From the haunting opening sequence of Meteora, with its seemingly combat-like aura, the new Linkin Park album is already fitting for the times. The sophomore release from the multi-platinum selling act from Los Angeles is not just Hybrid Theory rehashed: the band has grown in the two years since their debut and that growth has provided fruit in the form of a highly differentiated and more mature album. Unlike contemporaries Korn and Limp Bizkit, who seemed to have been only adept at the screamy aspects of the rap-rock/nu-metal genre, this crew can utilize Chester Bennington and the fact he can actually sing to add much-needed texture to their albums. They still have the dual-vocaled attack that can be in your face and loud, as on "Don't Stay," "Hit The Floor," and the album's first single, "Somewhere I Belong," but Bennington's ability to take the sextet into more downtempo territory is shown well on slower, more tuneful numbers like "Easier To Run" and "Breaking The Habit." The musical textures on Meteora are amazingly varied, as well, the band using drum 'n' bass aspects to liven up their sound on the album's standout song "Faint" and the instrumental, "Session," while invigorating "Nobody's Listening" with flute samples. They even hid one of the catchiest songs on the album, "Numb," as the last track. While the nu-metal genre may have come and gone and taken the majority of the bands with them, albums like Meteora prove that not only is Linkin Park not a one-trick pony, but they plan on being around for years to come.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN.