Linkin Park is the prime example of a band who has evolved a great bit. From “Hybrid Theory” to their newest album “The Hunting Party”, their sound has evolved into something much more refined, while keeping the true Linkin Park sound. They’ve had a couple bumps in the road * cough* A Thousand Suns *cough*, but ultimately have found the sound they are looking for and are sounding great here on “The Hunting Party”.
Kicking off the album, Keys to the Kingdom has some strange effects on Chester’s screams, but it actually sounds really fluid. That being said, the lack of effects on this album is actually the thing I would commend the most. There are some songs on this album, such as Guilty All the Same and War, that almost remind me of a Sing the Sorrow era AFI in sound. There just a lot of raw vocals and instrumentals here that make it feel much less produced than many of their previous attempts. They still have their signature Linkin Park transition song to fit in (The Summoning), which I thought was a nice little addition. One of my favorite song is Rebellion, featuring Daron from System of a Down. It seems perfect for him to be on this because the guitars on the track sounds almost exactly like a System of a Down song. This album is all over the place in the sound it trying to create, but doesn’t come off as confused.
As for the down sides of the album, there are only a couple. I really thought Until It’s Gone was one of the weakest songs in Linkin Park’s recent library. It’s just so generic sounding and the lyrics are an absolute snore fest. Also, I really thought Final Masquerade came off as too easy of a track. By that, I mean it really feels like little effort was put into it. It just feels to me like a filler song to get some more content on the CD. A Line in the Sand works well as a closing track, but I felt it could have been shortened and strengthened in some areas. The lyrical value is somewhat dull and it just didn’t give me an excited feeling on the way out.
So overall, the album is a progression in the right direction. Sure, in my mind nothing will ever be close to as good as “Hybrid Theory” or “Meteora”, but this is a sound I could get into. The album by no means is perfect, but it has more of a natural Linkin Park sound that I’ve been looking for. I know these guys still have more to give and I hope they continue to make great music.