Anytime a band that you liked while growing up goes through an "evolution" phase or what would classify as a considerable style change, it's generally for the worse in the eyes of the fan. Linkin Park's first two albums were phenomenal. Every song was single worthy. Even the remix albums released in the same timespan were good. Then they shifted gears and lost the bulk of the older fans but gained a new following with the "softer" songs and more rock-ish melodies. Fine, that's the direction they went and lost this guy as a fan. I have yet to hear that album in its entirety. "Minutes to Midnight" doesn't even exist as an album for me.
"A Thousand Suns" was released in September of 2010 and I gave it a shot. There were a handful of songs that I actually enjoyed. The song, "Wretches and Kings," as I've pointed out on here numerous times is excellent and it's difficult to not nod your head to it. In June, Linkin Park released their newest album, "Living Things" and the built-in skepticism kicked in. Oh great- what did they end up doing on this album?
Well, from a first listen, it seems like a fair mix between A Thousand Suns and probably some of that Midnight stuff. It's not bad though. The riffs and vocal patterns are catchy as most of their good songs have. Mike Shinoda's finally changed up his "rapping" style a bit as heard on the song, "Lies Greed Misery." Overall, the more electronic feel of their music is still intact and that's a good thing.
Each song has been produced with that feel of catchy single-worthy music as found in the first two albums but of a different calibur and style. This feels more like an apt third album release, assuming "Minutes to Midnight" and "A Thousand Suns" were never released, albeit with less nu-metal influence in the guitar work. Dare I say the band has matured a bit? Now I don't want to get too far ahead of myself - not matured like the Deftones, but in their own right.
On the track, "Victimized" I think the band is trying to do something out of their element as well - creating something "hard" but it doesn't translate that well compared to the folks that know how to make this music but an A for effort I suppose. At the same token, the song, "Until It Breaks" is very similar to the style of "Wretches and Kings" and if you have a good sound system, definitely bump-worthy (read: heavy 808 drums) for the first half.
Overall, I'd definitely recommend giving the album a listen through. The group has been able to capture the elements of what brought them success in their elementary offerings while changing up the style and sound a bit. I don't think I would've had much bad to say about this if it was released as their third album release as it seems like a more natural progression than the hard-stopped departure from that other album.