Artist: Linkin Park
Album: Living Things
Label: Warner Bros.
One of the many things that can be said about Linkin Park is that there will never be one album from the band that will go by unnoticed in today’s mainstream world. The band has just little bit of everything for everyone out there. Distorted guitars for the typical rock fans? Check. Walls of synth sounds coupled with some occasional dance-y drum beats for the electro fans? Check. The occasional rapped verse/chorus by Mike Shinoda for the more experimental hip hop fans? Check. What about some harsh auto-tune laced vocals courtesy of Chester Bennington for the hard rock/metal fans? Check. You can find all of that –and more– on LP’s latest offering, Living Things.
When a band has such a long lifespan of nearly 13 years, you can usually expect a less than stellar new release. But thankfully, the band has kept their releases to a tasteful amount of only 4 full length albums, with this one being the fifth. This allows for certain aspects of the music to remain fresh to a certain degree: Some things will sound familiar, while other things will come off as a complete curveball.
Still, an album that contains both of the above are generally considered to be better than those that don’t. There is very much a thematic-vibe to Living Things. Some of these songs contain a lot of the workings of what could lead to make for an extended music video/short film, similar to what Asking Alexandria has done recently with “Through Sin + Self Destruction.” In general, the lyrical themes of Living Things revolve around relationships –specifically, failed relationships. The moods of these songs lie somewhere between angry, vengeful, mournful, and (eventually) peaceful.
The instrumentals in “Lost in the Echo” make for a great opener of the album, especially when it’s met by Mike Shinoda’s vocals that really give the listener a sort of notification of how much of a departure this album is from the band’s past work. One of the first things to come to mind simply based off of the early tracks is the presence of a heavy use of colorful, oscillating synthesizers used that really give LP a different, futuristic spin.
“Burn it Down”, the lead single from the album, is one of the few tracks that contain a little bit of all of the elements that can be found on many of the other tracks in the album. “Lies Greed Misery” almost feels like an all out rap song until the very end where you can find Bennington screaming his heart out on the chorus. Though tracking less than 2:00 long, “Victimized” is perhaps the one track that is the most reminiscent of old-school Linkin Park. “Roads Untraveled” really has the very apparent mid-tempo folk feel that the band has mentioned in past interviews. The album is capped off with an instrumental track (“Tinfoil”) that leads into the grand, almost cinematic closer “Powerless”.
Can I just step out of this review for a brief moment to mention how much this album reminds me of Enter Shikari’s A Flash Flood of Colour? I know I already mentioned Asking Alexandria earlier, I really don’t mean to compare so many post-hardcore bands to Linkin Park when I could be comparing Linkin Park to other bands that are in the alt-rock/alt-metal scene, but really this reminds me of Enter Shikari’s latest work. You might ask why, and to that I would say that this release hops around different genres pretty frequently, while still blending genres within the same song, but makes for something that still sticks to the band’s identity. Though most of the tracks aren’t anywhere near as aggressive as the band’s early work, they still have the power to captivate both old and new fans with something that manages to remain fresh and relevant with the times.
This is by no means a tough listen, but the fact that there’s not as much lyrical depth to match the musical depth behind this album holds back any of my higher regard.
Reviewed by Adrian Garza
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