Review Summary: Roots aren't worth going back to.
Mike Shinoda - MC
Mark Wakefield - Vocals
Brad Delson - Guitar
Joe Hahn - DJ/Turntablist
Rob Bourdon - Drums
There is no Linkin Park. There is no Bennington. There is no quality. Xero is the epic failure of Linkin Park's career. Other than the disappointing release of Minutes to Midnight, Xero was the band before even the days of Hybrid Theory, first erupting in the underground scene with very little credit. Shinoda was never the household name today, and a certain dysfuntional singer named Mark Wakefield happened to cause global warming in the comfort of his own microphone. You get it so far, they were stinkers. Nothing else was as impressive as the release of Hybrid Theory EP, but the album named Xero was lost in the burial grounds of mass destruction and a hateful desire.
Xero only has four songs, a few being demos of upcoming material for Linkin Park. Each song was poorly mixed, low quality or either lacks the kick enough for it to really appreciate. Instead, what Wakefield and the gang have delivered is a mix of mediocre-to-bad lyrics, B-grade rapping and reversed vaccum cleaner guitar riffs. Even the mighty Hahn is left to fend for himself, and I often question why he bothered to complete this project knowing he had no more than 30 seconds in the spotlight. That might have been the high-point of the entire album. Xero haven't pushed the boundaries or presented anything groundbreaking, all that is really presented is a garage band in your moms house.
"Rhinestone" is the opening track, a terrible guitar mix brought in by Wakefield's distorted vocals. MC Shinoda then tags along more of the same, thoughts of being alone, afraid and insomniac feelings. I wish I could know exactly what he was talking about. Hahn does his part as the scratch-master supreme for the last half minute with impressive breakbeat work. The rest of the track is a blur. Literally. "Reading My Eyes" is considered Xero's success. I call it epic failure. The guitar riff is, once again, a fuzzed-out blur. Shinoda brings in a tough verse, and his younger vocals are a bit amusing. Its hard to understand him throughout the song, including Mark Wakefield, who's voice is cut into a jeopardy-frenzy by the guitars surrounding the chorus. Comes close to the 3-minute mark, but would've worked better if it was any shorter.
"Fuse" is the third track, a risky jump into modern hysteria. Shinoda sounds much more mature, and Wakefield this time doesn't sound like a squeeling headless chicken. In fact, it really shows off the spark of talent he once had. Delson roars in with an astounding guitar piece, but due to its lack of high quality, the song falls very short of the mark. Could've been a likeable track, but poor mixing leaves us yearning for the skip button. The final track, "Stick 'N Move", is a breakdown of Shinoda's rapping followed by Wakefield's uninteresting whining, then shot into a poorly jointed bridge. Shinoda's voice flys all over the place, and Joe Hahn's scratching cuts him off half the time. A definite sound of amateur headbangers.
To sum it all up, Xero was nothing and will continue to be seen as nothing. Good news came shortly after its release when lead vocalist Mark Wakefield left the band to become a manager for the band, Taproot. Further news saw the entry of later-to-become-rock-mogul Chester Bennington, who helped the guys get back on their feet. It was all about keeping the faults of their past a secret. Unfortunately, Xero overshadows fault and instead shows us that roots aren't worth going back to.