Linkin Park
A Thousand Suns


3.5
great

Review

by Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF
September 6th, 2010 | 1591 replies | 170,240 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An extremely well-crafted rock album from a band whose (self-directed) anger is, for once, well placed.

A Thousand Suns isn’t quite the return to the magic of debut album Hybrid Theory, as it has been billed in some quarters, but neither is it a straight re-enactment of the turgid attempt at a stadium-filler that was 2007’s Minutes to Midnight.

Producer (or, more accurately, Executive Producer) Rick Rubin has been retained from the previous album, as has been the general tendency towards melody rather than harsh vocals and distorted guitars, but in many other senses it’s a more true representation of the group’s origins: meshing heavy rock with old school hip hop in the tradition of Rage Against the Machine and (briefly) Public Enemy. Indeed, the revolutionary political posturing that Rage perfected almost two decades ago is briefly replicated on a couple of tracks here – explicitly so on pre-release track ‘Wretches and Kings,’ on which a speech sample inspires us to rebel against our role in “the machine.”

For the most part, A Thousand Suns is nothing more or less than a return to form for the California six-piece. ‘Burning of the Skies’ sees lead singer Chester Bennington wallow in the territory that best suits him, self-pity, as he sings: “I’m swimming in the smoke / Of bridges I have burned / So don’t apologise / I’m losing what I don’t deserve.” By contrast, rapper Mike Shinoda shows his best side early on too, rapping on ‘When They Come For Me’ that: “I’m not a robot / I’m not a monkey / I will not dance even if the beat is funky.” There’s no common thread as such, just two sides of the same coin: Chester, the sensitive, persecuted soul and Mike, the abrasive front for the same feelings.

Musically, A Thousand Suns is more intricately put together than any of the band’s previous releases, even the ultimately superior Hybrid Theory. ‘When They Come For Me’ sees the band incorporate Eastern influences, with a bassy acoustic drum beat and a fluid, Indian-sounding vocal line underpinning the rapped chorus. ‘Waiting for the End’ is a throwback to the ‘90s, landing somewhere between the reggae stylings of 311 and bubblegum rap group Sugar Ray, while the enigmatic ‘Wretches and Kings’ boasts an unmistakable dub influence.

Most intriguing of all, however, is perhaps the most straightforward piece on the entire record. ‘Robot Boy’ is the simplest composition on the record, and probably the most affecting, but I’m loath to actually describe it, because ‘Robot Boy’ is about as close to boyband territory as heavy metal will ever get. The tight harmonised vocal melody falls somewhere between East 17 and Enrique Iglesias (all the Es): the former because it’s so casually laid-back and the latter because it fades out with ‘Journada del Muerto’ (Journey of the Dead), a Spanish-language version of the main melody.

‘Iridescent’ is a straight singing duet that sees Shinoda and Bennington alternately share and trade lines, while the relatively mundane arrangement comes close to emulating the bargain basement-U2 feel of the last record. Delay-soaked guitar and keys loom large before giving way to a distorted lead and gang vocals that are reminiscent of the Killers’ ‘All these Things that I’ve Done’ – a little hackneyed at this stage, but nevertheless well-executed. Lead single ‘The Catalyst’ recalls Sing the Sorrow-era AFI with aggressive gang vocals and creeping electronics, while closer ‘The Messenger’ is an overproduced attempt to emulate an acoustic Tom Gabel track.

All in all, A Thousand Suns is a dramatic and welcome turnaround in fortune for a band that were destined for obscurity after getting it so badly, badly wrong on their last record. Granted, they’ve always maintained a steady level of popularity, but in musical terms they had become a non-entity. Whether Rubin held faith in them, or they kept faith in Rubin, or both, the marriage has finally begun to reap dividends and, though imperfect, A Thousand Suns is an extremely well-crafted rock album from a band whose (self-directed) anger is, for once, well placed.



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user ratings (1789)
Chart.
2.5
average
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (4)
    "I am not the fortune and the fame nor the same person telling you to forfeit the game"...

    mmawilkinson82 (5)
    A stunning album that takes Linkin Park in a whole new direction and really shows off the ...

