21 Julio 2017 12:15
The singer is believed to have commit suicide at his LA homeTo remember Chester Bennington is to honour the anger and pain of an afflicted talent, a person who blended music genres and polished it off with a pop universality, angering grunge-core kids but speaking to a generation of listeners grappling with their own private prisons. Yesterday, the Linkin Park singer reportedly committed suicide by hanging at his Palos Verdes Estates home in LA county, at 41 years old, and on the day of his close friend and Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell’s would-be 53rd birthday. The pair shared creativity and talent, but Cornell also succumbed to mental health struggles and hung himself in a hotel room last May. Bennington is survived by his wife, Talinda, and six children. Bennington rose to prominence as the voice of anguish in a band previously slinking in the shadows. He joined Linkin Park on the eve of the ‘90s and became so much more than just a lead vocalist: he added a new sensibility with howls of ecstatic suffering; his lyrics, although heavily processed for a mainstream following, relentlessly thudded to the beat of unbridled sorrow. Although Linkin Park were one of the most popular bands of the early millennium, they were divisive as well. Borrowing a sound aesthetic from metal, rock, pop, rap and grunge, the all-male group leaped to fame with their debut album, Hybrid Theory, changing the face of the alt-rock scene forever and soundtracking the pubescent angst of teens everywhere. ‘Popifying’ genres, quite rightly, enrages the die-hard fans that follow their favourite bands wherever they go, but Linkin Park’s widespread appeal was more than just skin-deep, because of Bennington. Behind the synthesised, sludgy electronic tracks of Linkin Park’s first album was a sound that had raw pain at its core. Their first chart-topping hit, ‘One step Closer’, was the first in a series of tracks that encapsulated Bennington’s signature melancholy, churned up with heavy guitar riffs and somewhat problematic rap interludes from the other members.
‘I cannot take this anymore… everything you say to me, I’m about to break. Wish I could find a way to disappear. All these thoughts they make no sense. Nothing seems to go away, just over and over again.’The lyrics themselves embodied a sense of hopelessness, and paired with Bennington’s millenia-defining voice, they struck a chord when you listened. For clarification, I don’t think anyone would suggest that Linkin Park’s musical credibility should go uncriticised, in fact, it’s painfully cringe-inducing and silly in so many ways. But the group’s lead singer has kept them relevant even today, allowing for the musicians to evolve with changing tastes (they collaborated with Stormzy and Pusha T for ‘Good Goodbye’ earlier this year). And while a number of habitually successful artists sing about ‘heartbreak’ and sadness, the barefaced grief in Bennington’s voice was palpable. The singer spoke openly over his decades-spanning career about the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of an older male figure during his childhood. His struggles with drug and alcohol addiction were a reaction to that trauma, and although such inward battles make for compelling music, the dull ache of Bennington’s past meant they were never truly won. He often alluded to being close to ‘the edge’ in his songwriting, and tragically that edge has now slipped away. ‘I have been able to tap into all the negative things that can happen to me throughout my life by numbing myself to the pain, so to speak, and kind of being able to vent it through my music,’ Bennington told SPIN back in 2009. But numbing agents only last so long. Suicide, the end of hope, when death seems more desirable than life, brought an abrupt end to a career that will outlive his pain. His passing acts as another reminder that mental health is a lifelong journey. Penning a posthumous letter to his close friend Cornell after his death earlier this year, Bennington wrote: ‘I can’t imagine a life without you in it. I pray you find peace in the next life.’
— Chester Bennington (@ChesterBe) May 18, 2017
All Bennington’s fans and loved ones can do now is hope that darkness indeed does give way to some emblem of peace, in the end.