Friday, 4 July 2014

Linkin Park - Hunting Party

The Hunting Party (album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Hunting Party
A monochrome archer pointing and aiming downwards imposed onto a predominantly white and light grey background.
Studio album by Linkin Park
ReleasedJune 13, 2014
RecordedMay 2013 - April 2014 at
Larrabee Sound Studios, EastWest Studios and Glenwood Place Studios
(Los Angeles, California)
GenreAlternative metalhard rockrap rock
LabelWarner Bros.Machine Shop
ProducerBrad DelsonMike ShinodaEmile HaynieRob Cavallo
Linkin Park studio album chronology
Living Things
The Hunting Party
Singles from The Hunting Party
  1. "Guilty All the Same"
    Released: March 7, 2014
  2. "Until It's Gone"
    Released: May 6, 2014
  3. "Final Masquerade"
    Released: June 8, 2014
The Hunting Party is the sixth studio album by American rock band Linkin Park. The album, self-produced by band members Mike Shinoda and Brad Delson, was released by Warner Bros. Records on June 13, 2014. It is the first album since Meteora not to be produced with Rick Rubin, after producing the band's previous three studio albums. The title, The Hunting Party, is a contextual metaphor: Linkin Park is the party that is hunting to bring back the energy and soul of rock.
The Hunting Party is a departure from the band's recent electronic rock sound of their previous two studio albums. The album, described by Shinoda as simply "a rock record", serves a statement by the band against contemporary mainstream and active rockbands, accused by Shinoda as "trying to be other bands and playing it safe". Packaged by an artwork by Brandon Parvini based off an original drawing by James Jean, the album took under a year to record and produce, with material being improvisationally written in the studio by the band. The album also features guest appearances from Page Hamilton of HelmetRakimDaron Malakian of System of a Down, and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine.
The album was promoted by the band and Warner Bros, with multiple promotional teasers and interviews produced and published in the lead-up to the album's release and listening parties of the album being held worldwide on multiple dates. The band are also set to embark on the Carnivores Tour, a double-headline tour with Thirty Seconds to Mars, in support of the album. Before the album's official release, five tracks had been released as singles in promotion of The Hunting Party; "Guilty All the Same" in March 2014, "Until It's Gone" in May 2014 and a triple-release of "Wastelands", "Rebellion" and "Final Masquerade" in June 2014.




Linkin Park performing at Soundwave2013, during the Living Things Tour.
In 2010 and 2012 respectively, Linkin Park released their fourth and fifth studio albums A Thousand Suns and Living Things. The albums, both produced by Rick Rubin and Mike Shinoda, marked a shift in the band's musical direction from a hard rock-oriented sound, recognized with Hybrid Theory (2000) and Meteora (2003), to a more experimental and "cutting edge" sound.[1] Theelectronica-influenced albums, contrasting to what the band had released previously, were still commercially successful. A Thousand Suns was certified Platinum in seven countries and Gold in twelve other countries, and the album charted in the top five of nineteen national record charts,[2] peaking at #1 on the Billboard 200[3] and #2 on the UK Albums Chart.[4] It's successor, Living Things, was certified Gold in eleven countries, but was only certified Platinum in France by the SNEP.[5] The album, however, also charted within the top five of sixteen national record charts,[6] once again peaking at #1 on the Billboard 200,[3] and at #1 on the UK Albums Chart.[7]
Production on the band's sixth studio album began as a result of a series of events in which Mike Shinoda decided to drop the electronic and experimental sound of the band's previous two studio albums. Shinoda had originally produced and recorded demos, which continued the sound of A Thousand Suns and Living Things, for the band's sixth studio album during the band's Living Things Tour in 2013. He presented the demos to his bandmates, which received a positive reception from the rest of the band, and toproducer Rick Rubin, who was also positive towards the demos, although describing them to Shinoda as more "poppy" than he expected. However, Shinoda, after listening to the demos again after the end of the tour, felt a strong negativity towards his material, especially after Rubin's statements. In a Warner Music interview, Shinoda stated that "I was listening to the stuff I was making, but, for the most part, I listened to it and then I was like, 'This is not what I wanted to stand behind for the next album; I don't even believe in this music. This is a mistake; I don't like what I'm making'. I kind of went backwards into the process and scrapped all of it and started new stuff".[8]
Following A Thousand Suns and Living Things, albums which were created with leaving behind a sound that was "not new and not cool anymore" in mind,[9] the band's sixth studio album was approached as a return to the band's early sound, with the electronic sounds of their previous two studio albums being dropped in favor of the band's traditional rock instrumentation.[10] Using Hybrid Theory itself as a template, the band composed and recorded the album in vein of the album, but also considered the idea of a Hybrid Theorycomposed and recorded in context of modern times, in 2014 rather than 2000.[11] Brad Delson jokingly stated that the album was an "alternative Hybrid Theory" and "maybe its prequel", in context of the album being inspired by artists members of the band listened to before the band started their musical career.[12] Mike Shinoda told music magazine Rolling Stone about the ideas surrounding The Hunting Party: "We're not 18-year-old kids making a loud record – we're 37-year-old adults making a loud record. And what makes a 37-year-old angry is different than what made us angry back in the day".[11]


