Sony Rs. 499 (CD)

” Fourteen years and five albums down, it’s fair to say Linkin Park have done their fair share of experimentation. On their sixth album, The Hunting Party, they go back to the start. Unfortunately, most back-to-roots albums are mostly crowdpleasing, money-making schemes these days. But Linkin Park moved so far away from their heavy rock and nu-metal roots after their third album, Minutes to Midnight that most early fans of the band never expected the aggressiveness to return.

Yes, it was always present on a handful of tracks on their previous tracks, like ‘Given Up’ off Minutes to Midnight or ‘Blackout’ from A Thousand Suns and ‘Victimized’ off their last album, Living Things, but no longer was angst and rage the main concern, after Meteora.

But here they are on ‘Keys to the Kingdom’, where vocalist Chester Bennington is screaming his throat straight from the beginning, joining veteran hard alternative singer Page Hamilton from Helmet on ‘All for Nothing’ and following it up with ‘Guilty All the Same’, which features a brilliant rap verse from another veteran, Rakim. Also raging on the album are guitarist and album co-producer Brad Delson, who brings scathing riffs set to some of the fastest drumming ever heard from Rob Bourdon. Sample ‘War’, which is the ultimate punk rock curveball thrown by the band, bottled into two minutes.

Delson crafts some chunky, heavy riffs on ‘Wastelands’ as well, which might be a late entry for co-producer and vocalist Mike Shinoda’s rap verses on the album as the sixth entry. But then again, the band doesn’t slow down until their second single ‘Until It’s Gone’, which is a return to their most familiar sound of electro-infused rap rock. They then pick the pace up once again, with a little help from System of a Down’s guitarist Daron Malakian, on ‘Rebellion’. Shinoda and Delson might have taken over the production duties for The Hunting Party, but don’t disappoint in their rhymes or riffs, like on ‘Rebellion’.

A lot of The Hunting Party is nostalgic in many ways, the collaborators (Tom Morello, Rakim, Daron Malakian) included. If you grew up listening to Linkin Park’s first two albums, The Hunting Party is almost the kind of album you would have expected from the band before their debut album, Hybrid Theory – it’s raw, with hints of electronica and rightly aggressive.