This week, Noisecreep had the supreme pleasure of getting to listen to LIVING THINGS, sitting in NRG Recording Studios, the actual place where Linkin Park recorded it. In fact, as guitarist Brad Delson explained to us before having the album cranked up, the room where we sat in North Hollywood, Calif. is also where the band's first two albums, Hybrid Theory and Meteora, were recorded in 2000 and 2003, respectively.
Co-produced by Rick Rubin and Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda, the album is a take-no-prisoners, 37-minute blast and blitz of everything that has come to define this powerful band - from the dense, dark, layered vortex of keyboards to the powerful and often soaring choruses.
Clearly, LP remain a band to be reckoned with.
Comprised of 12 tracks, LIVING THINGS kicks off with "LOST IN THE ECHO," and it's clear from the first tease of feedback that the band is in stellar form. The big, dramatic washes of synth, the complex, but strangely accessible syncopated beats and blistering raps create a full-on "Linkin Park comfort level" that no doubt will not just appeal to longtime fans, but generate lots of younger listener buzz as well.
"IN MY REMAINS" features a military drum march as the backbone behind a truly thunderous melody, and as you may have heard, the single, "BURN IT DOWN" is classic Linkin Park - heavy, anthemic and made especially powerful by the California band's trademark wall of sound.
Other standout tracks include the hook-laden "I'LL BE GONE," which also feels like a single, the moody, mercurial "CASTLE OF GLASS," and the wildly intense "VICTIMIZED." This track in particular just scorches - and has an instant-classic feel.
The record overall is relentless - a never-ending assault of thick grooves, sinewy guitars, ethereal soundscapes, and looping rhythms.
One of the album's two ballads (the other being 'POWERLESS'), "UNTIL IT BREAKS," is a nice pause in the action; an evocative piece of melodic electronica that builds and cascades in an even more lush, layered production than the rest of the record. Rubin is clearly the right fit for the band and in particular seems to have worked well with Shinoda in capturing the band's classic sound, while also adding new layers of sonic richness to the mix.
LIVING THINGS clocks in at a brisk 37 minutes, perhaps leaving the listener wanting more - which is rarely a bad thing to do. But there is not one wasted second and it certainly satisfies. Based on Noisecreep's first listen, we are pretty certain this will be one of the most talked about (and played) albums of the summer. Powerful, hypnotic and thoroughly true to form, this is a brilliant, definitive collection that represents an important band at its peak - yet again.
Thank you, Linkin Park.