A sample of the fifth track, "War". While restoring their roots, the band also explored the history of rock music, incorporating various sounds from different eras and musical movements. "War", for example, emulates the sound of 90s punk and alternative rock.

Problems playing this file? See media help.
The band took a different method in writing new material for their sixth studio album as opposed to their previous albums. While for all their previous albums they used the traditional method of writing, demoing and rerecording in the studio, songs were instead written and composed in the studio itself, with no material being written or composed beforehand. Guitarist Brad Delson spoke about the methods used on the album in an interview with Premier Guitar, saying that "Something unintentional might be the coolest sound I make all day, and knowing how to allow those mistakes to happen and to shape them potentially makes for some great music".[13]
The Hunting Party has been described as an alternative metal,[14] hard rock[15] and rap rock record by professional reviewers.[16] Shinoda described the album's sound as a 1990s style of rock record "It's a Rock record. It's loud and it’s Rock, but not in the sense of what you’ve heard before, which is more like '90s Hardcore-Punk-Thrash".[17] He stated the "weak" status of modern rock in the music industry as an inspiration in recording a heavier rock album; to try to bring the sound of the 90s back to the forefront.[17] In an interview with MusicRadar, Delson stated that the album will feature many more guitar solos. He further stated that "this is from someone who was quoted early on as saying I hated them. Not that I hated them as a listener; I just don’t want to play any; I shirked guitar solos. Early on, I felt as though the songs we were making aesthetically didn't want them. This new batch of songs, to me, always want solos. I feel like every song has one."[18]


