Linkin Park

Living Things

Written by: PP on 24/06/2012 05:41:12

The previous two Linkin Park albums have been confusing listens to say the least. Neither had anything to do with the band's arena-sized nu-metal past, and instead saw the band try their hands at two very different styles: ambient avant-garde pop on "A Thousand Suns", and balladic indie rock on "Minutes To Midnight". Both albums were terrible. "Meteora" might not have been a critic's favorite because it was a carbon copy of the band's excellent debut "Hybrid Theory", but at least it was jam-packed with huge hooks and sticky choruses that dominated the radio waves for a couple of years after its release. But that was almost a decade ago, and since then Linkin Park have, excuse my French, sucked balls. Both on record and live.

That's why the fact that "Living Things", their fifth studio album, is one of their best albums to date is such a massive surprise. It is the most inspired, most unusual sounding Linkin Park record to date, and the disc that returns them back on the path towards relevancy. Quite simply put, "Living Things" sounds like no other album I know, something which I never thought I'd be able to say about an album by this band.

Prior to recording "Living Things", the band stated to the press that they "finally felt they were in familiar territory and comfortable in their own skin after years of experimentation that resulted in their two previous studio albums". That statement is spot on because Linkin Park sound completely revitalized throughout "Living Things" as they mish-mash elements from all their four studio albums into a wholly original and refreshing sound.

Perhaps most importantly, rock or alternative metal has made a much welcome comeback into the band's sound. But not at the cost of the electronic effects, hip hop, and pop that the band has experimented with in the past few years. Chester, for instance, hasn't sounded this good in at least a decade, heck, the band overall hasn't sounded this good in a decade. It's already evident in the album opener "Lost In The Echo", which introduces the listener into the new Linkin Park sound with stadium sized electronics and a chorus hook that's almost certainly going to make this one of the most played club songs this year at any venue which dares to venture slightly into rock music (think Pendulum etc). The band sound completely rejuvenated from the opening moments of the song, and that's a feeling that carries over to the rest of the album as well.

What follows is "In My Remains", which is one of the finest songs Linkin Park have written throughout their career. It has a maddeningly catchy chorus, and toys just enough with nu-metal to appeal to the rock crowds as well, despite a heavy layer of electronics that functions as the backdrop to the song. Then you have "Burn It Down" which has a quintessentially Linkin Park chorus that feels like it's an outtake from the "Meteora" album except modernized to fit today's electronica-obsessed crowd.

But the first real surprise of the album comes in the form of "Until It Breaks", a pure hip hop track which brings back memories of "High Voltage" back when the band used to be called Hybrid Theory. "Lies Greed Misery" is another mostly hip-hop oriented track, but it contains a screamed chorus. Screaming in a chorus? I certainly didn't think I would ever hear that again on a Linkin Park album, and then "Victimized" arrives which is probably the heaviest and most aggressive Linkin Park track to date. It's full of screaming, and even the effects sound like they could belong to a modern hardcore band rather than the subdued pop/experimental indie of Linkin Park's later material.

Although the individual sound of the songs varies from rock to hip hop to electronica, an oddly lingering mood/feeling ensures that everything follows a very well-defined and creative overall mold. In that sense "Living Things" is the first real 'album' that Linkin Park have written since "Meteora", because throughout its duration, the record owns a feeling that the band have finally found the sound that they have been searching for and are totally relieved to finally release material written exactly in the manner that they imagined it on paper.

For that, they must be rewarded, because with the new Linkin Park sound, I can't recall a single band who sounds exactly like them. It's a unique blend of electronic effects, hip hop, nu-metal, alternative pop/rock, and their indie rock side from "Minutes To Midnight". It's most definitely a return to form album, even if it may alienate fans from the past two (crappy) albums while appealing to their original fan base first and foremost.


Download: In My Remains, Lost In The Echo, I'll Be Gone, Victimized
For the fans of: Egypt Central, Coldplay's "Mylo Xyloto", old Linkin Park
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.06.2012
Warner Bros

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