This post is very much about my own reaction to the news, but please send your thoughts and prayers to his family, his friends, and his bandmates.
Yesterday I was blindsided by news that literally broke me. Linkin Park lead singer and frontman Chester Bennington had died of an apparent suicide at his home. Chester had previously battled with addiction and depression, and it seems as if the news that one of his best friends, Chris Cornell, had committed suicide was too much for Chester to deal with on his own. (more…)
Lately I’ve been thinking about this blog. A huge chunck of it is very much about what I like – and about what I think. But with that having been said, none of it is very personal. The closest thing to personal I’ve ever done have been my New Year’s Speeches – which I hope to continue for a very long time. So, today, I’ve decided to come up with 25 things you guys don’t know about me. I’ll try to steer clear of things already mentioned on the blog, but if I mention something you already knew, then please let me know. So, without further ado… (more…)
The documentary Artifact, directed by Jared Leto (as Bartholomew Cubbins), tells the story of how his band Thirty Seconds to Mars fought the record label EMI. In what is an interesting tale of wronged people fighting back in real life – we are also introduced to the rest of the music world – and we see just how unjust labels are in today’s society.
Now, I’ve said multiple times that I’m a big fan of Thirty Seconds to Mars, but I’ve tried to remain as unbiased as possible in reviewing this documentary. I fully expected to see how their own journey was, but I was surprised at how encompassing their journey was. Not only do we follow the Letos and Tomo, but we also hear from leading musicians from Linkin Park, System of a Down and so on and so forth. It’s really interesting to get an idea of what they went through, and what musicians generally go through – getting bankrupt because of their record label. It’s a sad story, and as Jared reflects later – even if they win, is there really anything to cheer for.
The documentary touches upon David v Goliath, and the idea that you should ‘stick it to the man’ – but one thing that surprised me was how uncentralized the documentary was. What I mean is that this isn’t just the central story of them battling the record label, and other musicians struggling. A big part of the documentary is about showing everyone the origin of the band. I like hearing it, but I don’t think it’s the time or place for this origin story.
Overall Score:7.7 out of 10. An entertaining documentary that showcases the frustrating lives of modern day musicians. While interesting, though, it does tend to veer from the theme at hand by showcasing an origin story.
I’ve listened to Linkin Park for the past 14 years, and they’ve made some of my favourite songs of all-time. The fact that I’ve met them at Meet & Greets has only solidified their places in my heart. In these days they are releasing their sixth studio album titled ‘The Hunting Party’ – referring to a Japanese article about culture being in trouble, because all young men were simply herbivores. This is their hunting party, rough, loud, fast and free. In the following review I will go over each song, and try to compare it to those of former albums – and in the end, try my hardest to come up with a score. For more on their past albums, check out my ‘Legends’ section for song grades.
Keys To The Kingdom: If you were wondering what direction they were headed in with this album, then this opening song definitely makes a mark. Opening with a distorted screamed chorus by Chester Bennington, this song quickly attempts to find the band’s place within the aging ‘Heavy’ core of Rock music. However, about 45 seconds into the song we have Mike Shinoda attempting to reclaim his singing voice from songs such as ‘Roads Untravelled’. In many ways this song is representing the many ways this band has evolved, as we have some techno, some heavy, some rap-rock and some soft elements. The band has chosen to curse in the chorus, and had Mike Shinoda not had his soft-element within this song – then this would easily have been a swift return to the Rap-Rock/Nu-Metal roots.
All For Nothing(Feat. Page Hamilton): This is true Rap-Rock as we know it, though without the plentiful Heavy-elements. The verses are sung by Shinoda, and lead to a chorus that is really great in my ears. This song is perfect for those ‘fans’ that have decided to stop following the band because of them having forgotten their roots. This should please them, as I’m sure it will the remaining large fan-base. This was an early-album favourite of mine.
