Linkin Park, ‘A Thousand Suns’ (Machine Shop/Warner Bros.)

Linkin Park’s fourth studio album (and second collaboration with producer Rick Rubin) contains plenty of aggressively arty material that might surprise fans of the megapopular rap-rock outfit: “Wretches and Kings,” for instance, chops up spoken-word sound bites in a Bomb Squad style, while “When They Come for Me” layers post-NIN dance-punk synths over a tribal drum groove. Still, the most unexpected track on the boldly conceived A Thousand Suns might be the disc’s acoustic closer, “The Messenger,” in which Chester Bennington flexes a tender camp-counselor croon.


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