August 13, 2014 Linkin Park – Reflecting on the making of “The Hunting Party”
It has been a busy two years for multi-platinum hard rock band Linkin Park. After spending a great portion of time in the recording studio for 2012’s Living Things, the band spent the early part 2013 touring around the world before returning back to the studio all over again to begin work on The Hunting Party. Taking nearly a year to record their sixth studio album, the fruits of their labor paid off when it was released this past June 13th. Having accomplished so much over the past thirteen years since the release of Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park has grown as musicians as well as human beings. Looking back on the powerful angst-filled hits “One Step Closer”, “Crawling”, and “In the End”, the band has seen their prospective grow into more social topics such as those discussed on 2007’s Minutes To Midnight. With age comes enlightenment, and with that comes different outlooks on life, the world, and what is dearest to the heart. Clearly tuned into societal issues, their proactive approach to helping others began back in 2005 with the formation of Music for Relief to help victims of natural disasters and bring awareness to climate issues. Since then, the foundation has helped raise money in a multitude of ways for those in need and helped plant over 800,000 trees worldwide. Coinciding with their passion to make a difference, their music has also morphed; fitting their moods going from nu-metal, to alternative rock, to electronic rock, and most recently into a heavier aggressive exploration on The Hunting Party. Tackling aggressive guitar driven sounds, the vocals of Chester Bennington along with Mike Shinoda follow suit with attention grabbing lyrics.
When asked if the band had an aggressive message they wanted to express with the lyrics of The Hunting Party Bennington stated, “I think for us lyrically, when it came down to what we wanted to write about, the conversations were less about what we wanted to write about and more about what we did not want to do in the studio. That is really where the most interesting revelations came from. We wanted to go in to make a heavier record and asked what are the things we should strive for in terms of the style, what are we drawing our inspiration from, and what are the things that we do not want to do. What are the things we want to stay away from? Clearly when you make aggressive music, for me, it was to go more aggressive with the style of singing and also with the lyrics.”
Staying true to that blanket ideology of the band, tracks like opener “Keys to the Kingdom”, “All for Nothing”, and “Guilty All the Same” convey messages of discontent and mistrust of government that many can relate with. While not sounding preachy and too one-sided, their approach comes across mature and objective without alienating the audience on either side of the political aisle. Bennington went on to say, “When you write something really aggressive, for me, I just wanted to sing something aggressive. For us, if we are going to be aggressive, what kind of things can we talk about? You look at where we are in our lives, look at what we do for a living, look at what we stand for as people, what do we really have to be angry about? That is where we started to look at things lyrically thematically that were important to us. Coming across like a bunch of whiny teenagers is something that we wanted to avoid.”
Unquestionably a powerful voice in mainstream, the band certainly does have a platform to interject their personal feelings in the music and The Hunting Party has no shortage of emotion screaming from all ends of the spectrum. Firing up their amplifiers and letting loose a primitive, yet progressive rock sound, Bennington declared, “I do like the screaming, we do like to play really great guitar riffs, and Rob apparently is really awesome at playing kick ass drums (laughs).”
Linkin Park’s practical and heavier approach on The Hunting Party certainly appears organic and sincere without clichéd phony anger. Making the most of their efforts, they pinpoint frustrations further, not only with society, on tracks like “Rebellion”, but also tackle personal experiences in their lives with songs like “Until It’s Gone”. Bennington also stated, “I think, for us, we really wanted to look toward things that were worth fighting for. That was one of the things that we kept thinking about lyrically; what are the things worth fighting for now at this stage we are in our life. A lot of different things came up on that list and we drew from that as much as possible.”
Kicking off their month long Carnivores Tour with 30 Seconds to Mars and AFI, Linkin Park certainly have a lot of excitement following them along to each arena. Guaranteed to bring surprises each night out, everyone is certainly listening while assimilating with this band that continues to challenge themselves and their audience.