We are just three weeks away from Linkin Park's polarizing new album One More Light, and it has many fans divided. The divide of fans sees many asking where their old sound went. It's a fair question, to a degree; after all, there's no way 'Heavy' is in the same genre as Hybrid Theory's 'One Step Closer' or 'In The End.'
The thing about asking that question is that you have to consider this: Linkin Park never had a defining sound. They have had successful songs in just about every genre you can think of: electronic, hard rock, nu metal, pop... the list continues. Just because the band's roots were in hip-hop and nu-metal doesn't mean that it was their "core" sound.
Even if the band isn't making a similar sound in One More Light, there is a lot of magic looking back in the catalogue. We've reviewed half of the band's discography thus far: the iconic debut Hybrid Theory, 2012's Living Things, and the band's latest effort, 2014's The Hunting Party. In the weeks leading up to One More Light, we'll be looking at the rest of the band's discography and how they grew along the way. The next album on the list is their sophomore release, Meteora, where Linkin Park brought raw anger into the equation.
The main aspect of Meteora that separates it from the rest of Linkin Park's discography is its rawness. Even the hard rock The Hunting Party songs aren't quite as raw. In Meteora, there are songs like 'Hit The Floor' that are just pure rage. The down-tuned guitars act as enraged accentuations to Chester Bennington's violent screams and Mike Shinoda's charged verses. Single 'From The Inside' is another song, and that one makes a far deeper cut. Brought in by its dramatic synth intro, the guitars and drums kick in full force with a distinct feeling of tragedy in them. As the verses proceed with the dramatic guitars and Bennington's melodic vocals, with Shinoda's pre-chorus acting as a bridge into the more emotionally charged choruses, there's a sense of being done with the past and all the negativity it spawns within you. As the song hits its bridge and all the anger and darkness that comes with the past truly comes out, the song reaches what may be the emotional climax of the record with Bennington's declaration of "I won't waste myself on you" before returning to the chorus once more, this time with a sort of final plea in his voice.
While Meteora is a largely more raw record than the previous Hybrid Theory, there are traces of the record in this record. Meteora has less of the electronic backbone that Linkin Park's debut had, but it's definitely still present within the record. Lead single 'Somewhere I Belong' is one of the key examples of the mix between the two. Led in by the iconic effected synth chords, Joe Hahn's scratching percussion helps lead in the track. Shinoda raps confidently over the smooth verses before the powerful choruses come in. 'Numb' is an even better example, it's electronic atmosphere backing a lot of its core. The song's powerful message is accentuated by its vast layering, Chester's vocals made all the more strong and dramatic by the powerful background.
Meteora is its own beast entirely, however. There simply isn't much else like the raw, pure energy of 'Lying From You' and its huge choruses (which feature the great chemistry between Chester and Mike) or the rage of opener 'Don't Stay' an its big riff. The fast paced track 'Faint' sees Shinoad in top form, its electric live outro making the song even more of a beast when it's on the stage. Fan favorite 'Figure.09' is also quite the catch, its interesting guitar riff and Shinoda's big verses making it a big track.
There are plenty of tracks on Meteora that featured a stark change from Hybrid Theory, almost like One More Light. The song 'Breaking The Habit' is an important song for the band's members, and it's not what you'd expect from a band who's success story began with nu metal. The keyboard led track has an orchestral backing to it, making it an interesting blend between electronic and orchestral elements. The song's main catch is its meaning, however; Bennington, who hadn't even written the lyrics himself, broke down in tears reading them, as they bring him back to getting over drugs and the pain it brought him.
Other tracks that are pretty interesting in terms of Linkin Park, too. 'Easier To Run' is a more melodramatic track, seeing use of harmonics and high powerchords similar to 'Pushing Me Away.' 'Nobody's Listening' is another interesting song. This one is the most hip-hop oriented track on the record, led by its Japanese flute riff that adds an interesting flavor to it. Shinoda rolls on the track, his verses raucous almost as if they were a foreshadowing of Fort Minor (which would come to be two years after the release of Meteora). Instrumental track 'Session' is essentially an electronic iteration of 'Cure For The Itch,' but instead features Shinoda and Hahn taking over rather than just a Mr. Hahn solo.
Meteora may not be Linkin Park's most diverse record, but it still packs a punch like any other. They brought raw anger and emotion to the surface in this record and took a much more raw approach to the album. Even at the start, the band was redefining themselves with each record. It's no surprise that they've come to the point they are at, and while it's not as upfront as their older material, it's just as powerful, if not more.
Favorite Tracks: From The Inside, Lying From You, Faint, Breaking The Habit
Least Favorite Track: Hit The Floor
Rating: 84 / 100
Linkin Park's new album One More Light is out on May 19. Follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page so you don't miss out on it!
Buy or listen to Meteora on Apple Music or Amazon:
And pre-order One More Light here: