For their last album Minutes to Midnight, Linkin Park collaborated with Rick Rubin for an LP that found the band moving away from their trademark rap-rock sound. Now the California crew is teaming up with Rubin again for A Thousand Suns — and the iconic producer has helped the band find a totally new voice. “On the last record, Rick’s challenge was getting us to open up our perception of what our music could be,” singer Chester Bennington tells Rolling Stone. “This time we realized it doesn’t matter what the songs sound like. If we like it and it comes from us, it’s Linkin Park.” The group plans to release the album on September 14th while the first single, “The Catalyst,” will arrive on August 2nd.
A Thousand Suns might be Linkin Park’s most eclectic yet — with lyrics that address everything from the recession to the conflicts in the Middle East. One untitled track mixes Nine Inch Nails-style industrial punk with dreamy synth washes, while another lays a heavy hip-hop beat beneath Bennington’s heartfelt vocal performance. “We’ve got rapport with radio stations and people who want to put our band on the front page of their site,” says Mike Shinoda, who co-produced the disc with Rubin. “They’re gonna give us a shot more so than a band they’ve never heard of. So we’ve got this opportunity to take bigger chances with our records and do something a little more challenging.” Adds Rubin, “The band is making music from a pure place.”
Since releasing their last LP, frontmen Mike Shinoda and Chester pursued solo projects like Bennington’s Dead By Sunrise and Shinoda’s work with Hans Zimmer on the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen score. The time apart helped invigorate the band so much that they’re already considering a follow-up. “At this point we’re writing such great music that I almost want to go do 50 shows around the world and then get right back into making another record,” Bennington says. “Once the ball starts rolling, it’s all I want. It’s like a drug.”