Sunday, August 29, 2010

Linkin Park's "The Catalyst" Video: Kiss The Past Goodbye

Linkin Park  are probably one of the 10 biggest rock acts on the planet. I mention this mostly because: A) It's true, and B) It makes everything they've done post-Hybrid Theory (their big breakout album) all the more admirable.

They have never been afraid to push the envelope and try new things. This is easy to do if you are a band that has nothing to lose, but in LP's case, it borders on insanity. Their albums are the kinds of things labels schedule their financial quarters around. They're tent poles (or life preservers) meant to keep things from sagging too low or sinking too deep. The danger of alienating their fanbase is very real, and the results could be catastrophic.

Still, with each successive album, Linkin Park push even further into the void, and, in the process, they leave their nü-metal roots in the dust. At this point, they're barely the same band they were back in 2000, and any similarities they still share with their Hybrid past will almost certainly be erased with their upcoming A Thousand Suns, an album they've gone to great lengths to christen as a bold new direction for the group, public opinion be damned.

We finally got to see the first fruits of that reinvention with the murky, mercurial video for "The Catalyst." Directed once again by band DJ Joseph Hahn, it's an ominous, elemental thing, full of smoke and unseen flames, charred earth and rising tides. It may very well be a chilling, post-apocalyptic preview of mankind's future, or it might just be a really cool, really art-y video, the kind that big, important rock bands tend to make (and at this point, LP are most certainly both of those things). It's really up to you to decide. Though, really, it works either way.

But mostly, "The Catalyst" serves as a preview of what fans can expect on A Thousand Suns, which is basically what bassist Dave "Phoenix" Farrell told MTV News earlier this month. "There are certainly dark, trying times ahead," the band seems to be saying. "Get ready."

And to that point, it's telling that Linkin Park are barely even in the video — or, more specifically, when they are, they're shrouded in smoke or submerged in water. You can infer from that what you'd like, but I see it as the band letting fans know that they practically died to make this album, that they went through hell and high water to bring it to fruition. It may be subliminal, but it's definitely there. And it's why I admire Linkin Park as much as I do.

So if you loved Linkin Park for their rapping or their angry outbursts or even their Gundam obsession, you're probably going to be a bit disappointed with "The Catalyst," not to mention A Thousand Suns. But that's really the point, isn't it? Great bands push themselves, great bands are unafraid to fail. And, dare I say it, with both their new video and their new album, Linkin Park may very well have become a great band.

What did you think of "The Catalyst" video? Share your reviews in the comments!

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