As a huge Linkin Park fan, I had high expectations for this album, which Minutes to Midnight has lived up too. Linkin Park have took a chance with this album, something I deeply respect and believe it has paid off for them. The album is more mature musically and lyrically than their past efforts as it deals with political and social issues skilfully and subtlely.
The album is a real mix of songs, heavier tracks such as Given Up and the heaviest they've ever written No More Sorrow, energise the album with fierce brutality. Whilst softer songs such as Leave Out All The Rest and Valentine's Day complements them yet still hold power over the listener. The album begins with the instrumental track Wake, which allows Linkin Park to show the listener that they have broken the sound with a more organic and developed approach than they have used before, which is apparent in all tracks until the album is beautifully concluded with The Little Things Give you Away, possibly the bands finest moment.
The melodies album is sincere and beautifully crafted, and has been a breath of fresh air amongst all other recent releases which often lack proper melodies, they really have took the time to make this album special and have used as many tools they can from oboes, violas and pianos to blazing guitars and samples to add layers and complexity to the music, without it being over the top. A perfect example is the beautiful but not flashy guitar solos present on In Pieces and The Little Things Give You Away, that have been absent on past releases from the band. The music is then perfectly graced with Chester Bennington's vocals, which vary from beautiful melodic singing to vicious snarling and screaming. Listeners who are familiar with their past releases will notice the lack of input from Mike Shinoda who takes lead vocals for only 3 tracks: Bleed It Out, Hands Held High, and In Between, which the band have been criticised for but on the other hand some listeners may prefer. But the music defiantly has his imprint on, he also provides Bennington with back up vocals on many of the tracks.
If you are going to buy the album, I strongly advise you to buy the special edition that is also available, the beautiful package it comes with and the making of DVD completes the album experience.
Minutes to Midnight is a huge achievement for the band, and I congratulate them for it.