Review Summary: A Linkin' Park spinoff with much better instrumentals than their predecessors.
Linkin' Park was one of the early pioneers of modern day rap-core (or at least made it popular with mainstream America). Most people (even the stingiest of listeners) will admit to enjoying the catchy beats, Mike's surprisingly fantastic and unique rapping, and Chester's singing/screaming. The only problem with old LP is the fact that their instrumentals were nothing special and, to be candid, simple. The most complicated sections of their music was the synths and computerized beats. Let alone they have lately left all complexity to pursue "deeper lyrics" and "better music". Bulletproof Messenger happens to pick up where LP left off and provides a fantastic listen to any fan of this particular genre.
With their debut production, Bulletproof Messenger shows that they want to be more than a stereotypical rock band; they want to be a stereotypical nu metal/rap-core band. There is a catch though, for they shockingly, want to let the instruments drive the music as much as the hardcore rapping!? Granted, Markus Klavan's vocals do drive the music, but the instruments do a lot more than provide a cool beat to rap or rock to. Just to make sure I'm being clear, BM doesn't rap nearly as much as Linkin' Park (the only true rap driven songs are "The Truth" and "Wake Up Call"). They are easily rock first, rap second (which is the basis for must nu metal bands). The real greatness behind this record is brought by the mix the band gets with their lead singer. The drums, for instance, show off plenty of fresh chops, fills, and beats while mixing with the music. The bass guitar plays a huge part in select songs ("DTD" is the biggest offender). The bass is never truly complicated, but provides a feel that most bands don't give off. For example, in "The Way", the bass gets to play a little lead part during the chorus, providing a cool, unexpected feel. The guitar-work isn't ground-breaking either, but there are no complaints I can give. Rap-core isn't supposed to be known for killer guitar solos (even though there are mini solos in songs such as "Save Me" and "Crucial Line"). The guitars do add a great feel to the album and would be massively missed. The scratching and synths are vital to most tracks and add a lot to the bridge of "Crucial Line" and all of "Awaken" and "Bring Me To Life". I have no criticisms of Markus's voice except for the pre-chorus in "Awaken". His high-pitched hollering just doesn't work and comes off completely wrong. Otherwise, his voice mixes perfectly and is decently unique.
The mood really isn't as clear as Linkin' Park's is. You can tell when LP is pissed or trying to get you to pity the singer/rapper. The biggest criticism of this album is that the points or messages are quite clouded and not obvious. I never gave much attention to the lyrics (mainly because I just plain enjoyed the music and overall sound). Markus's vocals never sound ticked off nor beg for mercy. The closest thing to an emotional connection I received was in the chorus of "Tomorrow". The vocals talk about how he has really screwed up today and is waiting for tomorrow to have a chance to avenge his mistakes. As I said, not terrible, but not the "Somewhere I Belong" or "Easier To Crawl" from LP where you really feel the pain of the singers.
To conclude, Bulletproof Messneger manages to silently outlive the legacy left by Linkin Park while creating a sound of their own that carries over onto their most current record. Their overall sound changed slightly, but the main premise of what is Bulletproof Messenger lives on and hopefully another record is in the near future.