Linkin Park
A Thousand Suns


4.0
excellent

Review

by Simon CONTRIBUTOR (232 Reviews)
December 17th, 2015 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A ballsy change of sound that elevates the band to a new creative level.

Let's be honest here, Linkin Park aren't the deepest of bands; intellect isn't something that tends to sit at the forefront of the band's sound or image. No, Linkin Park are a band that have normally relied on hooks and emotion. After their smash debut NU-metal masterpiece, Hybrid Theory, the band went on to make Meteora, which was effectively Hybrid Theory 2.0, refining the sound they'd created from their debut. After 4 years away from the scene, they came back with their 2007 LP Minutes to Midnight and, at this point, the band were a little tired of the NU-metal tag that lay hanging over their heads. So, determined to escape the clutches of the genre tag they were branded with, the result was a collection of bland rock and ballad tunes that are more akin to a knock-off U2 band than a true Linkin Park progression.

But if the surprise departure of Minutes to Midnight's metal roots turned some heads, their fourth album was about to really get backs up. In 2010 the band made A Thousand Suns, and for the fans expecting that Hybird Theory return, they were about to have their hopes crushed. In actual fact, ATS is so far removed from its roots it becomes hard to believe it's from the same band; guitars are next to nonexsistent, dominated and saturated by an elecronic template. It's a multi-conceptual album that talks about human fears and war, but the biggest surprise comes from this: to fully understand the album, you can't just listen to one song, you have to listen to the album in its entirety.

This was a bold move for the band, both extremely ambitious and wildly experimental when compared to anything done previously. But A Thousand Suns get's so many things right, and its determined drive largely pays off. Firstly, Chester Bennington's voice on this record is unbelievably solid throughout, Rick Rubin really gets the best results from him, and melodies bring great effect and feeling to songs: album singles "Burning in the Skies" and "The Catalyst" really shine vocally when they hit the choruses. Mike's vocal contributions are just as effective this time around too, his rapping in "Wretches and Kings" has a bite and aggression you won't have heard before. But A Thousand Suns works on all cylinders when the two voices work together and use each others strengths. The album relies heavily on melody, and, coupled with the Hollywood style interlude tracks, brings a certain epicness to songs. "When they Come for Me" hears Mike spitting out lyrics in the verse, while the song builds from the first chorus with Chester harmonising. The song ends up swelling, becoming larger and more grand with every passing second and it's these kind of ideas that come out really refreshing and exciting to hear. "Robot Boy" and "Waiting for the End" use the same blueprint and the results are very pleasing.

The amount of styles and craftmanship on songs here is far more intricate than anything the band have done before, most of the time it works, but occasionally it can sink. "Blackout" is frankly a mess, with Chester cringely rapping at the beginning of the track before its bass dropping breakdown, that then goes into a really random melodic build up in the last third of the song. It doesn't work well at all. "Iridescent" sounds like a Minutes to Midnight B-side with Mike's bland vocal performance, and is reletively forgettable. But, to be honest, these are the only drawbacks to this album. The interludes have such a raw emotion to them and bring the next song together really well. The lyrics are really nice throughout, and generally Linkin Park rarely put a foot wrong.

Overall, if you like this style of music anyway, you'll enjoy this, but if you are like me and relish the nostalgia that comes from the first two efforts, this will take some time to click. It's unfair to dismiss this album. Its main focus is melody, and it is chock full of it, but there is an album here that has so much effort put into and it really pushes the band to a new level artistically.

Excellent.



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user ratings (2500)
Chart.
2.6
average
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Jared Ponton EMERITUS (1.5)
    Rest in peace...

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

    Dave de Sylvia STAFF (3.5)
    An extremely well-crafted rock album from a band whose (self-directed) anger is, for once,...

    Nick Mongiardo (4)
    "I am not the fortune and the fame nor the same person telling you to forfeit the game"...

  • Aeri (4)
    "We were not making an album. For months, we'd been destroying and rebuilding our band."...

    FCY (3)
    Linkin Park are on a pill that's tough to swallow....

    DropTune (4)
    Although controversial, A Thousand Suns offers the contemplative side of Linkin Park like ...

