Monday, March 20, 2017

Linkin Park - Minutes To Midnight

Album cover: Linkin Park have released some varied album artwork across their stellar career.  This one is bare bones simple but pretty iconic in a way.  All six band members are seen viewing a sea and bright sky and one cannot help but wonder, given the album's title as well, if they are awaiting the fate of humanity at a very critical juncture in time. 

Overall album:  Minutes To Midnight I liken to be the third instalment in a trilogy of great albums that began with Hybrid Theory followed by Meteora.  It has the right balance of elements that made Linkin Park such a household name, while also incorporating some progressive characteristics.  It touches on so many areas of what it is to be a human being and provides a great narrative for the times we live in.



Songs: 

Wake: A neat and short instrumental piece that slowly and softly comes to life and then with a few ominous chords thrown in the middle, elevates itself to a grand crescendo.

Given Up: A hard hitting track that has Chester Bennington spewing out some pretty gritty vocals.  It has his trademark screams and high pitch delivery we were first introduced to on the bands debut Hybrid Theory.  I personally like Dave Farrell's bass tone on this one. The overall vibe reflects a state of anguish and deep irritation.  Dare I say it seems to have a slight punk feel to it to. 

Leave Out All The Rest:  Beautiful! Just beautiful!  This track is epic on a number of levels.  There's a softness and delicateness in its flow.  Better still the lyrics are top notch and provide another example of how poetic this band is.  It has a big chorus that just stays with you long after the final notes have played out.

Bleed It Out: There's an interesting burst of energy that I notice running through this track.  It seems like its one of the wilder and rawer ones on the album.  I think that Mike Shinoda  and Chester really demonstrate how well they can interchange their vocal duties with each other out here. 

Shadow Of The Day:  A mid-tempo and easy going track that builds up in a very cool way as it progresses.  Definitely one where, Joseph Hahn, Brad Delson Rob Bourdon  showcase their talent.  Plus, you'd notice how in spite of its laid back feel, Rob really keeps the whole thing tight and moving forward well.

What I've Done: The most serious track on the album, which is a deep reflection of human impact on the environment.  Brad and Rob take the lead here and deliver a hard hitting rock piece that would leave most fans pleased.  Chester also sings out some thought provoking lines.

Hands Held HighNow this a track that has quite a few fans divided on for some reason.  For me, I love this track and it's more of a solo piece that Mike owns throughout.  Its got a great melody and is quite different from anything else you hear on the album.  The lyrics comment on the state of the U.S. during the second Gulf War. 

No More Sorrow:    Starts of with a wailing guitar followed by some hard interjections by the rest of the band at several points before exploding into a sonic treat.  This is a particularly heavy track and Chester spits out some hateful lyrics towards an unknown person.  Overall its a good number to throw the horns up to.  

Valentine's Day:  Wow! This is the song that really stands out from the whole pack.  It has a very dark vibe to it but its laced over with a sweet melody.  Brad owns this one with his guitar and Chester's voice is simply epic.  

In-Between:  A chilling tune with the way that cello plays in the background.  There's some interesting musical chords that interweave between Mike's vocal lines.  It maintains its mid-tempo feel but yet packs a pretty good punch.

In-Pieces: Joseph shows off his chops here along with Brad.  Again a bit ballad like in nature but yet it never compromises in its flow and just rushes through your ears and conjures up some pretty interesting imagery.

The Little Things You Give Away:  Honestly, this feels very different from what one may have been used to from the band's past catalogue.  It has a very brooding and reflective tone to it mixed with various sound effects that come out at you from different spots only to disappear as quickly.  It has a way of lifting your mind up and transporting you to another realm.  It was certainly the best way to close a solid album like this. 

Ultimate Album Song: Valentine's Day 

The Band: Dave "Phoenix" Farrell (Bass), Chester Bennington (Vocals/ Guitars), Joseph Hahn  (Turntables/ Sampling), Mike Shinoda  (Vocals/ Guitars/ Piano), Rob Bourdon  (Drums), Brad Delson (Guitars)

Image source: http://artiq.hu/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/linkin-park-1940x720.jpg