CD reviews: Linkin Park 5.0, Robin Nievera

Posted at 08/12/12 3:54 PM

Robin Nievera, "Overwait"

Robin Nievera, the eldest son of Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez, says he wants OPM to grow and he makes the statement stick in “Overwait,” his debut album of all-original compositions.

Right at the opening track entitled “In 3’s,” Nievera expounds on his mission of creating fresh music by channeling the spirit of John Mayer’s blues trio into pop-rock territory.

In “Beautiful”, he tints his bluesy yearnings in undulating trip-hop, while “Sound Tripping” starts in a grungy mood then shimmies into a soulful swing. “Sing Along” finds Nievera and company at the cusp of a full-on rocker. The “pop” lies in the infectious hooks the young Nievera coaxes from his guitar and the “rock” issues from the crack backbeat dished out by his backing band of close associates.

Collectively, the songs on “Overwait” take a different road than the one taken by his parents. Nievera produced the recent one-off reunion EP of his parents and if it’s any indication, he has the knack of producing good music for other people too.

For instance, “Smile”, which appears on both albums, is an R&B crooner on “Reunion” and a heartwarming ballad on “Overwait”. He can turn out tasty slices from the same bacon.

Now that the long wait is over, Robin Nievera is ready to send out his messages of love for original Pinoy music.

Linkin Park, "Living Things"

Rap-metal once slipped into the same hellhole where emo and hair metal now await their return to former glory.

Armed with technology, loud guitars and compelling revision of electronica, Linkin Park rescues rap-metal and shoves it back into the limelight, pumped-up this time by laser guided melodies and give-and-take emo shout-outs. Call it alt.metal or nü-metal, their songs hark back to the golden years of Limp Bizkit and Korn, with a bellicose twist.

After releasing science fiction themed album titles (“A Thousand Suns”, “Hybrid Theory”), the band’s new “Living Things” probably hopes to bring the neo rap rockers back on the ground.

Still, the uninitiated is best forewarned: Linkin Park version 5.0 continues to forge a dynamic alternative to doom-obsessed heavy metal as well as to the diarrhea of sugary pop idols.

As always, the mansion of sound Linkin Park builds has many rooms. A lot of them sport new wallpaper but a few display the progressive mindset that helped salvage rap-rock from the dustbin. “Burn It Down” smolders with the emotional tug of “What I’ve Done.” “Lies Greed Misery” strikes with the same agitation as the band’s mash-up with Jay-Z in “Collision Course.”

Depeche Mode-style electro shows up in “Victimized” while “Roads Untraveled” may be laying the groundwork for a new breed of panzer metal.

In “Living Things,” Linkin Park refines its fusion of unbridled angst and sonic rage.

In the studio

Ely Buendia, Hilera and former The Jerks guitar man Nitoy Adriano team up in Oktaves for an unusual mash-up of influences before punk happened.

Based on a performance at a bistro, one can hear the twang of country and the rhythm and melodies of prime folk-rock, with Buendia sometimes dueling with Adriano to add strokes of psychedelia and garage rock to the cacophony of sounds.

The one-off band is reportedly in the studio working on its formal debut, with Robert Javier supposedly at the helm, for a touch perhaps of new wave and grunge.