Linkin Park Take Guitars To New Places On A Thousand Suns

'We sampled them and played them like you would make a hip-hop song,' Mike Shinoda explains.

Depending on which side of the great A Thousand Suns debate you stand, [artist id="960856"]Linkin Park[/artist]‘s use of guitars on the album (or, more specifically, the general lack of them) is either a brilliant, ballsy move or a total letdown.

After all, LP’s near-trademark guitar tone — something between a rocket-launcher and a firework, explosive, arching and incendiary — was a big part of what made them one of the hugest rock acts on the planet, and on Suns, it’s largely absent, replaced instead with a myriad of effects-laden squelches and rumblings. How you feel about that fact will affect how you feel about the album itself.

And, yes, Linkin Park are aware of that — they’ve been following the debate rather closely, in fact.

“I heard a lot of comments about how certain songs on the record … fans were hearing them and going, ‘Wow, those are so heavy!’ and I even caught people talking about guitar on a song like ‘Wretches and Kings,’ for example, and somebody else would call them out, be like, ‘Actually, I don’t even think that’s guitar. I think it’s some kind of sample or something,’ ” LP’s Mike Shinoda told MTV News. “We’ve been getting a lot of questions on that. Our approach on that stuff has been really something different for us. We didn’t just plug the PRS [guitar] into the Mesa amp; it was like, we played these guitars through all these different effects, and we put them in the computer and we sampled them and played them like you would make a hip-hop song.”

And those new sonic ideas — while alienating to some — were also the key building blocks to A Thousand Suns. Linkin Park knew they were taking a risk, but in the end, it was worth it. After all, they’ve walked away with perhaps the first major-label rock record in recent memory that doesn’t sound like a major-label thing. Or really, a rock record, for that matter.

“Loosening that process up really enabled us to make some sounds that felt really fresh to us,” Shinoda said. “And [it] made the songs better.”

What do you think of Linkin Park’s new sound? Let us know in the comments!