Sound — 9
4 years after Meteora Linkin Park has completely changed from the radio-friendly nu-metal style they were known for. Most songs on the album are played in drop D tuning, never used by LP before, even if there are still a few song in LP signature drop Db tuning. Every single member of the band has evolved: lead guitarist Brad Delson now play more complex parts and also put a few solos in the album, simple but tasty; drummer Rob Bourdon abandoned playing just simple rock patterns to move into something with more personality, from fast punk/metal tempos (given up, no more sorrow) to complex patterns (the little things give you away), bass player phoenix now doesn't always follow the guitar parts and does his best in wake, bleed it out, in betwen and given up. DJ Joe Hahn focused more on the sampling, where he did an eccellent work (shadow of the day, leave out all the rest, in pieces) while he used turntables in just a few songs.
Lyrics — 9
Vocalist Chester Bennington now sings most of the songs alone, while covocalist and MC Mike Shinoda raps only in two songs, Bleed It Out (which features the old LP vocal formula rap+singing) and Hands Held High, he also focused more on vocal harmonies and sings lead vocals on In Between. Lyrics skip from social and political issues to love, hate and fear. Both Shinoda and Bennington have significantly improved since Meteora.
Overall Impression — 9
I think this record shows Linkin Park's true potential as a band. Not everybody will love this album but we know, after two similar albums change is needed. LP understood it and consequently moved in this direction If it was stolen I would definitely buy it again. Now we wait late 2009 for LP's forth studio album. Keep on rocking guys!