In the time since Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington's death in July 2017, his band has remained quiet. This has likely been in part out of respect to Bennington, but also out of necessity. "We have a lot of rebuilding to do, and questions to answer, so it'll take time," band co-leader Mike Shinoda said about a year ago.
Shinoda has continued making music, releasing an EP and an album both called Post Traumatic in 2018. Bennington's voice, too, has endured, and not just on the band's recordings; on Tuesday (January 8), a new song called "Cross Off" that he worked on with Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton popped up ahead of Morton's new album. It's heavy, and on it, Bennington brings exactly what made him an utter maelstrom of a vocalist.
As Morton revealed to Zane Lowe, Bennington recorded his "Cross Off" vocals in April 2017 and co-wrote with track along with a team of collaborators. "We both really loved the song from its inception and everyone that worked on it put a lot of energy and emotion into it," he said. "I feel like you can really hear that in the track, and absolutely in Chester's performance."
What long defined Bennington's impact was his masterful ability to balance light and dark, withdrawn angst and red-lining rage, clean melodic moments and blustery raggedness — often all in the span of just a few minutes in a single song. On "Cross Off," he naturally does both, leaning more heavily into his throaty depths to complement the song's relentless percussion and crunching guitars.
It's a far cry from the lighter, more sun-kissed electronic the band revealed on what ended up its final album with Bennington, One More Light. But its muscular energy just might transport you back to when you first heard him wail, on "Crawling," maybe, or "Somewhere I Belong," or even "Bleed It Out."
Hear the powerful song above and watch Morton break it down in the interview clip below.