    AtavanHalen (3.5)
    Several steps closer to the edge, Linkin Park jump off into the unknown....

  • Herbie Chrost (5)
    "The hardest part of ending is starting again"...

    neekafat (5)
    “Once you got the Theory of how the thing works, everybody wants the next thing to be ju...

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

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

  • wyankeif1337 (3)
    Is it Hybrid Theory 3? No. Is it worth listening to? If you’re willing to overlook fact ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

    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...

    Strider (4)
    ...

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



Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
December 17th 2015


15080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As always constructive criticism welcome guys.

Digging: HEALTH - VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR

Snake.
December 17th 2015


21378 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lol



good review tho

Ocean of Noise
December 17th 2015


10468 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this album. It's my favourite of theirs.



Pretty good review too.

Digging: Buckethead - Sunken Parlor

Angelboros
December 17th 2015


1357 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"of the bands sound or image"



There ought to be an apostrophe on "bands".



"normally rely on hooks and emotion"



Replace "rely" with "relied".



Anyway, great review, Gonz.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
December 17th 2015


15080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A'thank you guys.



I know this is a love it or hate it album (believe me, I was on the other side of the argument for a long time) but I really do think it's misunderstood somewhat.

LepreCon
December 17th 2015


5451 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Good review but album is garbage

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
December 17th 2015


15080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dude, by this point in the band's career they hated the nu metal shtick they were getting lumped with. Hell they've even openly said. It's why the change of sound has bee so radical over the years.

MrSirLordGentleman
December 17th 2015


12319 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Burnin in the Skies and Catalyst are awesome



Rest is super average for me. Still great review

zaruyache
December 17th 2015


20377 Comments


In actual fact, ATS is so far removed from its roots it becomes hard to believe it's from the same band; guitars are next to nonexsistent -- dominated and saturated by an elecronic template; it's a multi-conceptual album that talks about human fears and war, but the biggest surprise comes from this: to fully understand the album you can't just listen to one song.

this is one giant mess of a sentence. I'd change it to something like:

Surprisingly, ATS is so far removed from its roots it's hard to believe it's from the same band; guitars are next to nonexsistent as they're dominated and saturated by an elecronic template. It's a multi-conceptual album that talks about human fears and war, but the biggest surprise comes from this: to fully understand the album you can't just listen to one song.

Digging: Forest - Like a Blaze Above the Ashes

EvoHavok
December 17th 2015


7677 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I prefer other albums, but great review.

Minor thing to fix: "deepest of band's... forefront of the bands sound" - bands; band's

Digging: Swallow the Sun - When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light

Tunaboy45
December 17th 2015


16702 Comments


Great review as always Gonzo, I actually haven't heard this myself.

onionbubs
December 17th 2015


10778 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Excellent review. because of this i listened to it again. my perspective still hasn't changed though

Digging: Alexisonfire - Crisis

William21
December 17th 2015


369 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is the one Linkin Park album I actually can't stand.

DirEnRefused
December 18th 2015


3526 Comments


good review, album's ass though.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
December 18th 2015


15080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers guys. Corrected.



And I still feel it's a natural progression for these guys, as opposed to the wannabe album that was the HP.

LepreCon
December 18th 2015


5451 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

A natural progression into a musical dearth that they barely crawled out of with the next two albums. But to each their own.

DinosaurJones
December 18th 2015


10031 Comments


"cringely'

Seriously? This shit has gone too far.

Good review otherwise though.

TrephineArtist
December 18th 2015


257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, however I actually quite like 'Blackout' !



Decent album, the interludes/intro's work very well. Incidentally the vocal sample at the start of 'wretches & kings' was previously used on the classic Fear Factory track 'Timelessness.'



I discovered this band with Hybrid Theory but this and Living things are the ones I spin these days, the highlights from those two albums would've made one real belter of a record. I'm not into their latest release (Hunting Party) at all.

TheGreatQ
December 18th 2015


2774 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Best LP album imo tbh

Faraudo
December 18th 2015


2650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed, it is a fairly underrated album.

Digging: White Lies - Five



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