Linkin Park - Living Things
Crisp, clean rock from the nu metal survivors
Linkin Park became the poster boys for the entire nu metal movement. Their (relative) good looks and young age meant they were many a tweenager’s gateway drug to the hard stuff (we’re talking Slipknot and Slayer, not skag). Hoary old metal purists hated them but the screaming fans had a point, they fused metal, pop and hip hop with deft skill creating instantly accessible anthems from their very first album back in 2000 (‘Crawling’ and ‘One Step Closer’ are still two of the best tunes in their catalogue).
As the band have grown they wanted to prove they were real musicians, as exemplified on their previous album A Thousand Suns (2010). They genuinely headed in a new direction, out went the guitars in came the synths. It was a glorious experiment that was never over shadowed by its themes of nuclear warfare.
Living Things harks back to the glory days, LP step back into their comfort zone as exemplified on lead single ‘Burn it Down’. The riffs are back but while they haven’t gone as far as Korn they have embraced the sound de jour as touches of dubstep permeate the record (particularly opener ‘Lost in the Echo’). The interplay between Chester Bennington’s impassion screams and Mike Shinoda’s raps add a vitality, ‘Lies Greed Misery’ bristles with righteous hip hop rage while there’s a welcome change of pace on ‘Castle of Glass’, an electronic led lament.
Linkin Park’s music can feel sterile and over produced (Living Things is once again produced by Rick Rubin and Shinoda), however this attention to detail means their music is crisp, clean and clear, even through the barrage of chest thumping angst they still sound sharp. That doesn’t mean the guitars don’t still rock, it’s just a very modern, almost futuristic, take on metal. An evolution in the sound where computers enhance, adding new elements and opening up fresh possibilities. In terms of big, bombastic, user-friendly metal Linkin Park are still hard to beat.