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Linkin Park, ‘LIVING THINGS': Early Album Review Exclusive

James Minchin

Next month, June 26 to be exact, marks the release of the much-anticipated new album from Linkin Park. Entitled LIVING THINGS, the band dropped “BURN IT DOWN,” the hopelessly infectious first single from the album, last month.

This week, Noisecreep had the supreme pleasure of getting to listen to LIVING THINGS, sitting in NRG Recording Studios, the actual place where Linkin Park recorded it. In fact, as guitarist Brad Delson explained to us before having the album cranked up, the room where we sat in North Hollywood, Calif. is also where the band’s first two albums, Hybrid Theory and Meteora, were recorded in 2000 and 2003, respectively.

Co-produced by Rick Rubin and Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, the album is a take-no-prisoners, 37-minute blast and blitz of everything that has come to define this powerful band – from the dense, dark, layered vortex of keyboards to the powerful and often soaring choruses.

Clearly, LP remain a band to be reckoned with.

Comprised of 12 tracks, LIVING THINGS kicks off with “LOST IN THE ECHO,” and it’s clear from the first tease of feedback that the band is in stellar form. The big, dramatic washes of synth, the complex, but strangely accessible syncopated beats and blistering raps create a full-on “Linkin Park comfort level” that no doubt will not just appeal to longtime fans, but generate lots of younger listener buzz as well.

“IN MY REMAINS” features a military drum march as the backbone behind a truly thunderous melody, and as you may have heard, the single, “BURN IT DOWN” is classic Linkin Park – heavy, anthemic and made especially powerful by the California band’s trademark wall of sound.

Watch Linkin Park’s “Burn It Down” Lyric Video

Other standout tracks include the hook-laden “I’LL BE GONE,” which also feels like a single, the moody, mercurial “CASTLE OF GLASS,” and the wildly intense “VICTIMIZED.” This track in particular just scorches – and has an instant-classic feel.

The record overall is relentless – a never-ending assault of thick grooves, sinewy guitars, ethereal soundscapes, and looping rhythms.

One of the album’s two ballads (the other being ‘POWERLESS’), “UNTIL IT BREAKS,” is a nice pause in the action; an evocative piece of melodic electronica that builds and cascades in an even more lush, layered production than the rest of the record. Rubin is clearly the right fit for the band and in particular seems to have worked well with Shinoda in capturing the band’s classic sound, while also adding new layers of sonic richness to the mix.

LIVING THINGS clocks in at a brisk 37 minutes, perhaps leaving the listener wanting more – which is rarely a bad thing to do. But there is not one wasted second and it certainly satisfies. Based on Noisecreep’s first listen, we are pretty certain this will be one of the most talked about (and played) albums of the summer. Powerful, hypnotic and thoroughly true to form, this is a brilliant, definitive collection that represents an important band at its peak – yet again.

Thank you, Linkin Park.

Watch Living Things Studio Teaser

Pre-order LIVING THINGS at this link. Catch Linkin Park on the Honda Civic Tour with Incubus and Mute Math:

2012 Honda Civic Tour Dates:

08/11 – Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live*
08/12 – Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena*
08/14 – Boston, MA – Comcast Center
08/17 – Camden, NJ – Susquehanna Bank Center
08/19 – Atlanta, GA – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
08/21 – Detroit, MI – The Palace of Auburn Hills
08/22 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
08/24 – Chicago, IL – First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre
08/25 – Indianapolis, IN – Klipsch Music Center
08/27 – Dallas, TX – Gexa Energy Pavilion
08/28 – Houston, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
08/30 – Denver, CO – Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
09/04 – Vancouver – Rogers Arena
09/05 – Tacoma, WA – Tacoma Dome
09/07 – Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
09/08 – Los Angeles, CA – Home Depot Center
09/10 – San Diego, CA – Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre

*Linkin Park and Mutemath only

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