If you're looking for a nu-metal band that mixes electronica, hip-hop, and heavy alternative rock, then you're looking for Linkin Park. They are totally original, creating a rough, dark sound, peppered with turntable effects, and their most noticeable elements blend the two vocalists; one rapping, the other laying down melodies, with knee-deep electronic flourishes.
The band began in 1996, as Xero, when Mike Shinoda, the MC, and Brad Delson recorded their first material in Shinoda's bedroom. From there, the band came together, Shinoda met Hahn (the DJ) while he was studying illustration at Art Centre College in Pasadena. Delson also recruited his UCLA roommate was Phoenix, the bassist (who left after college and returned a year later). Then, finally, lead singer Chester Bennington joined. And thus, Linkin Park was formed. When Bennington joined, they changed the band name to Hybrid Theory, but the name Linkin Park was soon to follow.
Their first disc out, the Hybrid Theory EP is notoriously rare (produced independently by Joe Hahn) and usually sells for over $200, but the Linkin Park Underground fan-club are, at the time of writing, offering a re-release version of it as part of their subscription. They also have a 'rare and live' disc, which contains remixes and pre-name-change songs.
Band members Mr Hahn, Mike Shinoda, and Static X guitarist Wayne Static were featured by the X-ecutioners on the killer song 'It's Going Down'. Although guitarist Brad Delson didn't play anything in the song, he did make a cameo in the video, as one of the head banging members of the audience. The X-ecutioners did the turn-tabling, and LP members the rap and some table turning.
Band member Chester Bennington worked with KoRn's Jonathan Davis to make the song 'System', which appears on the soundtrack to the horror film Queen of the Damned. 'System' can only be classified as industrial metal. Bennington's vocals are a lot more akin to the stuff he did while the band went as Hybrid Theory, a rougher, more deep-throated roar, laced with barbed wire. This song is unique as belonging to Linkin Park, as it is totally free of any hip-hop influences.
Their style has changed almost imperceptibly from their earlier material; Chester has stopped siging in the lower half of his range, and has become generally smoother. Shinoda's rapping has slowed down, and his lyrics centre around what the rest of the band is saying, instead of, as in 'Step Up', where he hypes being a MC, and the pure hip-hop songs on Hybrid Theory are lacking.
Linkin Park's lyrics generally centre around their or someone else's various emotional issues: addiction, as in 'Carousel', which incorporates some pretty cool Islamic-type prayer calling; depression, as in 'Crawling'; and the contemporary music cliché-failed relationships, as in 'With You, Pushing Me Away'. Rarely, usually on the pure hip-hop songs, Shinoda makes just hip-hop, lacking the angst.
The Band Members
- Chester Bennington (vocals)
- Brad Delson (guitar)
- Mike Shinoda (vocals, CD cover illustrator)
- Joe Hahn (turntables, keyboards)
- Rob Bourdon (drums)
- Phoenix Farrell (bass)
- 'In the End'
- 'One Step Closer'
- 'Papercut' (released in the UK only)
Prominent Album Tracks
Hybrid Theory EP
- 'High Voltage' (remix)
- 'And One'
Hybrid Theory Album
- 'Points of Authority'
- 'A Place for my Head'
Queen of the Damned Soundtrack