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Linkin Park, 'Living Things' -- Album Review

Warner Brothers

Linkin Park's fifth studio album 'Living Things' will be released world-wide on June 26. 'Living Things' is the follow-up to their successful album 'A Thousand Suns,' which debuted at #1 on the charts in 2010. The new album was co-produced by Rick Rubin, who co-produced the band's previous 2 studio albums as well. The lead single off the album, 'Burn It Down,' debuted at #1 on the US Rock Charts, an indication that Linkin Park's new material is sure to excite rock fans.

'Living Things' builds on the band's success and experimentation in their previous four albums, creating what the band believes is their strongest sound yet. Linkin Park uses many familiar styles to the first three albums here, using a lot of guitar work, and strong choruses, mixed in with a wall of sound in some of the tunes. The album relies on strong vocals by Chester Bennington and hard raps from Mike Shinoda, but perhaps its most effective and transformative music is heard through the work of Joe Hahn, who provides electronic elements to many songs including 'Lost in the Echo,' and 'Burn It Down.' Some tracks, like 'Victimized,' are heavier and angrier than most of their songs, with hard rhymes and raps similar to some of their earliest work off 'Hybrid Theory.' 'Lies Greed Misery' may be their angriest, most modern tune, with irate, venting lyrics and a strong electronic mix. The chorus features Bennington shouting: "I wanna see you choke on your lies" and "suffer all alone in your misery."

'A Thousand Suns' elements definitely have influence on some of the lighter tracks, including 'Castle of Glass' and 'In My Remains,' which may remind fans of 'Iridescent,' with its sing-along lines, including: "Like an army falling one by one." The writing is similar to some of the themes off 'A Thousand Suns,' as well; prominently featured through this album is heartbreak, loss, and broken promises, seen especially in the album closer 'Powerless.' The lyrics and music come together most effectively for the song 'I'll Be Gone," which will have fans once again connecting the song to personal relationships, and perhaps universal themes. A favorite to be the 2nd single, 'I'll Be Gone,' includes the lyrics: "Across that horizon this sun is setting down, you're forgetting now, it's time you let me go."

Overall, Linkin Park's consistent elements of alternative and rap-rock that has excited its fans in the past, is sure to do so again. The band's evolution, both lyrically and musically, however provides fans with perhaps their most effective album yet. Bennington summed it up, stating that Linkin Park is "embracing everything that they have done in the past," while "smashing together the best pieces" of their previous four albums. It is clear each track on the album has something unique to offer, imitating but not copying the past. Linkin Park, which continues to mature and evolve, is constantly working on new material and hopes to release new music every 18 months. For now fans can enjoy their latest, powerful release. Check out the official track list for 'Living Things,' below:

1. Lost in the Echo
2. In My Remains
3. Burn It Down
4. Lies Greed Misery
5. I'll Be Gone
6. Castle of Glass
7. Victimized
8. Roads Untraveled
9. Skin to Bone
10. Until It Breaks
11. Tinfoil
12. Powerless

Fans can head over to iTunes to purchase 'Living Things.' You can hear 'Burn It Down,' right now on AOL Radio's New Alternative First.

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