On May 4, 2007, "Minutes to Midnight", Linkin Park's fifth official album was leaked. Minutes To Midnight, revolving around the concept of the notorious doomsday clock, molds a new image to be branded onto the name 'Linkin Park'. Before this release, Linkin Park was known for their catchy drop d guitar chords, undeniably muscular choruses, and articulate raps dealing with the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Linkin Park's very first demo was released in 1997, before the band was even known as Linkin Park. Ten years have passed, and a new formula has been invented and finely executed.
Minutes To Midnight is the definition of what one may call an audible odyssey, taking the listener on a roller coaster of a ride, but somehow managing to stay on track and not lose focus of what the concept of the album is all about. Ten years has passed and through these years, Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda's lyrical landscape has expanded to concepts listeners have never been exposed to. Several songs (No More Sorrow, The Little Things Give You Away, Hands Held High, and the first single 'What I've Done') encompass a political message. Unlike many rock bands today, Linkin Park decides to leave out their own agenda, and leaves one with a myriad of issues to think about and to make their own judgments.
Most noticeably different on this record is the fine addition of ballads and power ballads, a musical corridor Linkin Park has been hesitant to explore in the past. Luckily, Linkin Park does it quite well. Chester Bennington's transitional legacy as one of metal's most admired screamers and one of rock's finest singers is not omitted on this album. Rob Bourdon, already exposed as an extraordinary drummer, took his skills to the next level on this album. Also, with the assistance of Rick Ruben as producer, Dave Farrell aka Phoenix's bass lines are skillfully complex, loud, and clear, adding yet another new dimension to their tunes. The drop d guitar chords have all been put to rest, as beautiful guitar notes make their way onto virtually every track off of this album. And yes, they have in fact implemented guitar solos that transition beautifully into every song.
This will be Linkin Park's first album that has a Parental Advisory slapped on it. Although unnecessary, the Parental Advisory sticker is no indicator whatsoever of a curse-filled album. The F bomb gets dropped a few times on one track and a few other curses made their way onto two other tracks, but other than that, every track is clean as a whistle. Rumor had it that Mike Shinoda would no longer be providing a hip-hop insight on this album. While this is partially true, he sings, yes sings, on one track ("In Between") all by himself, he has a rap track all to himself delving into political issues using vocabulary and issues that many listeners will be left opening history books to. There is one song that instills the old Linkin Park formula ("Bleed It Out"), just as a reminder that they have not eradicated their roots.
All-in-all, this record will by far be Linkin Park's biggest adult audience-targeted album. The band has noticeably matured through their instrumentation, lyrical masterpieces, and thought-provoking sounds and images. A few months ago, asked about what he could say about the new sound on the new album, Linkin Park co-frontman Chester Bennington boldly stated, "The way we've been classified, and how people think they know us, that's all going to die." No lies were told when that statement was made. Without a doubt, when Minutes To Midnight is released on May 15, 2007, they will once again conquer the rock arena, raking in a new slew of fans, the more mature thinkers of today.
Linkin Park - Minutes To Midnight - 5 out of 5 stars.