In recent interviews, California's Linkin Park have proudly revealed the lack of record company interference during the making of the follow-up to 2001's 14m-selling Hybrid Theory. It's hardly surprising.
With such consumer-friendly charges, being Linkin Park's A&R man must be one of the cushiest jobs going.
There was never any danger of Meteora being a caustic art statement or a triple-CD concept album based on the writings of William Gibson. Predictably, it's Hybrid Theory redux.
The formula (rap + metal + Depeche Mode) has been magnified and perfected with quite terrifying efficiency, embellished with the occasional unexpected flourish: the manipulated string sample on Somewhere I Belong or the frisky drum'n'bass pulse of Breaking the Habit.
If anything, Meteora is too impressive. You feel as if you're witnessing the advance of Terminator 2's T1000 robot: sure, it's gleaming and powerful and flawless, but there's no blood in its veins.