Guilty All The Same(Feat. Rakim): This was the first song released from the album, and I’ve definitely gotten used to it – it opens with some of the roughest intrumental play for Linkin Park in a while, and then slowly turns into a great rap-rock sound. I think its chorus fits perfectly within the Linkin Park-chorus family, and the addition of Rakim has only helped Linkin Park in this song. ‘Tell us all again how to do what you say’ – is a powerful line, and I cannot help but think this song is a response to fan criticism, and possibly Linkin Park telling us that the entire genre has moved, they are all guilty of evolving and abandoning the genre. Regardless, this is a really great song – and as you know, I love the entirety of the Linkin Park evolution.
The Summoning: This is an instrumental song, as we know Linkin Park to often include. Lasting only one minute, this song should not do much but allow the wait for the coming songs to be more interesting. I would describe this instrumental as eerie – but I love it.
War: This seems very heavy to me, perhaps too heavy for me. The chorus is simply… ‘WAR!’, and though I love Chester’s voice even when screaming – this song does not interest me as much as the rest of the album does. I don’t think it fits on any other album they’ve made, not even Chester’s side project ‘Dead By Sunrise’. This isn’t a bad song, it’s just not my kind of song.
Wastelands: This 100% feels like the Linkin Park of their Meteora-days, and this rap-rock return is definitely well-received by me. I absolutely love the chorus, but I do agree with other fans that the melody being played during the chorus sounds like the Guilty All the Same melody. Maybe they should have placed them closer together on the album. Regardless, when I was worried about how this album would turn out (prior to the entire album release) – this song singlehandedly got my hopes up again.
Until It’s Gone: I feel that this is a polarizing song. This definitely feels like a Linkin Park song, and could’ve been on Living Things easily. I’ve heard this song being referred to as ‘cliche’, and it is – and that’s the main problem with this song. The text, the lyrics, is not challenging enough – and therefore feels very simple when listened to. With that having been said, this is a song that will surely be stuck in your head – and that’s not a bad thing.
Rebellion(Feat. Daron Malakian): I was looking very much forward to this song due to the fact that they’ve Daron Malakian featuring on this song with them. This is possibly my favourite lyric-song, as the chorus is right in line with my interests and opinions. “We are the fortunate ones. Who’ve never faced oppression’s gun. We are the fortunate ones. Imitations of rebellion.” – a comment on today’s social problems in the western world, I believe – and their value compared to the real rebels of the world.
Mark The Graves: I’ve heard some people refer to this song as the album’s version of ‘Numb’ in stylistic choice. This might in fact be the only song befitting of that title. This song is much softer than one first imagines when hearing the introductionary instrumental. The chorus is simple, but sounds really great from the voice of Chester Bennington. I would probably say, though, that the verses of the song feel more like parts of a bridge section – therefore I do believe the structure of the song is interesting and different. This is a stand-out song, and definitely not in a bad way.
Drawbar(Feat. Tom Morello): I’m sure we all thought Morello’s involvement would’ve been bigger, but I don’t fault the album for that, for I actually think this is one of the more beautiful instrumentals in recent Linkin Park memory. A highlight on this album.
Final Masquerade: This was a welcomed surprise, acting very much as a reminder of their great Minutes to Midnight-album, this song represents one of their softer sides – and could actually feel somewhat like a Dead by Sunrise-song. A side that I’ve fallen in love with over the years as they have evolved. The song itself paints the picture of a relationship about to end, as the people involved are simply keeping up a play, the final masquerade, to match the expectation – as they are slipping away from each other.
A Line In The Sand: Quite possibly my favourite song on the album, this one opens very much like The Little Things Give You Away, and then turns into a more rap-rock focused core. I love this song, and it is perhaps described best on my Twitter-acount: https://twitter.com/ImJeffreyRex/status/476105664620941313 – A mixture masterpiece, indeed. Representing all sides of Linkin Park.
In the end, this album shows us a different Linkin Park than the one premiering their Living Things album in 2012. It is not without its flaws, but stands as a brief return to old material, as well as a representation of the proposed resurrection of Heavy Metal in Rock. The album does not top Meteora or Hybrid Theory, but becomes an album closely related due to its core.
Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.0. Linkin Park return to their roots, with an album that attempts to resurrect a dying genre in pop culture.