by / September 10th, 2010 /

Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns

 1/5 Rating

(Warners)

Linkin Park’s fourth album isn’t a radical departure from its predecessor, 2007’s awful stadium rock effort Minutes to Midnight, but the California six-piece have made enough changes in the right places to warrant a re-appraisal of their slipping position in the mainstream rock hierarchy. Pre-release whispers billed it as a return to the wall-to-wall greatness of debut record Hybrid Theory, but that’s not quite accurate. It’s more a mid-way point between the brash youthfulness of that record and the thoughtful reflection of the last album, but it’s a much more convincing fit.

Gone are the overt U2/stadium rock pretensions (only briefly resurrected on the ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’-aping ‘Iridescent’), and in their place come the more enduring features of their early records: the Rage Against the Machine-like righteous anger and DJ-style guitar effects, while mooted single ‘Wretches and Kings’ explicitly channels Public Enemy with its “bass, how long can you go?” refrain.

Where Minutes to Midnight always sounded like a band trying to be something other than what they were, A Thousand Suns is a far more original record. Lead single ‘The Catalyst’ channels AFI with riotous gang vocals and subtle electronics, while acoustic closer ‘The Messenger’ is reminiscent of early Against Me!, but the overall effect as that of a group comfortable enough in their skin to incorporate unexpected influences without dispensing of their core sound.

The only occasion where the rulebook is well and truly flung out the window is on the mid-album ‘Robot Boy,’ where Bennington takes the lead on a track that can most accurately be described as a hybrid of the band’s more sedate electronic material with some straight-up ‘90s boyband action – think East 17 crossed with Hybrid Theory’s ‘Crawling’ – it’s that good. There are some dodgy parts – the vocals are routinely over-produced, particularly during Bennington’s screamed vocals on ‘Blackout’ and ‘The Messenger’ – but they’re minor kinks.

All things considered, A Thousand Suns is a somewhat unexpected return to form for a band that had seemingly lost their way under the tutelage of Rick Rubin. It turns out to be as much an exoneration of Linkin Park as it is Rubin, who was made a career on telling bands what is and isn’t awful, and who got it so badly wrong last time round.

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  • Ian Keegan

    Great Review 😀

  • Razar

    I had a listen for their new album and i have to say that i am not happy with it. For full album, there is only 3 songs i would say are good, other ones i do not see the point of it. I am bit disappointed.

  • Andrew

    possibly the worst review of the album i have read so far. i really like the album, but the comparisons to AFI and Against Me are just baffling.

    http://lmpmagazine.com/2010/09/13/linkin-park-a-thousand-suns-review/

    that is a proper album review.

  • Has to be said, that link reads like a fanboy review.

  • Razar

    i like The Catalyst and maybe one or two more from the album, but overall that album is worst they ever made.

  • Ironside

    Has Dave Donnelly actually listened to this album? Whilst there are moments of quality on here, this record seems so far removed from what Linkin Park were about. Since when were their records made from samples, effects and dance/chill out kinda stuff. This isn’t an album by musicians, record men should leave well alone and let a band evolve into what it is, not what it should become to try to sell more records.

    Dave Donnelly says “It turns out to be as much an exoneration of Linkin Park as it is Rubin, who was made a career on telling bands what is and isn’t awful, and who got it so badly wrong last time round.”

    I think what is awful has just been redefined.

  • Pintogruarr

    Best Linkin Park album.
    It will surely be recognized as it throughout the years. Just sit down and watch.
    This album will give reconaissance to Linkin Park which they deserve.
    It will never be forgotten.
    Linkin Park will be placed right next to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Genesis.
    Just wait.
    (Do not want to regurgitate the quality of their previous albums, but this one is just excepcional).

  • Pink Floyd and Led Zep? Really? I think I might stick my nexk out and suggest that’s not going to happen…

  • Do put your money on Joe Hahn becoming the next Phil Collins though.

    And you thought Su-su-ssudio was awesome…

  • Cynzix

    I think ATS will be the “The Wall” of our decade. I’d seen both albums live this year, so I can say that righteously.

    BTW: Don’t you dare saying bad things of Phil Collins, he’s a fuckin genius!

  • Only likely similarity between anything by Linkin Park and Pink Floyd will come when Linkin Park make an album that runs in time to The Wizard Of Oz ‘unintentionally’. Witch, witch!

  • LiamMcG

    it seems like this review was writin by (id guess id say) a hardcore rocker well at least someone whos in to one thing. Me im a music lover love all types of music rock rap rnb dance u name it ill like some song from that Genre and this album is great love it as some as i got it listened to it for two weeks straight i like linkin park have all there albums fav is Minutes To Midnight im just a music lover like all types of music and love this album