has been called a whole lot of things since their departure from the typical nu metal sound of Hybrid Theory
. Though I never thought I would hear someone called 'emo freak' ripping on an album by a band that has been derogatorily called 'emo'. For myself, I had mixed feelings about Minutes to Midnight
and waited at the back-lines, as it were, of the LP fan-base, waiting to see what they would do next.
they didn't disappoint. A Thousand Suns
is perhaps one of the deepest, darkest material LP has ever done to date. It's a concept album about the end of the world via nuclear holocaust. Now I know that this is 2011 and people would rather believe in God
than fear nuclear holocaust, but its still an issue, even though people refuse to believe its a real threat. And
the way Linkin Park
portrays it is just chilling and gripping.
If there's any 'auto-tune' to be found, its on the audio-clip in the intro 'The Requiem
.' Now I've heard this album many times over and haven't heard any obvious auto-tune except for that clip, and only a complete idiot would think that the little girl from 'The Requiem
' is any of the band members actually singing. The next track is another intro, but it's fucking worth it. Played over an ominous track of ambience, the words of J. Robert Oppenheimer spell out the bleak future of nuclear holocaust in the ancient Hindu scripture...
"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."
A moment of silence is deserved for those who have lost their lives at the use of nuclear weaponry, among them Mike Shinoda's Japanese ancestors. Even more-so, let us remember that even viking/black metal founder Quorthon
quoted these lines from his Bathory
of Worlds. The usage of the original audio files and the disturbing horror it implies means that this album is going the right way from the start.
As the album progresses, you will no doubt see that it is musically similar to Minutes to Midnight
in very many ways. However, there are still some instances where evidence of older material is still prevalent. "Empty Spaces" stood out as one such instance, where we hear some of Mike Shinoda's rapping, including the repetition of 'forfeit the game' from Hybrid Theory
. But perhaps most profound line is this one:
"'Cause even a blueprint is a gift and a curse
'Cause once you got a theory of how the thing works
Everybody wants the next thing to be just like the first"
Beware, you poser-fans who ran away in terror at Minutes to Midnight
, M. Shinoda's calling your punk-asses out! And
not just to LP-fans, but to everyone of music who keeps this trend up of trying to keep bands from growing and forcing them to 'stay in the lines.'
But "Empty Spaces" is good for another reason, and that's the kick-ass chorus vocalizations, done not by Chester as we may think, but M. Shinoda himself. There's the little twist of modern Linkin Park
, where Shinoda has taken to singing more than just rapping.
The album alternates between 'modern' alt. rock songs and the more familiar rap-like songs of old, before reaching another point where the music sticks out. Well, jumps out at you with an impassioned speech from Mario Savio about sacrificing yourself for 'the cause' while he reaps all the benefits and watches you die for him. "Wretches and Kings
" is sure to appeal to the anarchists and supporters of violent, socialist revolution. In this the band has never changed, for they've always been on the left-side of the political spectrum, and, with many of you there as well, it's a little odd that more people don't support them.
In stark contrast to 'throwing your bodies upon the gears', "Wisdom
and Love" presents another aspect of revolution: peaceful revolution as brought forth by that great martyr of equal rights, Martin Luther King
Jr. As if his words, talking about the unjust horrors of war, are not disturbing enough in his usual, awe-inspiring preacher's voice, the band sends the audio-clip colliding down into a low, distorted, electronic croak that shivers the soul while implanting the final word, that violence, murder and genocide...
"Cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love."
It's a refrain that we should all keep to heart, and the fact that it has been so often silenced in this, our beloved community of heavy metal, that we have been looked upon as war-mongers, violent, dissolute and evil.
But, back to the concept. As tied in as these songs may be, though it escapes my mind to a degree, it all comes to a crashing conclusion in the last song "The Catalyst
." The lyrics are, like any concept album or classical soundtrack, a repetition of the theme presented in "The Requiem
." For surely, once the button is pressed and the bombs start to come down, who but God
can save mankind from itself? This song is one for the books, a hymn to herald the end of the world and the end of mankind. Sitting atop a hill in San Fransisco while listening to this song, you can almost imagine nukes going off around the world as the long, bloody history of the human race comes to a conclusion to this song! The music video, also, is chilling. The band sings and plays surrounded in a smoke, the ash from the fallout, with people running scared all around them. It's weird, like any Linkin Park
video, but its as chilling as the song itself.
In the end (no pun intended), this album doesn't deserve all the heat it's got, though I can probably understand why. Aside from the few high points I have mentioned, there's not much else that really sticks out to me on this album: so I give it 15 of 20 for a decent effort. For what it's worth, though, A Thousand Suns
is an expedition through a darker, more serious vein of the Linkin Park
music from the previous album. Listen to it at least once, even if you don't like nu metal. The sheer volume and presence of the lyrics they sing and how these musicians present it is enough to shock you into reality as never before.