LOS ANGELES — Christmas came a few weeks late for Linkin Park's Joseph Hahn and Brad Delson, who were giddy at Monday's American Music Awards about having just received finished copies of their new album.
"After about 18 months of writing and recording, it's nice to finally have a finished thing to listen to," guitarist Delson said, grinning.
Linkin Park decided to call that thing Meteora, and they've set a March 25 release date for the disc, produced and mixed by Hybrid Theory's Don Gilmore and Andy Wallace, respectively.
"There's definitely a thread that runs throughout all the songs on Meteora, and also between Hybrid Theory, Reanimation and the new record," Delson said. "I think having worked with all those great artists on Reanimation and having toured for so long, we really learned a lot and wanted to integrate that into where we are today. Not necessarily talk about entirely new things, but give our new perspective on that. It's still heavy, a very dark record."
Hahn said although Meteora has more variety than their past releases, fans of Hybrid Theory will like the new record. Like their debut — but very much unlike last fall's remix album, Reanimation — Meteora has no guest appearances.
"We wanted to keep this one more intimate with no guest appearances, 'cause we wanted to focus on our growth individually as musicians and as a group and really showcase that," Hahn explained.
Fans will be able to watch that growth process in video clips documenting the creation of Meteora; the footage, which will be shown on the group's Web site, was directed by Bill Berg-Hillinger, who shot the band's "Frat Party at the Pankake Festival" DVD.
The first single from the album is the aggressive "Somewhere I Belong." "One thing that sets 'Somewhere I Belong' apart from some of the other songs is it has an interesting sense of optimism to it," Delson said. "So I think the lyrics are one of the stand-out elements to that song."
Linkin Park are shooting a video for the track in Los Angeles later this week.
"The video is being directed by this guy, he's got kind of a negative reputation in the industry, but we're giving him a shot. His name is Joe Hahn," Delson joked.
"It's another very visual concept," Hahn explained. "It's basically a dream sequence that's taking place, and the familiar objects in the room are turning into the reality, which is the dream, which is not the reality. It's a whole play on your mind."
"It's very pseudo-intellectual," Delson added.
Eager to get back on the road, Linkin Park are planning a European tour for February, followed by the second Projekt Revolution outing in North America in March.
"We're basically going to be expanding that this year and bringing out bands that should be showcased in terms of their eclecticism," Delson said.
No bands are confirmed, but Delson said Linkin Park will definitely headline.