Linkin Park don’t give a fuck what you, us or anyone else thinks of this, their seventh album in close to 20 years. Why should they?
Since providing the soundtrack to a generation and an era in 2000’s ‘Hybrid Theory’, the Californian six-piece have had nothing to prove; but even considering their subsequent string of curveballs, ‘One More Light’ is bold.
Trading in their guitars for synths, moody alt-pop dynamics and quirky production touches, they’ve crafted a sometimes inspired, often muddled labour of love.
Whether it’s the simmering, bass-heavy hip-hop of ‘Good Goodbye’ (featuring searing verses from UK grime king Stormzy and Kanye West protégé Pusha T) or the jaunty, confessional acoustic-pop of closer ‘Sharp Edges’, these songs bear little resemblance to the nu metal of old, or even rock of any sort – though the slow-burning, electronic-driven ‘Nobody Can Save Me’ and ‘Invisible’ still see Chester Bennington staring into the darkness.
Sure, the relative absence of co-frontman Mike Shinoda saps some of the band’s unique character and they get bogged down in sluggish, downcast dirges in the final stretch, but there’s also a sense of liberation running through these 10 tracks; the mark of artists unshackled from their past, stepping into the unknown.
After everything they’ve done for our scene, it’s hard to begrudge them that.