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Album Review - Linkin Park's Living Things

posted 2 Jul 2012, 14:26 by Chris Morris
Linkin Park have never seemed to be able to capture the aggressive metal/hip hop sound that their debut possessed since it was released in 2000. As a Linkin Park fan, one has to be accustomed to the band’s seemingly perpetual need to change their sound. With Living Things, they seem to have made an album which is both similar to their previous work A Thousand Suns, but also bares a little resemblance Hybrid Theory. Have they finally found their sound?

In Living Things, the band seem to have opted for a more metal-hip hop than hip hop-metal sound, meaning it sounds like very aggressive hip hop music. Chester Bennington’s iconic screaming is heard throughout the album and it’s never too much. The man also has a very good singing voice along with the band’s now co-lead vocalist Mike Shinoda who does a whole lot more singing than usual on this album. And it’s really nice to hear, especially in songs such as Castle of Glass. Interestingly, Shinoda also co-produced this album alongside Rick Rubin.

The album’s opener, Lost in The Echo is terrific. It really lays down the feel for the rest of the album and features some of Shinoda’s best rapping. Unfortunately it can be a little hard to hear what the rest of the band are doing sometimes as there is a wall of hip hoppish/electronic sound which almost drowns out the guitars. Almost every song on the album begins with rhythmic electronic sound which is striking at first, but gets a little boring after the twelfth song.

Rob Bourdon’s drums really aren’t anything special, although he does hold down some very strong beats throughout the album. The problem is that he is mixed in with some programmed drums and it can be hard to tell which is which at certain points.

The stand out tracks for me were Lost in The Echo, Burn it Down (Their current single), Victimized, and Until it Breaks. The first two are standard metal-hip hop Linkin Park songs which are filled with emotion and some cool electric sounds. Victimized was a return to the Hybrid Theory sound with aggressive vocals and the highlight track for Bourdon’s drumming. Until it Breaks was a very cool hip hop sound which reminded me of some music from the 90s.

Overall Living Things is a good album and certainly a cut above the rest of the music in the charts at the moment. Linkin Park continue to bravely try new things but are also clinging on to sounding “current” with their overuse of electronic sounds. I’m not sure if we’ll ever get another album like their stunning debut but they are certainly a band I will continue to follow with interest.