CD Review: Linkin Park - "The Hunting Party" (Warner Bros.)

First things first, The Hunting Party is not Hybrid Theory. While it may find the band at their heaviest since 2003’s Meteora, it’s still an unfair comparison as they are two entirely different records indicative of two entirely different time periods. The Hunting Party sticks an emphatic middle finger in the face of today’s sterile rock scene as frontman Chester Bennington defiantly proclaims ‘No control/No surprise/I'm my own casualty/I fuck up everything I see/Fighting in futility’ during the opening seconds of “Keys to The Kingdom,” a clear result of Mike Shinoda and company being tired of ‘hundreds of bands copying bands like Mumford and Sons and Arcade Fire.’ While Linkin Park has always been perfectly capable of unleashing the heavy (see “No More Sorrow” – Minutes To Midnight, “Blackout” – A Thousand Suns, “Victimized” – Living Things), they haven’t brought it at such a clip in nearly a decade. The Hunting Party is a cacophony of sound, fueled by strident, chugging guitars and booming, deafening percussion (“Guilty All The Same,” “Rebellion,” “Mark the Graves”). “Final Masquerade” is The Hunting Party’s “Numb,” an emotional mid-tempo ballad full of lingering and haunting melodies, and the record also dabbles in borderline hardcore punk (“War”) and serves up perhaps the bands flat out heaviest output to date (“A Line in the Sand”). Furthermore, the vocal back and forth between Bennington and Helmet’s Page Hamilton on “All For Nothing” is a thing of beauty and the shredding “Wastelands” featuring System Of A Down’s Daron Malakian could have very well been the lead single off of a new SOAD record. No, The Hunting Party doesn’t prove Linkin Park is back, because, the fact is, they never left.  
Grade: A

Go Download: “A Line In The Sand”