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Linkin Park Thinking Conceptual For Next Album

Linkin Park is planning what singer Chester Bennington calls "a concept record" for its fourth album, which the group will start recording in early November and be ensconced in making by the time its

Linkin Park is planning what singer Chester Bennington calls "a concept record" for its fourth album, which the group will start recording in early November and be ensconced in making by the time its new live album, "Road to Revolution," rolls out Nov. 25.

Bennington is mum on details -- "I'm not sure I'm allowed to say what the big plan is," he notes -- but tells Billboard.com that Linkin Park "never envisioned ourselves doing a concept record, but we see an opportunity to do something really cool so we jumped on it, and we'll see how it comes out. I think it's a challenge and we'll see if we can rise to the occasion."

The singer says Linkin Park has already started writing music for the follow-up to last year's "Minutes to Midnight," which has been a different process as well. "If we're writing a song with a specific purpose you're allowed to step out of the realms of commercialism a little bit," he explains. "You don't want to dilute that purpose with something that doesn't have anything to do with it, which is really interesting."

While Linkin Park is starting the new album, Bennington will be putting the finishing touches on his first solo album, which he's been recording with producer Howard Benson and hopes to have out next spring or summer. "I'll probably be finished in the next couple months," reports Bennington, who describes the set as "a lot more straightforward rock, with a little bit of an electronic element to it, lots of keys and snyths and stuff like that. And there are a few elements where I think you'll be able to see what my influence on (Linkin Park) is."

Bennington also hopes "to do as much touring as possible" to promote the solo album but adds that he's wary of "putting myself in a situation where I can't finish the Linkin Park record because I'm supposed to be on a tour. It's a really delicate kind of balancing act I'm gonna try to pull off here."

Linkin Park's "Road to Revolution," meanwhile, is an 18-track CD/DVD package recorded at a June concert in England. Jay-Z appears on two tracks ("Jigga What/Faint" and "Numb/Encore"); the set also includes Linkin Park's current single, "Leave Out All the Rest," which has been adapted for an episode of CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" that will air on Nov. 6.