Thursday, 20 September 2012

Linkin Park - Living Things

Burning Down The Barriers

By now most of you reading this would have heard this album, but for those who haven't, or for those who have just given up (no pun intended) on Linkin Park, you might want to give this a quick read.

We can all admit that there won't be an album with Linkin Park's name on it that will ever be as good as the astounding, ball-breaking debut "Hybrid Theory", but this is about as close as we'll get to Linkin Park showing some kind of return to form. Their previous effort "A Thousand Suns" got most people raging inside. How can a band whose first two albums were so incredible, have a downfall and release a sub-par album that sounded like they didn't have a clue what true direction they wanted to take. The mainstream fans mildy enjoyed it. The avid 'been fans from day one' crew felt like part of them died. No one should be made to listen to "Robot Boy".

However, there's been a twist of fate on "Living Things" as the band have seen a a guiding light shining in front of them. Yes, the electronic noises are still there, but this time used slightly more appropriately and decisively. We can forgive them though because some of the screaming vocals and crunching guitars that they were famous for at the beginning have made a return in full force. "Lost In The Echo" is easily one of the best LP songs of the last 5 or so years. A perfectly blended mix of all the elements that make a great modern Rock/Electronic song. I feel that the aggression they lacked in the last album is back, the gritty sounds just make all that difference in reviving their Nu-Metal roots. Mike Shinoda's rapping is no longer embarrasing, and of all the members, he seems to be the one who has made the biggest impact on this album, making sure it is appealing and frankly not appauling. There seems to be a theme in the lyrics about love and loss, but not in the traditionally, soppy sense. You can feel the emotions running through the music, and their darkened vision is seen throughout. It is so dark at times, the album should have been called "A Thousand Moons".

Stand-out tracks are: "Lost In The Echo", "Victimized" and "Powerless"

Overall a very decent album for a band who shouldn't be seen as a laughing stock in the Rock and Metal world, but should be seen as legendary.

Rating: 7 out of 10

The Darkness - Hot Cakes

I Believe In A Thing Called Glam-Rock Revival

The glitter and glamour has re-entered the rock scene, with The Darkness' newest release 'Hot Cakes'; their first album since 2005. It is fair to say this was a highly anticipated album, due to the fact that it had been so long since The Darkness were together as a unit, we were hoping to expect them to hit the studio and write an album full of classics, just like 'Permission to Land'. We got what we expected for the most part. We all ask the same question though: "Why the hell is the album called Hot Cakes?"

The album begins with the aptly named 'Every Inch Of You' which contains the screechy, high-pitched vocals this band are renowned for. The duel lead guitar lines have returned, greater than ever, as the band sound just as good as they did when they hit the big time. Each song is so typically a glam-revival, it is exactly what is needed in Rock at this moment in time, a bit of life and laughter, and who better to bring it back than the legendary 'Kings of Cheese'. The parody feeling is still in existence, as Justin Hawkins and his wonderous moustache are taking control once again of bringing pure fun to the music world. The lyrics are as inappropriate as ever, each song contain some type of euphemism, which to be fair is what we love about the band. The album itself feels more cohesive than the previous two, there seems to be less filler and more fun-filled tracks. The band sound tighter together, it seems as if they can be taken more seriously by the public than before. Although they do not care about public perception, and purely on their loyal fanbase. This album smashes all negative expectations out the way, because it is an extremely solid record with quality, upbeat tunes, just made more enjoyable by them AC/DC influenced riffs.

To summarise, if you were a Darkness fan before, you'll love it. If you weren't a fan originally, then you either don't recognise good ol' fashion Glam Rock that gets everyone in the mood for rocking out, or this will convert you and you can join the rest of the Rock world when they are dancing to these bangers at festivals around the world. 

Stand-out tracks on this album are: "With A Woman", "Everybody Have A Good Time". Also their cover of the Radiohead song "Street Spirit (Fade Out) will be one that splits opinions, with the Radiohead fans questioning their own 'morals' before listening to The Darkness' take on the hit.

Rating: 8 out of 10