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Linkin Park: A Thousand Suns

Album Review

Nu-metal gets political.

It’s easy to mock Linkin Park, with their deeply stupid, Fisher Price rap metal and bottomless well of self-pitying angst. With A Thousand Suns they’re on a mission to prove themselves deep thinkers with a handle on big issues.

So they’ve written a concept album about nuclear warfare – the title references a quote from American physicist J Robert Oppenheimer about the atomic bomb. The result is every bit as self-important and po-faced as you’d imagine. 

To be fair, it’s a slick, well-crafted collection of tracks, with scraps of vintage news reports and battlefield noises swimming in and out, the tracks connected to one another by swathes of sound. Musically, though, it’s all over the place. At its best, in the dark, angry hip-hop of Wretches And Kings or the spooky, warped fragments of ambience that make up tracks like The Radiance, A Thousand Suns is an interesting attempt by the band to take themselves out of their stadium-packing comfort zone. 

But then they ruin it all with the hideous, mawkish, boy-band pop balladry of Iridescent and Waiting For The End, both of which are so glutinously unpleasant that you’ll be begging for the nuclear winter to come and end the misery.

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