Linkin Park A Thousand Suns (Warner Brothers) Longtime fans of Linkin Park's aggressive, riff-ridden rap-metal hybrid are in for a shock on the group's fourth album, A Thousand Suns. Amid the 15 songs are the best soundscapes that Pro-Tools can buy, along with poignant ballads, stabs at the dance floor and a folky acoustic throwaway. Largely gone are Chester Bennington's piercing shrieks and save for two tracks, Mike Shinoda's distinct rapping. If their last Rick Rubin-produced effort was the sound of a band proving they're a real rock act, this is the sound of a group who have sold millions and, gasp, actually have something they want to say. Yes, this is the group's attempt at a thematic masterpiece but they fall far short. In a vague, apocalyptic world filled with oppressed citizens, the band are attempting to combat collective apathy, even though the deepest the lyrics get are 'we're broken people living under a loaded gun'. Still, the 60s era speeches the group have dug up sound meaningful under their mournful electronics and shows they have much to offer beyond their proven rap-metal crunch. However, if the group decide to go back to basics next time out, don't be surprised.