I had the pleasure of attending a listening session earlier tonight for THE HUNTING PARTY in NYC at the Harman Flagship Store. The Harman store has a bunch of audio equipment and it was really cool to listen to the album in there. Being that audio is what they do, I thought the sound quality was pretty damn good. As other listening parties have reported, it was almost too loud at times and it made it hard to make out lyrics because of this. A woman (Laurie?) from WB introduced herself and said she has been working with the band since they walked through the doors at WB and were called Hybrid Theory. She gave us a little introduction to the album saying that the band is very proud of the music and they hope we enjoy it as much as they have thus far. A large screen was on the back wall of the store with speakers on each side and we all (about 25 of us?) sat on the floor in front of the screen to listen. The screen had the track listing so we could follow along. Keys To The Kingdom Keys To The Kingdom starts off as many have reported with Chester's HIGHLY distorted and glitched out voice echoing what would be the chorus of the song. After the robotic introduction to the album, the song QUICKLY gets to the point and lets you know what LP's mind set is all about with THP. This song really hits hard. Mike's SINGING on this was a surprise to me as I hadn't realized he both sings and raps on this track but he does and it gave the structure of the song some variety and made it really interesting. The highlight for me of this song is Chester's delivery of the chorus. It is screaming but it is very rapidly delivered - the lines he screams came out so quick that I didn't even understand the words he was saying until they played it AGAIN at the end (we got to choose one song to play 1 more time once it was over and we chose KTTK) and I focused a lot. Again this was partially due to the sound being SO LOUD that some of the words were hard to make out. All For Nothing All For Nothing was another IN YOUR FACE song. Mike's rapping on this song was blistering. So so so good. Definitely a song I will be playing more often than others on the album. This song could be described as "nu-metal" but it is really very fresh and modern and not cheesy at all. Really high energy. Highlights of the song are Page Hamilton's vocals. He does such a good job and it fits the song really well. I could hear why they had Mike sing this song originally because it doesn't sound like a song that Chester would sing, if that makes any sense. Chester's vocals complementing Page, however, fit so perfectly and the chorus is easily one of the top things I am looking forward to hearing again. Hearing Mike Chester and Page all going off on this is just awesome. Sick sick sick song can't say enough about how much I love this one. GATS we know... The Summoning Cool little interlude. Not much to say about this one other than it gives you a second to take a breath after the insanity that has ensued so far. Leads into... War This song is really different and really well done. While it is a very short track, it felt "complete" to me whereas a song like Victimized kinda sounded abruptly ended and left you wanting/needing more. I feel like they did a good job of making the song sound like its the length it was supposed to be. This is one of the songs I can see myself regularly listening to once we are well into the album being released. Wastelands is wastelands UIG is UIG. Rebellion is Rebellion. For reference, I would rate Rebellion > GATS > Wastelands > UIG but I do enjoy all of these songs. Mark The Graves This was another highlight of the album for me. Along with KTTK, AFN, and WAR, this song is another that will be on my regularly played multiple times list of songs. This track has some really good lyrics (in my opinion) and showcase's Mike's vocal versatility. It builds and builds and builds so well and eventually just explodes and every member of the band is on display - really awesome track. brad's guitar work here was fantastic. Drawbar This song was a little underwhelming for me. I thought with Tom on here they would have gone all out, given how much the rest of the record just went balls to the wall nuts. Its not a bad song but given the Tom Morello feature you would just expect more. Final Masquerade I have mixed feelings on this song. It is very ballady and very beautiful. It begins with a very catchy drum beat and Chester's vocals alone, and eventually builds into a very big sounding song. I could see why people compared this to ATS in style and feel. Imagine Waiting For The End's cooler older brother that loves to turn the guitar volume up to 11. I feel like I am going to have a love/meh relationship with this song. Fits will with the album overall I will say, however. A Line In The Sand Those who described this as an epic song were right - it is LONG and EPIC (giggity?). Mike's vocals on this song really stuck out to me - really beautiful stuff. The instrumentation on this song is fantastic - the band is just firing on all cylinders and it sounds great. I remember going at one point - "man this song STILL ISN'T OVER?" in a kind of good way but kind of bad way. I compared it in the shoutbox to the last lord of the rings movie - it is awesome and amazing but the end was kind of like "ok is this really not over yet?" xD Overall - I think this album is really really REALLY solid. It is exactly what I was craving from LP for quite a while. If you are looking for an instrument driven, high energy, high emotion, tough attitude LP album then you will love THP. I am so glad I got to listen to it and I am trying to remember all the details as best as I can and it will make the wait that much more difficult but it will be worth it!