Living Things

Studio Album by released in 2012

Living Things review

Beyound classifications

While musicians of all genres and trends are judged ruthlessly for their stylistic fluctuations and betrayals of their own beginnings, Linkin Park are established firmly as an ensemble that must be different, must change, from album to album, or even within an album. Nu metal, you say? Well, how much metal is left in the music of the American band? Even if the answer is positive ‘none’, no one will throw a stone at them, nor will anybody give them a scornful look. Because Linkin Park are associated with the absence of forms, but the permanence of deep and solid content. There is actually no form, just like no borders, contours, rules or restrictions. These rockers do whatever can and will sound nice and make listeners one more time forget to ask what kind of genre it is and why they walk so freely from across music. There is no doubt that after listening to their fifth, just released, studio album Living Things no one will wonder what this is and if the legends of nu metal have the right to do anything like that. After all, who really cares if it is good, as usual?

Guitars vanish, passions fade

Keeping in mind the extremely conceptual and experimental nature of A Thousand Suns (2010), that scared a good half of Linkin Park followers, it was quite obvious in what direction the Americans would follow making their next long player. Presented as a real return to their roots, Living Things, of course, has not become such. The process is on, and there can be no recall, but the fresh release at times does remind us of the old Linkin Park, and when it does not it please with novelty and creative audacity. Speaking of audacity, the musician appeared brave enough to admit that their guitar part is quite simple and there is not progress that can be made in this respect. The band does not have a Joe Bonamassa or a Yngvie Malmsteen, so a decision was made to dig guitars deep under the thick and fertile layer of electronic soil, and upon it Shinoda’s confident rapping and Chester’s trademark nervous vocals should rest. Compact sound and distinct rhythmic cycles, offered on the opening Lost In the Echo, will hold on throughout the entire album. In the meantime, there will be no more suspense, tension and aggression of the early works here; all the energy that the record has is accumulated in choruses, molded specifically for concert performances.

Level set-list is the main issue?

The evenness of the Living Things track list might be the album’s biggest shortcoming as it can be quite a challenge to single out the necessary two or three hits. Those closest to this status are In My Remains with battle march rhythms, single Burn It Down with silly lyrics but killer vocal parts, and Victimized, unexpectedly heavy and violent track as if thrown into this record accidentally. In fact, after the first obviously electronic and pop-adjusted half, Living Things displays pieces of variety here and there. In the slow Until It Breaks singing is done by guitarist Brad Delson who did not do it in quite a while. The concluding part of the album is presented by a combination of instrumental Tinfoil and half-ballad Powerless sharing the same piano theme. So, Linkin Park remain well aware of their strengths and keep using them to the limit. They may be changing ratio of electronic to rock music, switching from melancholy to fury, but the basic elements are all the same and recognized quickly. Living Things is another challenge for those who believe the band has written all it could, and an irresistible offer to those who keep faith in this ensemble..