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  • Writer's pictureEtienne Pelosoff

Linkin Park Hybrid Theory's 20th Anniversary

What in the production makes this classic nu metal record so innovative?

Today marks the 20-year anniversary of ‘Hybrid Theory’. Although it can sound far away from my Black Metal Jazz, it massively influenced me. What makes this album such a masterpiece?

It is is very rare for a band to start with such an innovative and bold album. ‘Hybrid Theory’ is much more than just a nu metal album: it is a monstrous marvel crossing various genres into a new musical dimension.

Linkin Park merges metal guitars and screams with rap vocals and hip hop arrangements, such as sample use and vinyl scratch (for instance, what you’re hearing in ‘One Step Closer’). Although this could end up messy and confusing, the drums maintain the whole structure groovy and coherent. The guitarist made a great job always keeping things simple, with power chords and eighth notes, just what it needs (and come on, we all know keeping things simple is one of the hardest things you can ask from a guitarist!).

Moreover, the use of synth creates a subtle futuristic atmosphere, such as it is the case in the ‘Crawling’ intro. This provides diverse colours for each song while maintaining a consistent overall taste.

But to me, probably the most surprising move from Linkin Park is to choose to add on top of all this a layer of sincere melancholy. This infuses a feeling of intimacy between the listener and the band.

And this is what is so brilliant with ‘Hybrid Theory’: the music is so rich, diverse and complex yet it sounds so simple, obvious and natural. The best example is ‘In the End’. Who can resist this simplistic piano melody? It is instantly touching, catchy and relatable. It sounds so trve. The dialogue between the singer (“It starts with…”) and the rapper (“One day, I don’t know why”) is brilliant, beautifully supported by this guitar melody played in harmonics (those really high notes you can hear in the background).

Thank you Linkin Park for this masterpiece. I know we are many to feel a personal connection to this band. They shook our hearts back then and they still do now. Rest in Peace, Chester Bennington and thank you for showing us the light in the dark.

What do you think of this album and its musicality? Do you have personal memories with it? Tag one person who you know loves Linkin Park!

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