Agoura Hills-based, Nu Metal/ rock band, Linkin Park, released their 5th studio album, Living Things, on June 26th 2012 under Warner Bros. and Machine Shop Records. The record was recorded at NRG Studios in North Hollywood, CA. The release of the album originated in Japan and made its way to the US a week later. Living Things debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, sold 223,000 copies in the United States, and was produced by Rick Ruben and the band’s vocalist, Mike Shinoda.
The sound for the album combines that of previous records, Hybrid Theory (2000), Meteora (2002), and more experimental albums, Minutes to Midnight (2007), and A Thousand Suns (2010). The album ‘s musical influences ranging from metal, alternative rock, nu metal (a combination of hardcore punk, metal, rock, rap, electronic, etc.), rap, electronic, turn-tables, and dub step to create a new sound. There is more emphasis on synthesizers, heavier rapping, and the pounding of distorted guitars is replaced by electronic beats.
The album is a hit or miss with old and new Linkin Park fans. It consists of 12 tracks with hits including “Castle of Glass”, “Burn It Down”, “Lies Greed Misery”, and “Lost in the Echo.” The entire record lasts for under 37 minutes. While some tracks keep traces of the older, nu metal element that led the band to mainstream attention (“Lies Greed Misery” has familiar, heavy rapping from Mike Shinoda, reminding fans of Minutes to Midnight’s “Hands Held High”), other tracks do not go back to the band’s roots. “In My Remains” and “Burn It Down” prove this point with heavier synthesizer rhythms and a dub step feel to them. While some fans prefer and expect the band to remain in one genre, others welcome the audio experimentation.
If you are only a fan of Linkin Park’s previous work, this album is going to be a shock to you but in a good way. Living Things represents a new phase/chapter in the band’s lives and evolution as artists. If you have been a die-hard fan sense day one, this album of metamorphosis is for you.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars for not being afraid to experiment with different sounds, stepping out of their comfort zone, taking the risk of not sounding like their previous works, originality, evolution as artists.