Review Summary: Some missteps and awkward moments can't derail an overall good album.
I can't deny it: I am incredibly biased. I own every Linkin Park CD they have ever produced including their remix and mash up CDs. I just need to get this out of the way.
That being said, when I first listened to the album some things became apparent:
1.) Mike's rapping has severely improved this record and I feel it finally showcases his talent.
2.) Rob Bourdon on the drums has really improved too. Impressive and keeps the energy.
3.) Chester's voice is now supremely hit or miss. His voice is either perfectly suited for the music they're making or I feel he really struggles.
There are some super awkward moments in this CD surrounded by the album I've been wanting them to make for a long time. Thankfully even in the awkward moments, like Chester's chorus in 'Mark The Graves', it's surrounded by good music. There are some tracks I will skip every time I play this CD, like 'War', 'Mark The Graves', and 'Until It's Gone'(I will listen to this sometimes, it's just so damn repetitive.)
But there are songs that really hit the mark. 'Guilty All The Same', 'Keys To The Kingdom', and 'A Line In The Sand' more then make up for the missteps. In fact 'Keys' may just be the heaviest, in your face song they have done since 'One Step Closer'.
When I heard Linkin Park was making a heavier album I honestly didn't know what to expect. Both Mike and Chester had said previously that they didn't want to make another Hybrid Theory or Meteora and they wanted to make something else. This album represents Linkin Park realizing they were quote: "Making the music I want to listen to, not the music I want to be making."