Linkin Park: New album The Hunting Party raw and dirty

Linkin Park

Even if you're not a fan of nu-metal band Linkin Park, you probably will have at least heard a few of their songs on the radio.

As well as being fan favourites, tracks like What I've Done and Numb did well on the Official Singles Chart.

Meanwhile their debut album, 2000's Hybrid Theory, sold nearly 30 million records and won them a Grammy.

Now they're back, with another headline set at Donington's Download Festival behind them and a new studio album.

Linkin Park

The Hunting Party is the band's sixth studio effort.

It features contributions from the likes of rapper Rakim, Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello and System of a Down's Daron Malakian and also sees the band return to a more guitar-driven sound while at the same time retaining the group's usual melodic overtones and electronic touches.

The Hunting Party cover
Image caption Linkin Park have released the artwork for the cover of The Hunting Party

Vocalist/rapper Mike Shinoda says they wanted to get back to basics with The Hunting Party.

"One of the things that's funny about the story of this album is that the earliest demos were not heavy, rock demos, they were softer, more I'd say, indie alternative style and a lot of them more electronic-based," he says.

"I like to listen to this stuff but I don't feel like making it. I feel like there's so much of it out there.

"So to make an album that is so specific took a lot of focus."

Linkin Park

He adds: "There's this visceral, heavy, aggressive thing that I wanted to hear which was simultaneously raw and dirty but also futuristic and had sample elements and electronic elements that were slightly understated but still as raw as the drums and guitar.

"I couldn't find it to listen to and that's usually a key to us to what we want to make."

The band played three tracks from their new album - Guilty All The Same, Until It's Gone and Wastelands - at Download Festival, the home of rock and heavy metal since the early 1980s.

All three songs are more guitar-driven and less electronic in feel.

Linkin Park

Guitarist Brad Delson says after experimenting with different instruments on 2010's A Thousand Suns and Living Things from 2012, it was time to focus on a heavier, more gritty sound.

"For me, this album was really about rediscovering my love of playing guitar every day," he says.

"I started playing guitar when I was 12. I played four or five hours a day for maybe 12 years.

"For me as an artist, on the last couple of records for example I was inspired to work on other instruments that I was less familiar with."

He adds: "For this record Mike and I talked in the beginning about making an instrument-driven, technical record that was visceral."

Linkin Park

The band admits that their last two albums have been lighter in approach with "an overdose of safe, pop, adult contemporary rock".

They say they tried to recreate the raw excitement that spurred them on earlier in their career.

"One of the inspirations behind the new album was to get back in touch with that moment when we first got excited to learn to play music," says Shinoda.

"In particular, Brad and I had conversations where on the last few records he had been bored with guitar, because he'd played so heavily so often for so many years."

The band - made up of Shinoda, Delson, lead singer Chester Bennington, drummer Rob Bourdon, bass player Dave Farrell and DJ Joe Hahn - last headlined Download Festival in 2011.

Linkin Park

They admit they had to come up with a reason for playing three years after their last appearance, which is why they agreed to play their debut album Hybrid Theory from start to finish.

Mike Shinoda explains: "One of the places the conversation started was, our manager saying, 'The guys are doing a festival and headline run. They're going to be out there. Can we come and play Download?'

"The answer was like, 'They just played so recently. I don't know. What if they do something special so that it's not just coming and playing again?' That's where the conversation began.

"But this is the only time we're doing this."

It was also revealed earlier this month that the band has one particularly famous British fan.

Prince William revealed two of his favourite bands were Coldplay and Linkin Park while talking to students at a school in East Yorkshire.

Linkin Park

Mike Shinoda says the band was floored by the comment.

"It's incredible," he says. "What an interesting thing.

"I liked that somebody's headline was that, 'He's a secret Linkin Park fan. He secretly loves Linkin Park.'

"Secretly, as in he said it in an interview for the entire world to read. So we're secret fans of his as well."

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