The Hunting Party was partly recorded atEastWest Studios in HollywoodCalifornia.
The Hunting Party was recorded at the Larrabee Sound Studios, located in HollywoodLos AngelesCalifornia. During the recording for the band's sixth studio album, the band would spend five or six days a week at the Larrabee Studios working on the record. The Hunting Party was also recorded in part at EastWest Studios, also located in Hollywood. There, drummer Rob Bourdon and Mike Shinoda would record drums and percussion for the album. The band would also record other material for the album at EastWest on occasion.[13]
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Shinoda said that the album was difficult for drummer Rob Bourdon, where he had to push himself to meet the music speed and style. He commented that "It's probably the hardest stuff he's ever played on one of our albums. He had to physically work his way up to it. He had to go running, lift weights, work with a trainer", eventually Bourdon feels that he had become a better drummer at the end of each day after recording.[11] Shinoda later told Q magazine that Bourdon had to seek help from achiropractor after he had broken his back marathon-recording material for the new album. Shinoda told Q that "Rob was killing himself. He played 10 hours a day for seven days straight and blew his back".[19]
OrangeBogner and ENGL brand amplifiers were used on the record by guitarist Brad Delson, providing a "core sound" described by engineer Ethan Mates as "a small collection of core tones to be used in a sonically consistent way throughout the record". Chandler brand amps were also used for overdubs and "higher parts".[20] Delson spoke about his studio setup for The Hunting Party, stating that "It’s great to have a setup where I can run combinations of heads and cabs simultaneously to get the most appropriate tone, or do something more straightforward like record just one cabinet with two mikes".[21]
Guitarist Brad Delson contributed greatly to the production of The Hunting Party.
On the last few records I certainly played guitar in the studio, but I’d been focusing on other instruments. I've been playing guitar since I was 12, and it had become fascinating to learn keyboards, programming, and Pro Tools, which is like an instrument in itself. But these songs are all about rediscovering the guitar and having a lot of fun with it. There’s an unpredictability to these songs that lends itself to me just picking up a guitar and playing insanity. Nothing is preplanned. For some of the faster solos I warm up, but not in an overtly methodical way. If I want to record a solo over at a fast tempo, I just noodle on that Strat for an hour until I’m hyper-fast. I don’t want to merge onto the highway at 15 miles per hour. I want to be at full speed by the time I get thrown on to it.
Lead singer Chester Bennington arrived late in the recording process of the album, having to be chosen and replaced Scott Weilandin the band Stone Temple Pilots, and then proceeded to record High Rise and tour with the band for most of 2013.[22][23] When he eventually joined the band in the studio, he was surprised to find the band had reverted to their heavier rock-centric sound. Bennington stated in an interview with Kerrang!: "Mike wrote tons while I was touring with Stone Temple Pilots last year. When I got home, there was a lot for me to catch up with, and he was playing me things and I was like, 'Dude, this is fucking awesome!' I was really surprised how heavy it was".[24]
The album features four guest artists; Rakim from the golden age hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim on "Guilty All the Same", Page Hamilton from American alternative metal bandHelmet on "All for Nothing", Daron Malakian from American rock band System of a Down for the song "Rebellion" and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine fame on the song "Drawbar".[25][26] Lead singer Chester Bennington commented on the collaborations, stating that "We really felt like if we need to be inspired and move in another direction. I think when we got Page in, Mike had written this chorus and sang it, and his voice had this tone, and it was unlike anything I'd heard from him before. And I was like, "Dude this is crazy, this sounds like a Helmet song! It's cool!" And we were like, "Dude, why don't we see if we can get like Page in here?" You know? And if that's why the song says it's feeling like it should be, then why don't we just go straight to the source".[27]



The album cover for The Hunting Party features a 3D modeled artwork by Brandon Parvini, who had previously designed the artworks for Living Things and the band's singlesduring the album's release cycle. The artwork was based off an original drawing, entitled "Archer", by Taiwanese American visual artist James Jean that was created by Jean for the band's sixth studio album.[28] It is one of many artworks by Jean to be used in the packaging of the album, which will also feature, in deluxe editions of the album, a lithograph,t-shirt and a 36-page art book by Jean himself. Jean's traditional style, notably different to the artwork created for The Hunting Party had been previously described by Dana Jennings of The New York Times as "suffused with a dreamy romanticism and lyricism worthy of Maxfield Parrish, even as Mr. Jean subverts those and other isms."[29]
Linkin Park had professed that they have been fans of James Jean's art for a while, describing discussions between the band and Jean as having "started naturally".[30] Joe Hahnserved as a creative director for the artwork of The Hunting Party, instructing Jean to "create a universe inhabited by powerful characters and defined by strange landscapes", with a general concept of having a unique "character" for each track on the album. Brad Delson also contributed ideas of "internal and external struggles", metaphorically depicted on a battlefield, where images such as "flesh tearing and transforming into different forms and brittle shards of crystal erupting from organic matter" would recur. Mike Shinodaexplained: "We try to approach our art—packaging, merchandise, tour visuals, videos, anything—in a holistic way. All the parts are interconnected, and by creating great imagery that can be used in multiple contexts, we can immerse the fans in a universe that is consistent and unique to each release. It's always a work in progress, but I feel like we've learned a lot and continue to make it better each time".[30]
James Jean was invited by Shinoda and Delson to listen to the band's rough material created early on during the recording sessions for The Hunting Party. He acknowledged the band's change of musical direction from A Thousand Suns and Living Things, and was inspired by the material to create artworks that were "charged with [the band's] intensity as well as their rationale for that change". However, Joe Hahn banned Jean from listening to any more material after Jean had performed some of the songs from memory on his piano.[30] Jean originally sketched each individual artwork for The Hunting Party in a personal sketchbook, where it felt more intimate and less precious to Jean. The minimality of the images was intentional, as the artworks would eventually be made into 3D-modelled artworks where lighting and texture would be added to each character. 20 artworks were made in the space of a month by Jean for Brandon Parvini and his team to transform into 3D-modelled artworks, with Parvini choosing exactly which artworks would be modelled forThe Hunting Party.[30]


