Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Album review: Linkin Park, The Hunting Party

American rock band Linkin Park.
American rock band Linkin Park.

Loud. Spontaneous. Free. These aren't attributes normally associated with Linkin Park, a band that spends so much time on studio tinkering their albums should come with stickers warning of over-production.

But The Hunting Party takes just seconds to prove the sixth release from the Californian precision-metal act is a different beast.

Over the furious guitar jolt of Keys to the Kingdom, front man Chester Bennington bellows, "No control" with the kind of electric venom you'd expect from hardcore punks Gallows or F***** Up.

While Linkin Park's three previous Rick Rubin-helmed albums sagged with overwrought ballads and pretentious soft-rock, The Hunting Party just gets on with the task of rap-rocking like it's 1999 all over again.

When they get their mates involved, that's no bad thing: Helmet's Page Hamilton provides some brilliantly old school riffs on All For Nothing, Daron Malakian's head-banging canter turns Rebellion into a riff-fest that System of A Down fans will love, and on Guilty All the Same Rakim delivers the kind of thundering verse you remember him for.

The inclusion of studio snippets and outtakes between songs give things a free-wheeling feel, Mike Shinoda's improved rapping style sound like he's been sent off to rap camp, and Bennington's piercing screams keep stealing the show.

Yep, get your Hybrid Theory T-shirts washed and ready to wear, because it seems it's okay to like Linkin Park again.

Linkin Park, The Hunting Party (Machine Shop/Warner Bros)
Verdict: Nu-metallers head back to the future.

- TimeOut

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