Linkin Park are back and ready to blast our ears with album number five, Living Things. With circulating rumours stating the band are heading back towards the heaviness of debut Hybrid Theory, the electronic feel of opener Lost In Echo leaves us feeling quite intrigued. Mike Shinoda provides trademark licks alongside the bellowing screams of Chester Bennington. The pace is slow and continuous throughout following track, In My Remains. Bennington is on top form, his vocals draped over piano melodies and military percussion. We’re in awe as crew chants close the song and the realization that this album is something completely new is slowly sinking in.
Burn It Down is poppy and equipped with a synth loop that makes it the perfect debut for an explosive comeback. Although tracks such as Lies, Greed and Misery highlight the band’s ability to play with genres such as hip-hop, it seems that this is as heavy as it gets. The bass is deep, the riffs are chunky, all the ingredients needed for a mosh-pit marvel. We’re excited and hungry for more with such an expectant opening, but our spirits are somewhat dampened by the depressive feel of I’ll Be Gone, and the electronic overload of Skin To Bone. Luckily, faith is restored in the shape of Until It Breaks, which also adds some speed to the album.
Shinoda is back in his limelight as he and Bennington seem to break the track into two, showing off what it is that the other can do. It is, of course, Shinoda’s lyrics of beats and banter that give us a sense of teen nostalgia, as he insists “he ain’t playin”. Living Things wouldn’t be complete without a notorious sample interlude, packed with more technical innovations than you can shake a stick at. Unfortunately, Tinfoil almost goes unnoticed as it merges with the closing track Powerless. Submerged in even more piano, Bennington conducts an eerie symphony with plenty of sing-a-long hooks. Like the tempo throughout, it is slow paced and yet still upholds the overall severity we’ve heard throughout the entire album.
Overall Living Things is a commendable album, yet holds dark elements specific to an acquired taste. At times it feels slow paced, but there’s always a surprise around the corner ready and willing to grab you by the so-and-so’s. Our verdict: always expect the unexpected.
Standout Track: Lost In Echo, Burn It Down, Until It Breaks
For Fans of: 30 Seconds To Mars
Written By: Jessie Rose
Tags: linkin park