I had the privilege of being selected to go down to Warner Records to be one of the 1st 20 people outside of the label to listen to the album yesterday so I decided to write a review to share my thoughts. The album is a journey from start to finish. It pulls you in from the 1st 10 seconds, and I was given chills at 5 different points during the album listen. Enjoy
1. The Requiem - Great intro with dark sounding synth fading in. Mike begins a haunting moan sound, which is followed up by a line from "The Catalyst" coming from a little girl sounding voice. The line is delivered with different notes in sections, that instantly give you and eerie feeling. The heads of Warner asked us who we thought it was but we all were wrong, and they told us that it was actually Mike with heavy electronic vocal effects on his voice. It is not an actual female vocal. Still haunting none the less.
2. The Radiance - Quick short synth to fade into the next track, not much to review. Feels like a cont. of the 1st track rather than its own.
3. Burning In The Skies - Very singable. The chorus has Chester singing, "Swimming through the smoke of the bridges I have burned, I'm losing what I don't deserve." Those are the lines that stuck with me after hearing the song. Song has a good feel to it. It could turn into a radio song. Not very heavy, but I think people will connect with it.
4. Empty Spaces - Crickets intro with guns fired, and bombs exploding. The bombs fade into the beat of the next track...
5. When They Come For Me - Hard punching beat with Mike rapping throughout. Mike ending lots of verses with "Try to keep up motha effaaaa"
6. Robot Boy - For this track I was expecting something very electronic due to the name. However, it was very melodic with Mike singing without much electronic influence.
7. Jornada Del Muerto - This track comes right on the heels of the previous. Almost sounds as if it's an instrumental with the vocal track reversed and warped. Another point where I got chills. The vocal track can't be understood by lyrics, but rather by tone. Almost sounds very exhausted. Also very eerie upon first listen.
8. Waiting For The End - The head of Warner told us this is the next single and he asked for our thoughts on it. It has Mike rapping in a Reggae style with Chester doing a very singable chorus. Has a great beat, and great vibe overall. This is the one track on the record that doesn't sound at all like Linkin Park. It sounds great still, but this song is very different.
9. Blackout - This is one track that is a standout. Electronic sounding beat, with Chester almost rapping. I wouldn't call it real rapping because he is changing notes for certain words as if he was singing fast. Then HEAVY screams that fit the electronic sound well. Chester screams BLACKOUT and it's DJ-ed and warped like something off of Reanimation, and sounds incredible. However, this is only 80% of the song. The last 20% turns into a bass driven pop sounding song that did not fit what Chester was doing moments before. It's almost as if it was a chorus to the song and they put it on the tail end. I thought it was the next track but it was still Blackout. I don't understand why they put it on the end, but it feels very out of place. It's not "BAD", just doesn't feel even remotely like the same song.
10. Wretches And Kings - This is the song all older LP fans have been waiting for and whining about. This could have easily been on Meteora. Hard guitar with effects and Mike rapping hard the track, with Chester scream singing the chorus. I would have to say this is my favorite LP song they have ever done. The beat hits harder than you could possibly imagine. The head of Warner played the track again, this time at full volume, per request by us after the album was done playing. This song is reason to buy the album alone. It's like a reinvention of the first 2 albums. I'm glad, however that this is the only track that sounded as such, because it makes the track special, and not like anything else on the CD.
11. Wisdom, Justice, And Love - MLK speaks over distorted sounds, and slowly becomes warped into a robot-like voice.
12. Iridescent - This sounds like a big powerful radio single. Beat heavy, piano driven with soft vocals, and a soaring chorus. Huge finish with a choir singing with Chester, possibly group vocals from the band. The song is not heavy but is truly an epic song from start to finish. It builds up and takes off.
13. Fallout - This sounds like it should have been titled Robot Boy. It's Mike singing over a robot voice, and leads well into The Catalyst.
14. The Catalyst - Ok single to start out with, but it fits in better as part of the whole album, rather than by itself. As it fades it feels like it was in the right place on the album.
15. The Messenger - Acoustic Guitar intro into Chester singing alone singing like I've NEVER heard him sing before. Hitting some absolutely incredible notes. Powerful lyrics regarding angels. Chester really holds nothing back vocally on the track. The notes at times give chills. A perfect way to end the A Thousand Suns journey.