(Warner Bros, September 14th)
J. Robert Oppenheimer described the atomic bomb using the Hindu Sanskrit scripture Bhagavad-Gita: “If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one.” Linkin Park use similar concepts of human fear, nuclear warfare and technology to bring about an apocalyptic edge to this album. Contemporary concerns about the world are heightened in the moodiness and reflection that comes across throughout A Thousand Suns.
With A Thousand Suns, in the works from 2008, Mike Shinoda and Rick Rubin have continued their work of 2007’s Minutes to Midnight. The album was written by Linkin Park, who found many topics to write on within the context of the album.
In 2009 while revealing information about the album Shinoda said that they had intended to create an album that sounded different to all of their other work. This holds true to some of the tracks such as ‘When They Come For me,’ ‘Robot Boy,’ and ‘Fallout’; creating a new level of attention. However the frontrunner tracks, ‘The Catalyst’ and ‘Wretches And Kings’, of the album fail to establish a definitive sound separate from the band’s earlier popular works. Overall the tracks ‘Burning In The Skies’ and ‘Waiting For The End’ highlight the reflection and questioning radiance of the album.
Drummer Bob Bourdon confessed to their struggle for perfection and that with such an intense topic they had to evolve as musicians, as they wrote a lot but went through a lot of refining to arrive at a product that kept them interested and enjoying the process. “We’ve been used to making a certain type of music and using sounds to accomplish that. So to break out of that and push ourselves to grow is definitely challenging.”
A Thousand Suns replaces aggression with contemplation. Transmissions from screaming vocals to the more refined rock tones to rap to harsh speech keep the track refreshing and the listener engaged. Striving for a style more natural than technical, Linkin Park still manage to make references to Public Enemy in ‘Wretches And Kings’ and feature samples of speech by political figures such as Martin Luther King Jr, J. Robert Oppenheimer and Mario Savio.
The tracks echo popular qualms about wars and technology. The sound patterning though the album ranges from that of an enjoyable to a tolerable variety. The messages would only apply to those who are like-minded. Similar to most of Linkin Park music, this album would be a hit among suitable audiences.