Linkin Park is taking a 180° turn from the aggression of 2014's The Hunting Party in their new album One More Light, due out in May. The controversy of the lead single 'Heavy' featuring Kiiara seems to have died down after fans' initial responses of shock and despair at the new sound. The next taste of music from the record is perhaps even more polarizing as Linkin Park continues its pop transformation in the beautiful new track 'Battle Symphony.'
There are many stark differences from 'Heavy' that make 'Battle Symphony' a very unique song in the band's discography. 'Heavy' had a familiar taste of Linkin Park in its instrumental and minor sound, while in 'Battle Symphony,' it's a bit harder to draw parallels to it from elsewhere in the band's discography. The punched in and out intro has a modern pop feel as the song is ushered into a keyboard underneath a sweet melody from Chester Bennington. The chorus comes in with lots of hope as Bennington cries "I hear my battle symphony / All the world in front of me / If my armor breaks, I'll fuse it back together."
While the song may seem like a full departure into a pop sound, there are still things that tie it together that keep it very fresh and inspired. The lyrics are absolutely beautiful - the delivery of the choruses' second half: "This is my battle symphony / Please just don't give up on me" is almost heartbreaking, and the subtle symphonies backing the song are not only fittingly placed within the song, but also elevate the song to a beautiful final climax. The guitars are there, a bit hidden in the mix of the choruses underneath the hopeful pop synths and Bennington's pleading vocals. The beat also has a bit of a hip-hop flair to it, harkening back to some of the band's older singles like 'Waiting For The End.' The marching drums in the first chorus also bring the song back to a taste of 'In My Remains,' and the song's slowly building instrumental is also a key component of Linkin Park's music.
The song's beauty is accentuated by the gorgeous lyric video. Everything about the video is just perfect: the colors, the message, the scenes... Everything comes together in a way that not only compliments every change in the song but tells its own story, as if it acts like a music video. The shots and scenes are gorgeously shot, and the emotional climax may be a bit cliché, but it still feels sweet.
Linkin Park is continuing to prove that they can really own any sound they choose to tackle. Snippets of various tracks have been popping up around the internet, and they also show some promise: heartbreaking title track 'One More Light' is bound to be a really strong track, and the groovier 'Talking To Myself' will be a fun one, too. The mixed reaction to 'Heavy' is to be expected, but in that polarization you can find a very unique change for a band with a big legacy. One More Light has the potential to change lives and music, and 'Battle Symphony' is only another taste of what's to come.
Rating: 92 / 100
Buy or listen to 'Battle Symphony' here: