It would seem that switching from producer Don Gilmore (who has worked with the likes of Avril Lavigne and Duran Duran) to Rick Rubin (who has worked with artists like Johnny Cash and Slayer) had an impact on how Minutes to Midnight, Linkin Park’s latest album, came out. This is not to discredit Gilmoreâ€šÃ„Ã´s production work on Linkin Park’s hugely successful albums Hybrid Theory and Meteora but Minutes to Midnight happens to be the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s first studio album to contain a parental Advisory sticker, an indication that this album is something a little harder edged.Minutes to Midnight maintains the band’s signature sound of synth laden nu-metal/modern rock, but there are some very daring moments like the metal infused â€šÃ„ÃºNo More Sorrowâ€šÃ„Ã¹ , which has a very chunky rhythm section and evil sounding lead guitar, and the thrashy â€šÃ„ÃºGiven Upâ€šÃ„Ã¹ with its bouncy bass line and very heavy bridge. (Think of the bands single â€šÃ„ÃºFaintâ€šÃ„Ã¹ from Meteora and then take it to the next level). This is also the first Linkin Park album to put vocals by Mike Shinoda in the forefront. They do this on three songs: â€šÃ„ÃºBleed it Outâ€šÃ„Ã¹, with its fast paced rhythm that perfectly compliments Shinoda’s rhymes; â€šÃ„ÃºHand Held High,â€šÃ„Ã¹ with its military style drum beat and politically tinged lyrics like “”when the rich wage war it’s the poor who die,â€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºIn Betweenâ€šÃ„Ã¹ an emotional ballad with Shinoda’s smooth voice over minimalist keyboard and guitar.
There are still the expected Linkin Park moments like â€šÃ„ÃºWhat I’ve Doneâ€šÃ„Ã¹, the album’s first single, which is reminiscent of the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s huge radio hit from Hybrid Theory â€šÃ„ÃºIn the Endâ€šÃ„Ã¹, with its big chorus and easily accessible melody.
In its entirety, Minutes to Midnight is one of Linkin Park’s best efforts to date. The band has matured into a well-rounded, dynamic rock n’ roll outfit with strong songs, great lyrics and memorable melodies.