The title of the album, The Hunting Party, is a contextual metaphor. The album, a return to the band's original harder rock-centric sounds, represents the band's desire to not only create something different from other rock bands, but to also bring back the "energy and soul" of rock itself, and that Linkin Park are the party that will hunt for that energy and soul. Shinoda elaborated on the title of the album in an interview with Kerrang!. He explained: "We got so sick of other bands trying to be other bands and playing it safe the whole time, so the album name comes from a theory about culture becoming too passive, everyone just standing around waiting for opportunities to come to them instead of going out and getting theirs. I'm aware there are always going to be heavier bands than us, but The Hunting Party is Linkin Park going out and getting it for ourselves".[24] The inspiration for the title came from a news article Shinoda read online about a Japanese writer's concerns about today's growing society. The writer described the young men of today as "herbivores", and explained how they are essentially grazing, waiting for an opportunity to come to them, rather than hunting for it.[30]


Linkin Park are set to embark with American rock band Thirty Seconds to Marson the double-headline Carnivores Tour.
On March 6, 2014, the band premiered "Guilty All the Same", which features American rapper Rakim, from the upcoming studio album through Shazam.[31] The track was later released by Warner Bros. on March 7, 2014 as the lead single promoting the then-unannounced sixth studio album by the band. A music video for "Guilty All the Same" was also produced and premiered on YouTubeon March 25, 2014. The music video, a continuation of the band's collaboration with Xbox, was made entirely with the in-game engine of Team Dakota's 2014 sandbox video game Project Spark. Additionally, the course made for the music video was made openly available by the band, giving players of Project Spark on Microsoft Windows and the Xbox One the opportunity of editing and remixing the course.[32]
While information about Linkin Park's sixth studio album had leaked beforehand, including the album's title and release date,[33][34]The Hunting Party was officially unveiled by the band and Warner Bros. Records on April 9, 2014.[10] The track listing of the album was additionally unveiled by Mike Shinoda and Linkin Park's management team on April 27, 2014.[35] "Until It's Gone", the seventh track on the album, became the second track to be unveiled. It was released as the album's second single on May 6, 2014. Pre-orders for the album were also opened on the same day, with "Guilty all the Same" and "Until It's Gone" released early on the album's iTunes Store page.[36] A music video for "Until It's Gone" was then released on June 11.[37] "Wastelands" was released early on the iTunes Store on June 1, 2014,[38] and was later released as a single on June 2.[39] On June 3, 2014, Chester appeared on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show to premiere the song, "Rebellion".[40] An official lyric video was released alongside a release of the track on the iTunes Store the same day on June 3, 2014. It was later released as a single, the fourth in promotion of the album, on June 4.[41]On June 8, 2014, Linkin Park premiered the third single "Final Masquerade" on MTV.[42][43][44]
A listening session for members of the Linkin Park Underground, the band's official premium fan club, took place on May 23, 2014 in HollywoodCalifornia. Passes to the event were also given away in competitions held by various California-based media outlets such as KROQ-FM. Further listening sessions for Linkin Park Underground members were announced for June 4, 2014 in various locations worldwide.[45][better source needed] The band, additionally, are set to host the tenth and eleventh editions of the LPU summit, a convention for Underground members, during the album cycle. The tenth edition will be held at the The Darien Lake Performing Arts Center in DarienNew York on August 21, 2014,[46] and the eleventh edition will be held at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, Texas on September 5, 2014.[47]
The band's first live performance of the The Hunting Party album cycle was on May 24, 2014 at the KMFA Day music festival, in which they headlined. The band performed "Guilty All the Same", "Until It's Gone" and "Wastelands" for the first time.[48] The band also performed as headliners at Rock in Rio Lisboa VI on May 30, 2014. During the performance, Mike Shinoda threw CD singles containing the studio version of "Wastelands" out into the open audience, with the intention of having fans leak the track, in the same manner as "Lies Greed Misery".[49][better source needed] Linkin Park are also set to embark on a double-headline tour of North America with American alternative rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars in support of both The Hunting Party and Thirty Seconds to Mars' 2013 album Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams.[50] The tour, dubbed the Carnivores Tour, will span 25 dates in August and September 2014, with American rock band AFI serving as opening act during the entire tour.[51]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[53]
Consequence of SoundC-[14]
The Guardian3/5 stars[55]
Loudwire4/5 stars[15]
The New Zealand Herald4/5 stars[16]
Rolling Stone2.5/5 stars[58]
USA Today3/4 stars[59]

