Since the era of Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park has been a gateway band to many young people since the early 2000’s. They brought the nu-metal genre to life, mixing aspects of underground rap with the likes of distorted guitars and heavy drumbeats. Late vocalist, Chester Bennington intertwined the unspoken and truths of the modern age of mental health into anthems that, to this day, are held close to the hearts of many. Recently taking the time to speak to Parallaxis vocalist, James Holt, explains his influence of the progressive rock band in his life, and how Linkin Park brought him into the world he experiences today – the life of being an artist in the metal industry. “I first heard them on Kerrang! TV when I was about 11 or 12,” Holt starts. “It was pretty heavy to me back then and I wasn’t too sure. I was into Green Day and bands like that so I had never really experienced the screams and such.”
Five-piece post hardcore outfit, Parallaxis bring a tumultuous sound to the scene along with experimental instrumentals that really pushes them to the forefront of up and coming bands in the UK deriving of massive inspiration. “I was drawn to their unique sound and look. At the time, I had never heard anything like it and I couldn’t tear myself away from the video,” Holt recalls of his first experiences with Linkin Park. “Some songs had obvious messages, (Breaking The Habit, Runaway, Leave Out All The Rest) but I wasn’t able to pick up on a lot of it when I was a teenager. It wasn’t until recent years that I really noticed it,” he says. “Once I realised that a lot of the songs had the underlying theme of Chester’s many life struggles, I understood that not everyone is what they seem. He was so confident and pronounced up on stage. If you didn’t understand the subtext you wouldn’t have known anything was wrong.” Linkin Park were known for their dark themes, dipping into the subject of mental illness regularly in their tracks. One of their most well known songs, ‘Crawling’ discusses the hallucinations and side effects of methamphetamines, a drug in which he abused through his teenage years. Whereas anthemic track ‘In The End’ taps into a universal concern of hyper-awareness of time and the inculcated need to do something ‘constructive’. “Creatively, I tend to find my subject matter is very similar within my lyrics and I loved their melodies,” Holt says, analysing both Parallaxis and Linkin Park. “Personally, the band has helped me cope with much of my mental health issues, it’s always good to be able to look at someone you respect and say ‘yeah, I totally get you.’ Lyrics are a huge thing, and I tend to use our music as a release just as Chester did. It’s therapeutic. There’s a sprinkle of Linkin Park upon our material.”
Dissension compiles multiple aspects that really makes Parallaxis stand out, including pugnacious and aggressive vocals sitting atop heavy instruments twisting modern and classic metal in perfect rendition. Touching upon personal issues and breaking the silent stigma of mental health, Dissension oozes of visceral emotion through every component.
In 2017, Chester Bennington sadly took his own life and ultimately affecting the people that looked up to him. “I cried a lot,” Holt says, recalling the moment he heard. “He was a man – which despite his struggles with mental health – still had the courage to get up and perform and talk about it through his music every day.” In the midst of a tour and not long after festival season, the news of Bennington’s death shook the core of a lot of people. “Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to see them, but, I did get their ‘Live In Texas’ CD/DVD release and I watched and listened to it on repeat. They were a bucket list band for me, and it is sad I will never get to see them properly.” Linkin Park had been reaching heights that no other nu-metal band had seen, progressively moving their music into the mainstream and pushing their messages further a field as mental health advocates. They brought the subject to life, and subconsciously made it an open, unashamed talking point. “His music continues to speak to me on an extremely personal level and will continue to for as long I live,” Holt adds. “R.I.P.”
The massive portfolio that Linkin Park brought to the table varied in genre and sound, but never once became less than meaningful for the people that grew with them. “It’s probably a tie between Hybrid Theory, Re-Animation and Meteora,” Holt hums, “all three of those albums remind me of my childhood and are steeped in nostalgia.” Since the incident, Linkin Park has paid tribute to their frontman with a ‘One More Light’ show that saw various artists around the world paying tribute in the form of singing Chester’s songs, remembering every step that the band had taken along the way. “They opened my eyes to the heavier side of music and got me into a lot of the bands I listen to today, I have fond memories of Linkin Park that resonate deeper into my creative outlets.”