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Linkin Park
Hard Rock

Considering that several million people were won over by the hard-rock-meets-hip-hop sound of Linkin Park's multi-platinum debut, Hybrid Theory -- one of the most successful rock debuts of the last decade -- it's no surprise that the Los Angeles group stick pretty close to the same recipe on their follow-up, Meteora. "Hit the Floor," replete with whiplash time changes and Chester Bennington's signature howls, is probably the disc's heaviest moment, while the speed-crazed "Breaking the Habit" concentrates on hitting that perfect beat. The fellas in Linkin Park do, however, take a few liberties with the recipe this time around, stretching out on the dusky instrumental "Sessions" and stripping away just about all the rock trappings for a straight-ahead hip-hop workout, "Nobody's Listening," which borrows the Beasties' tried-and-true flute-loop backdrop to good effect. Much like their last outing, Meteora is a breathless blast of sound: The songs are spliced together with samples and all manner of sonic effluvia, which sustains the momentum and keeps noise levels at a fever pitch. Drawing on their tested sonic formula, Linkin Park once again shoot high -- and hit the mark. David Sprague

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