Critical reception

Upon its release, The Hunting Party received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, the album has received an aggregated score of 65/100, which indicates "generally favourable reviews", based on 14 reviews.[52] Dave Simpson of Manchester-based newspaper The Guardian gave the album a mixed review. Upon giving the album three stars, he praised the band's return to their original sound, stating that "Shinoda's desire to make a punk rock record and Bennington's more ethereal electropop segments don't always make comfortable bedfellows, but Rob Bourdon's terrific drumming means the energy never lets up". Despite labeling some tracks of the record such as "Until It's Gone" cliched, he commented positively on the music and writing of others such as "Drawbar" and "Rebellion". He further wrote, "Linkin Park certainly know their audience, and here delicately navigate the gulf between their own aspirations and a fanbase who will celebrate the band's loud return to rocking hard".[55] Chris Schulz of Auckland-based newspaper The New Zealand Herald also gave the album a positive review, describing the record as "Loud, spontaneous and free", attributes that, he states, "aren't normally associated with Linkin Park, but The Hunting Party takes just seconds to prove the sixth release from the Californian precision-metal act is a different beast". He continues to compare the album with the band's recent discography, describing their past albums as having "sagged with overwrought ballads and pretentious soft-rock", while The Hunting Party "gets on with the task of rap-rocking like it's 1999 all over again".[16]
David Renshaw at NME states "It might not kill the Mumford and Butler clones, but The Hunting Party is an energetic effort at least." Renshaw also praises Daron Malakian's guest spot, but considers Tom Morello's contribution a disappointment.[56] AllMusic reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine observes "Far from sounding as if they're grasping at straws, Linkin Park seem rejuvenated, proving there is value in the cliché of returning to roots."[53] Dan Epstein from Revolver described the album as "...not only the hardest and heaviest thing they've ever released, but it's also their first album to pack the sort of guitar firepower that would actually appeal to your average headbanger." Epstein concludes by stating that it's proof that bands don't need to get softer in order to mature.[57] At Billboard, Kenneth Partridge states "Without the guidance of their bearded generalissimo, these Cali rap-rock commandos go rogue, flinging missiles in all directions. They attack record companies, politicians, rule makers, exes, and anyone else in sight, all the while rediscovering the savage fun of super-loud guitars."[54] Neil McCormick from The Daily Telegraph stated " is sleek, exciting and committed enough to suggest there is life in the rock beast yet".[60]

Commercial performance

The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart behind Lana Del Rey's Ultraviolence and Sam Smith's In the Lonely Hour, with first-week sales of 110,000 copies in the United States.[61] In its second week, the album dropped to number nine on the chart, selling 29,000 copies in the United States.[62]

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Linkin Park, except where noted. 
The Hunting Party
1."Keys to the Kingdom"   3:38
2."All for Nothing(featuring Page Hamilton) 3:33
3."Guilty All the Same(featuring Rakim)Linkin Park, William Griffin5:56
4."The Summoning"   1:00
5."War"   2:11
6."Wastelands"   3:15
7."Until It's Gone"   3:53
8."Rebellion(featuring Daron Malakian)Linkin Park, Daron Malakian3:44
9."Mark the Graves"   5:05
10."Drawbar" (featuring Tom Morello) 2:46
11."Final Masquerade"   3:37
12."A Line in the Sand"   6:35
Total length:

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