David Raposa: Always great to see a group release a teaser single from a “concept album” that highlights none of the group’s already limited strengths. So instead of Chester Bennington scream-singing some dopey ear-wormy catchphrases atop an aggro-rock-techno burble, it’s Chester Bennington mewling dopey non-descript catchphrases through some obnoxious vocal filter while the band perfects their “shitty Killing Joke” moves. Mike Shinoda, your side-project is calling to tell you that it’s over.
Al Shipley: I never thought I’d miss Mike Shinoda’s bland, blocky flow. But 6 of Stinkin’ Linkin’s last 7 singles have featured no rapping, and the one that did have some Shinoda Ice rhymes, “Bleed It Out”, was by far my favorite. This is better than those Transformers theme songs, sure, but these guys are really missing how much the interplay between two different vocal styles made their sound work.
Edward Okulicz: Linkin Park are dumb stadium-rockers with a few flourishes, they’re not smart enough to get by without their kitchen sink guitar crush, and this even lacks their usual precious earnestness, favouring a kind of distant helplessness. Easy cut-out-and-keep Linkin Park scoring schema: if you can imagine Jamelia covering it and it being awesome, it gets 8. If you can’t, it gets 2.
Chuck Eddy: Holy moley, is this their audition for respected darkwave industrial electronic-body-muzik label Metropolis, or what? Best thing I’ve ever heard (or at least noticed) by them, either way — sure beats their pretending to play hard rock music. At least until it degenerates into emoting, Apoptygma Berzerk might be somewhat impressed!
Alex Ostroff: Since Linkin Park first graced us with their presence, dark synth numbers have gained critical traction. Here, they manage to lay down an instrumental with a creep-factor AND a dance-factor worthy of Fever Ray or The Knife. Unfortunately, Chester Bennington’s caterwauling vocals and his persistent need to overemote remind you exactly how awful Linkin Park are. The sound of suburban adolescent angst never ages well, even when it’s inspired by the Bhagavad Gita and Robert J. Oppenheimer.
Fergal O’Reilly: Like if Scooter were pussies.
Michaelangelo Matos: “We’re a broken people living under a loaded gun”, lumbering pace, go-for-broke build-up, epic trance synths, big-big-big finish: come back, Tiësto, all is forgiven.
Alfred Soto: Substitute a sample of an obscure gospel choir for the endless chorus, and presto chango! It’s 1999, and Moby music blasts in your boutique.
Jonathan Bogart: Good on them for dropping the adolescent-whine guitars. It’s not 2001 anymore. But it’s also not 1993 anymore. Do clubs still do pop-industrial nights?
Mark Sinker: Ambushed by unexpected Second Toughest in the Infants! Only real complaint is that “burned inside the fires of a thousand suns” should have been “a trillion suns”, obviously.
Renato Pagnani: There’s a decent track buried somewhere here, beneath all the clichéd gang vocals and talk of salvation and sin and blah blah blah. If they dug out the Knife-y synths, all hollow and iridescent and shape-shifting, and weren’t scared to actually go full-out dubstep instead of just half-assing it, they might be on to something. There are moments where it threatens to break out and bloom into something actually kind of epic, but Linkin Park either won’t — or most likely, can’t — execute the kind of track I’d like to hear built out of the rubble here. I even sort of like the breakdown that veers close to Musedonia, but without the eye-rolling, world-is-ending overkill. This one could be a grower.
Martin Skidmore: This starts off pretty well, with atmosphere and scratching, but gradually the rock elements come to the fore, and any interest I have dissipates accordingly. The rock parts seem leaden and tedious, as if they want to be a big anthem, but without having anything memorable or catchy. They’re better than many in their genre, but I still don’t care.
Anthony Easton: Admire Park’s ability to market and maintain success over a decade, still cannot stand their music (much like ICP without the facepaint).