Linkin Park – One More Light
Release date: 19th May 2017
Label: Warner Bros
Three years since their last release, Linkin Park have dropped their latest album One More Light. Dropped is probably the wrong term, because even a turd dropping into the toilet would be more audibly pleasing. After deeming their previous release The Hunting Party as the biggest disappointment of the century, I was unpleasantly surprised by just how different One More Light is.
As a band who have dabbled across many genres, Linkin Park has had previous success in terms of commercialising their music, when rapper Jay Z remixed the bands popular single ‘numb’. Perhaps this is what influenced them to make the jump from moody rock to ballady pop, or perhaps they simply out grew their edgy teen angst aura. Either way, the dive from their previous work to One More Light is so dramatic, they may have been better off rebranding themselves entirely.
I wanted to like it, I really did. The only Linkin Park essence remaining on this record is the same powerful lyrical style, only on this release the well strung words are backed by a simple, generic pop melody. Pretending it was not the new Linkin Park record made it a bit more bearable, but no more enjoyable. Thankfully, I can’t make a joke about the ending being my favourite part of the album, as the last track actually has some substance. Without trying to sound like an elitist, I would have preferred a record with more than one song performed on an organic instrument.
Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?
Release Date: 16th June 2017
Label: Warner Bros
Rock duo Royal Blood first turned heads with their self-titled debut record in 2014. Since then the band have rocketed to success, headlining some monster venues and sharing the stage with some large names. It’s no wonder there was so much hype for their latest release ‘How did we get so Dark?’ And fans were not left disappointed.
The fascinating anatomy of their music is that it is not too heavy, but somehow not too mellow. It sits in the middle where a wide audience can enjoy it. The melodies are well thought out, and time signature changes keep it lively and exciting. ‘How did we get so Dark?’ Is an example of the bands growth from strength to strength, each song brings something new to the mix, there is not a bad track on the album.
‘I only lie when I love you’ is a particular highlight for me on this record. Everything flows with ease, the lyrics into the melody, over the drums and that heavy bass.
Overall this is my favourite release of this year so far. I knew they would only go up after their debut, but ‘How did we get so Dark?’ is something better than I could possibly have imagined. I cannot wait to see where this album takes them, and what they create next.
Rise Against – Wolves
Release Date: 9th June 2017
Label: Virgin Records
A band that never seems to stop, Rise Against have poured out their eighth studio album. The latest release named ‘Wolves’ proves they have not run dry of ideas quite yet, and if they keep releasing albums of this quality they will always remain at the top of their game.
I love this release because over the years Rise Against have created and developed their own unique sound, and this album is no exception to that pattern. Each time they make an album their sound becomes more defined, their music does not change over time but instead, it grows.
From the moment Tim Mcilrath opens up first track ‘Wolves’ with his raw vocals, that familiarity is evident, it is extremely rare for a band to have stuck to a sound and for it to still sound fresh after so many albums.
Even the artwork on the album fits in with their previous releases, forever adding to their catalogue of punk rock anthems. ‘Wolves’ is amongst their best work yet, although it is not as musically aggressive as their first few albums, it shows the same sentiment through the lyrics and vocals. They are back, they are still passionate about change, and they are still the same Rise Against.