This is our third and last article about The Warner Hunting Party Listening Sessions that were hosted on June 4 in several cities all over the world. You can read Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE! The third part takes us as far as Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and back home to Los Angeles again!
Kuala Lumpur: Review by Mohd Afizan
The event started sharp at 7pm. The media/press went inside the room first and was later followed by the LPU members and also “Linkin Park Revolution Malaysia” (LPRM) members. Once we entered the room, it was full of smoke (fake smoke from a “Smoke Machine”) and on a projector screen, there was written: “Welcome to The Hunting Party”
There was an emcee who was hosting the event and the Warner Music Malaysia staff gave us a form for us to rate the songs they were going to play later and a comment box.
Without wasting time, they turned off the lights and started with the first song, “Keys to the Kingdom”. The best part was that every song came with visualisation. A Warner Music Malaysia staff member had the idea to play the songs with visuals. Eventhough the footage he was using wasn’t official (except “Guilty All the Same” and “Until it’s Gone”, for which he used a lyric video) but it was still nice. He used videos based on the song titles e.g. for “War”, he used footage of the World War and more.
Below is my track-by-track review:
1. KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: It’s heavy. It’s not like what I expected but it’s great. Heavy. Chester keeps screaming. (4/5)
2. ALL FOR NOTHING (feat. PAGE HAMILTON): I must say I love Page Hamilton’s voice. The chorus is really catchy. Mike’s rapping as usual. (5/5)
3. GUILTY ALL THE SAME (feat. RAKIM): No need to review i think. haha. (5/5)
4. THE SUMMONING: Instrumental. I thought this would be great but it was “okay” for me. It’s awesome. Experimental. (3/5)
5. WAR: If I said Linkin Park turns into Metallica, will you believe it? Yes, this track is really heavy. When this track is released, you won’t believe it is Linkin Park. (5/5)
6. WASTELANDS: Some of you already listened to this. Mike’s rapping flow is awesome. (5/5)
7. UNTIL IT’S GONE: No need to review. lol (4/5)
8. REBELLION (feat. DARON MALAKIAN): I put this song to my “favorite songs” section. I don’t know why but this is my favorite track from the album. LP turns into freaking SOAD! Rob’s drumming is really SICK and Chesters screaming “REBELLION” as well! (5/5)
9. MARK THE GRAVES: All i remember is that this song’s flow/structure was hard for me to remember. Maybe because it was the first time I listened to it. All i remember is the footage of whales. lol (4/5)
10. DRAWBAR (feat. TOM MORELLO): An instrumental that is kinda awesome but I’m not sure which part is Tom Morello’s. (3/5)
11. FINAL MASQUERADE: Definitely a perfect radio-friendly single. I love the chorus Chester sings during the verse. (5/5)
12. A LINE IN THE SAND: Now I know why people in US who attended the Listening Party made such a buzz about this song. It’s FREAKING AWESOME! Mike is singing with echos, Chester is singing on the chorus, then Mike is rapping. It goes from slow to heavy! (5/5)
That’s my review for this album. It’s not 100% accurate since that’s my opinion. Don’t bash me. (Haha). All I can say is the album is really heavy and not like the previous 3 albums (“Minutes to Midnight”, “A Thousand Suns”, “LIVING THINGS”). It’s like a REBIRTH of LINKIN PARK! If this was their debut album, definitely this will be like “Hybrid Theory” to me.
LA: Review by Dayna Brisco
I was overjoyed after receiving a coveted email from LPU to attend the exclusive The Hunting Party pre-listening event in LA on June 4th. About a dozen fortunate LPU contest winners arrived at Warner Bros. Records, where Adam greeted us with fresh stacks of pizza and a cooler full of ‘pop’ to enjoy. We gratefully indulged and listened to the album on Warner’s super-awesome quality sound system. And after hearing all of the #hype from the band in interviews, and fans alike, I was eager and ready to listen to all of it with an objective set of ears.
My initial expectation for The Hunting Party was very high to say the least. To be honest, I was 1 ½ for 4 out of the previously released songs that Linkin Park had given us prior to the album drop. I felt that “Guilty All The Same” was average, I gave “Until It’s Gone” a -10pt deduction for using the phrase “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”, “Wastelands” was getting somewhere closer to what I wanted to hear, and “Rebellion” gave me a shot of faith for the rest of the album.
But The Hunting Party surprised me in a good way. It was different from my assumptions of what I thought I would hear. Based on all of the buzz and claims about this theoretically being a heavy album, I was expecting/hoping to hear something more along the lines of Avenged Sevenfold, Of Mice & Men, Chevelle –insert pop rock, post metalcore, alternative, garage band, whatever genre- kind of heavy. The Hunting Party as a whole doesn’t quite deliver that type of sound, although there are a few power-punch tracks that are right up there.
I can best describe my perception of The Hunting Party as this; an album that has several wide-ranging layers, structures, and moving pieces to each song, which ultimately gives the entire album a lot of weight; not to be confused with heavy. As usual, it delivers an eclectic variety of sounds with old and new referenced combinations, and then raises them to a new level. It’s aggressive, energetic, very well thought out, and loud. It’s really GOOD. And these songs are itching to be played live. The crowds will go wild, I can feel it.
The special features on the album are great as well. My only slight beef is with “Drawbar”. I was really looking forward to this song once they announced Tom Morello as a featured artist. Tom Morello is arguably one of the greatest guitar players we have today next to Slash & Matthew Bellamy, so I am somewhat disappointed that his potential to shred a song to pieces wasn’t included on the one he was featured on.
My final word: if you’re already a fan of the four songs that have officially been released, you will absolutely love The Hunting Party. It’s not like old school Hybrid Theory, it isn’t as sexy and cool as A Thousand Suns, and it’s way better than LIVING THINGS. Overall, based on what I’ve tried to absorb, I give the album a solid 8.5 for the moment, A++ for effort. “A Line In The Sand”- best record and possibly song of the year for me. It’s the prefect conclusion to summarize an album that basically says “Look at what we’ve done” and “Come at me bro”. Well done Linkin Park, we’ve got a hot one!
Photo Credits: Dayna Brisco, Adam Ruehmer, WBR