Mike Shinoda: Post Traumatic review – grief for Chester Bennington

(Warner Bros)

From telling the Guardian about being sexually abused in childhood to screaming in songs about inner demons, to the frenzy surrounding his 2017 suicide, Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington’s life and death were played out very publicly. A year on, his bandmate has released a musical diary of an equally visible grief. Indeed, you wonder whether there are any filters here, or if Shinoda is similarly letting everything pour out.

Opener Place to Start includes voicemail messages of condolence. The excellent Over Again, written after a Bennington memorial concert, struggles with having to say goodbye “over and over again”. Anyone who has grieved will recognise the process Post Traumatic subsequently documents, from morning pain to sudden onsets of guilt or upset. There aren’t massive new insights on mortality but unflinching candour, such when Hold it Together describes his emotional reaction to being offered condolences at his six-year-old’s birthday party.

Shinoda’s struggles haven’t stopped him writing catchy songs and while it’s initially unsettling to hear such stuff channelled into anthemic choruses, the songs sing their way towards the start of healing. Promises I Can’t Keep and the closing Can’t Hear You Now are ethereally lovely, but the 16 tracks are untroubled by editing. The moodier, electronic tracks work better than the angrier, rap ones, but while Post Traumatic understandably has flaws, its raw emotion is unusually touching and many will find it a source of tears, strength and comfort.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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