    Will C. (4.5)
    Linkin Park has undertaken a major step forward in their career, from the va...

    Emson652 (4)
    "It seems ugly, but it could get worse, 'Cause even a blueprint is a gift and a curse. 'Ca...

  • TheMushuPork (4)
    Linkin Park gets experimental, and goes into unexplored territory. The result? An album th...

    NickDuffy (5)
    An album that will have your emotions change as every track passes....

    MrTrashyTheTrashCan (1)
    "A Thousand Suns" is a wreck from the beginning to the end. Like the album's song "Waiting...

    NapalmDe4th (1.5)
    Linkin Park's most experimental album yet ends up proving just how incompetent the band is...

  • Irving Tan STAFF (4)
    The essence of a 2000-year old sacred Hindu scripture...presented in nu-metal form....

    rekrdskratcher (2.5)
    A funeral for Hybrid Theory/Meteora-era Linkin Park that began with Minutes to Midnight en...

    CasualListen (4)
    This is the band's first concept album. Musically, it is still not superior to the band's...

    AndrewLawson (2)
    Linkin Park has lost all of their original appeal in favor of a boring droning, electronic...

  • Peter K. Mark (3)
    Linkin Park are on a pill that's tough to swallow....

    Andrew Cannon (4)
    ...

    Chevy182 (2)
    Some potential found but that doesn’t justify this album, because of the sequence or mes...

    Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration (3)
    Is it Hybrid Theory 3? No. Is it worth listening to? If you’re willing to overlook fact ...

  • David James Young (3.5)
    Several steps closer to the edge, Linkin Park jump off into the unknown....

    J. Ponton EMERITUS (1.5)
    Rest in peace...


Comments:Add a Comment 
chesse13
September 7th 2010



2326 Comments


omg. .... so this is good?

Romulus
September 7th 2010



8410 Comments


seriously if there's any traces of Faith No More here I'd be really, really surprised

edit: haha now the review's edited and i look stupid

bloc
September 7th 2010



34658 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Rick Rubin is on this? I love that guy.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

BassDemon333
September 7th 2010



3347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

What? I'm suprised to see such a high rating. I need to hear this....

Gyromania
September 7th 2010



15164 Comments


inspires us rebel against our role in “the machine.”

inspires us to rebel *

good review, but LP aren't that good, in my opinion, but I've listened to all of their albums, so I might as well pick this one up too.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
September 7th 2010



10584 Comments


Now you have me interested

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

BassDemon333
September 7th 2010



3347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Wretches and Kings" had me curious, but this review has me even more curious.

bailar12
September 7th 2010



1766 Comments


what is this?!

edit: enrique reference is always a plus btw

Urinetrouble
September 7th 2010



5754 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

if this is truly a throwback to hybrid theory, i will check it out

BassDemon333
September 7th 2010



3347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm still suprised to see such a high rating, is this really THAT much better than Minutes to Midnight?

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
September 7th 2010



3760 Comments


That song with the raggae up on the news section was the single worst thing I've heard all year, so you might excuse my skepticism.

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

crowing51
September 7th 2010



3446 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Good album, i don't believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gyromania
September 7th 2010



15164 Comments


That album art is pretty bad, lol. I'm with Alex on this one, the song I heard from this didn't do much to hinder my opinion of the band.

THIEF
September 7th 2010



237 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

did this leak or something? If it did id like a link.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
September 7th 2010



17195 Comments


liar.

Satellite
September 7th 2010



20674 Comments


I'm content with not ever knowing what this sounds like.

Digging: Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels

TheFantasticDangler
September 7th 2010



1149 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Surprised at the high rating, but there is no way this is as good as hybrid or meteora. I'll actually
give this a listen unlike minutes to midnight. Also, sounds like bailar will love Robot Boy.

Digging: Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun

Aaron
September 7th 2010



651 Comments


The biggest band noone gives a fuck about.

Satellite
September 7th 2010



20674 Comments


Well if MTV says it...

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
September 7th 2010



30859 Comments


it says the page isnt found :[


Just remove the < a > at the end of the link when it shows up in the address bar

Or what Dave said

Digging: Calyx and Teebee - FabricLive.76



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