Another year, another Linkin Park feature is presented. Year after year, the band have dedicated themselves to releasing surprisingly mediocre-to-poor efforts ever since the initial success of Meteora. With a collaboration album with Jay-Z that earned a Grammy award, Linkin Park did not go down hard. The last official live release of the band came from the Texas show, appropriately titled "Live In Texas". That was 2004, when their nu-metal experiments actually meant something and this specific genre could be accepted without debate. A few years later and the results are amazingly similar with the release of "Road To Revolution". The double-disc set captures the band's June 29th, 2008 show at the Milton Keynes National Bowl in South East England. Nothing has changed other than the fact that lead vocalist Chester Bennington's voice is often distorted during performances. Mike Shinoda doesn't do much this time, and much of the show ends being focused around Bennington.
The opening track, "One Step Closer", introduces surging electronic turntable effects before echoeing guitars invade the scene. Brad Delson, the band's guitarist, does an acceptionally good job on the guitar riff. Like the original, the song is played out for 3 minutes before breaking into the beautiful "From The Inside", which sounds great considering its a live show. MC Shinoda throws in his emotional lyrics before the chorus, having roaring guitars over Bennington's distorted voice.
Jay-Z pays his contribution as well, being featured on two tracks, the popular "Numb/Encore" and poorly mixed "Jigga What/Faint". To be honest, this is the biggest surprise of the entire performance. Some songs, although described as melodramatic and sad, ironically brighten the show up. "The Little Things Give You Away" is a 6-minute trip through some dangerously "emo" terrain, but turns out to be quite the performance. The song is played accoustic until the 4-minute mark when a brilliant guitar solo invades the atmosphere, reminiscent of Radiohead and Coldplay. The rest of the song plays out into a fading sample. Not to say the entire album gives up some great performances. It has its many obvious flaws as well...
"Numb", even though considered one of their best songs, sounds very weak and out of place. Part of that points to the lousy drumming and Bennington's tiresome voice. He doesn't pack enough energy to perform these type of songs anymore, so arrangements on the setlist were made to play much of their heavier songs first. That is one of the biggest mistakes RTR has, and is notable immediately. Over the 80-minute long live performance, Linkin Park decrease in all energy and unlike Metallica or Slipknot, as the show goes on it runs out of steam. That puts to question how they've managed such a tour like Projekt Revolution.
What it comes down to is Linkin Park putting out another poor live album. If you already have "Live in Texas", I don't see any point in getting "Road To Revolution" unless you like Jay-Z in only a couple of songs or actually enjoy "Minutes To Midnight" which I found to be their weakest to date. Some neat little touches enhance RTR's rating, though, like for instance the packaging materials used for the cover are eco-friendly, with a handful of hidden bonus tracks and a booklet that includes exclusive live photos. Something I would expect from U2, but certainly not from the likes of Linkin Park. I cannot recommend this, point being it sounds no different to any other show they've put out and falls flat to repetition.
Definitely check out
"One Step Closer"
"From The Inside"
"The Little Things Give You Away"
"Numb/Encore (featuring Jay-Z)"