in the band has carved out over the past decade-and-a-half, only unleashed. The guitar player actually plays solos, and uses the most wicked tone he's yet discovered. The drummer throws the electronic pads in the trash, beats his snare drum to a bloody pulp (he also broke his back while recording), and pulls off some rapid-fire drums rolls he never even hinted to be capable of. Through the first half of the album, it's fun just trying to guess what the band are going to do next...but then "Until It's Gone" happens. "Until It's Gone" isn't a bad song, but it follows the same Linkin Park template of mid-tempo, synth-led single they've done countless times (well, I could count them, but I'll just throw out "What I've Done," "New Divide," and "Burn It Down" as examples). From there on out, Linkin Park flit back-and-forth from the heavier, old-school sound of The Hunting Party's first half, to a more generic, polished Linkin-y Park sound.
I actually only reviewed these seven albums so I could use the term "Linkin-y Park."
Anyway, while The Hunting Party is quite good overall, it is a shame the band compromised the sound they created for its first half during its second . They could have had a cohesive masterpiece if they'd kept it up, but instead this is just a pretty good Linkin Park album--not perfect, but another delightful oddball in a catalog full of delightful oddballs.
Keep em coming, weirdos.

ONE FINAL NOTE: I feel like I should point out a highlight in Linkin Park's continued lyrical progression. The Hunting Party's eighth track, "Rebellion," focuses on the aesthetics of rebellious young Americans vs the actual, violent rebellions of faraway humans whose lives are in peril every day.

We act it out
We wear the colors
Confined by the things we own
We're not without
We're like each other
Pretending we're here alone

And far away, they burn their buildings
Right in the face of the damage done

We are the fortunate ones
Who've never faced oppression's gun
We are the fortunate ones
Imitations of rebellion

Nice. Not something people talk about often, and the tone of the song fits guest guitar player, Daron Malakian, perfectly.

2014 Warner Bros.
1. Keys to the Kingdom 3:38
2. All for Nothing 3:33
3. Guilty All the Same 5:56
4. The Summoning 1:00
5. War 2:11
6. Wastelands 3:15
7. Until It's Gone 3:53
8. Rebellion 3:44
9. Mark the Graves 5:05
10. Drawbar 2:46
11. Final Masquerade 3:37
12. A Line in the Sand 6:35

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