For a long time, I have been anything but excited for a new Linkin Park release, but after previewing the new album Living Things in an Xbox Live ‘Making of’ video, I found myself in HMV and thought ‘why not?’ Following positive signs from the video I had seen. The decision to buy the album was one I would come to find one of my best decisions in a while.
Opening track Lost in the Echo starts off with some La-Roux-esque synth before some grunge distortion leads into a classic Shinoda rap-verse. Chester’s soft-melodies lay over some hard beats in a catchy chorus, something you’ll find yourself miming along to in the street as you listen to it on repeat. Just over half-way into the song, and Chester screams into somewhat of a dub-step bass-drop. Choosing the right opening track can be a tricky job, but the boys hit the nail on the head when choosing this particular effort.
The first half of the album is full of great tracks, In My Remains, and lead single Burn it Down showcase Bennington’s vocals more than the opening track, plus more Shinoda rapping on Burn it Down and Lies, Greed, Misery; a missing component from the Linkin Park repertoire in recent years.
Half-way through the album and your ears have already taken a beating with plenty of hard dub-step, blended into hard rock, and a lot of distortion on top. Thankfully, your ears get a bit of a rest on the soft-sounding Castle of Glass, not too different in style to Meteora’s Breaking the Habit. Mike Shinoda, someone I’ve felt is the leading talent in Linkin Park for a long time, has thus far lead a starring role with a number of lead vocal performances, while also being one of the main writers and producers for the album.
If you thought things were about to get a bit lighter, then Victimized will smash right through you. I would advise you not to listen to this if you have a headache – Shinoda’s smooth vocals start after a hard intro before Bennington exercises his full lung capacity in a screamo onslaught split-up by some more Shinoda rapping. Despite some clearly produced sounds, the raw sound of guitar and drums is clear and different.
Roads Untravelled is one of my favourite songs on the album, with soft piano and xylophone’s accompanying Shinoda and Bennington’s melodic tones in quite a relaxing soft-rock song that instead of complicating, is left to soothe the listener. Closing the album is Powerless, saving the second half of Living Things following three fairly subdued and forgettable tracks, another track featuring some piano and Bennington’s softer range.
Living Things has restored my faith in Linkin Park; despite their love for extended intros, some misplaced distortion and a tendency to over-produce their songs, their latest effort shows a wonderful array of talents from a fully matured band that had played it a bit safe for a while. There is enough to appeal to both older and newer fans, and it is fully worth a full-priced purchase.
4.5 of 5