I’m of a generation of rock and metal fans who probably all, despite what they may claim now, at one point loved Linkin Park. They were releasing their best work when I was hitting that age where I was beginning to make my way over to the dark side, but I wasn’t quite ready to give up on the traditional musical formula I’d grown up with. Therefore, to sit here and completely destroy Linkin Park would be very hypocritical, this band meant a lot to me once and while I’ve got past that, it doesn’t erase it from history. Despite that, there is no denying that their recent output has all been a bit shit, as they disappeared up their collective arses into a world of synths and musical wankery. Yet this year seems to have seen a turn around from the band, playing Hybrid Theory in full (still their best work) at Download was the first step and then they started promoting The Hunting Party, their most recent album, as a return to their rocking roots, but is it too late? Even if The Hunting Party is great is there still a place for Linkin Park in the minds of people like me?
Now there is an obvious answer to this question, which is yes. Linkin Park are still a huge band and they of course are still important to those people who love them. However, to people like myself, who have gone done a very different musical route than I might have guessed at age 13/14 when I thought I would always love My Chemical Romance and Dashboard Confessional were the height of lyrical maturity, this band mean nothing any more. They are as far away from my world as they can get. Yet as The Hunting Party opens up with an actual riff, you’ve got to get excited at the idea of a hard rocking Linkin Park back in the world.
Sadly the excitement won’t last long. This is the sound of a band trying to reclaim something that they just don’t have at this point in time. It’s not a blood and thunder rock album, it’s more often or not incredibly boring and at moments, like the Daron Malakion featuring “Rebellion”, downright awful. Yes there are some alright tracks, but even they feel like clichés and desperate attempts to cling to some imagined rock roots. “War” sounds like Linkin Park trying to be a garage rock band, right down to the slightly fuzzy production. While “Until It’s Gone” is nowhere close to being the fist in the air dramatic moment that the band probably believe it is.
I say all of this as someone who listens to a lot of music. As someone who is bored and tired of what the majority of the public face of the music industry has to offer me (not that I’m saying the music industry is bad at the moment, scratch the surface slightly and it is wonderful) and that has to be taken into account with my opinion of this album, it’s also what makes me think people Linkin Park do still have a place. You see I reckon 14 year old me would have loved this album and therefore when you ask the question whether Linkin Park matter, that has to be your answer. If a bunch of 14 year old kids pick this up and because of it one day discover all the wonderful rock and metal bands in the world, if they one day go along to the Download and bang their head to great music like Sikth and Behemoth before laughing at the days when they used to love Linkin Park,then quite frankly that’s enough.