Three years after their last release, Linkin Park returns with a different approach to the metal, rock and hip hop medley they are notorious for. Shuffling the songs on an album doesn’t always significantly affect things, but this is not the case on A Thousand Suns, the band’s newest endeavor. For the most part, a cohesive storyline about loss and gain has been created; there is a very premeditated agenda to the track placement orchestrated by the band.
The album is musically explorative as the usually are with each new LP. A bit too heavily-autotuned perhaps, but the Middle Eastern chant and some reggae flavor are enjoyable adventures. The piano is more dramatic than previous Linkin Park records, which is less aggressive. The drum syncopation is playful, catching you off guard at certain points.
The familiar sound that is Linkin Park begins with “Burning In The Skies” after two drawn out introductory tracks. Aside from “Wisdom, Justice, And Love,” where Martin Luther King, Jr.’s voice resounds movingly, there are six short electro-psychedelic compositions scattered throughout the album acting as somewhat unnecessary fillers.
A few tracks including the lead single, “The Catalyst” and “Robot Boy” walk a fine line between inspirational and annoyingly repetitious. Lyrically, they are strongest on their quirky rap rock track, “When They Come For Me” and their boisterous “Blackout.” Unfortunately, the latter is the only real taste of metal on the entire album. Although the track is worth the wait, I wonder why it took them nine tracks to start screaming. “The Messenger,” their closing acoustic track is vocally penetrating and finishes strong.