Features

Hybrid Theory: A Look Back on Linkin Park’s Debut Opus, 20 Years Later

“It starts with one”.

Those four words, accompanied by the iconic keyboard intro, make up what is arguably one of the greatest and most well-known moments in metal since the turn of the millennium. Joined by three other singles, In The End helped in making Hybrid Theory the legendary debut album we know it is today, propelling Linkin Park into the mainstream.

Upon release, some critics found their music nothing more than “mediocre rock”, or repetitions of what the likes of Korn or Papa Roach had done before, which now seems ludicrous to even fathom. Songs such as Pushing Me Away, Runaway or A Place For My Head continue to be as dynamic as ever, perfectly showcasing the contrast between Mike Shinoda’s rapping vocals, and Chester Bennington’s now iconic, emotion-filled screams and leads. The blend between the nu-metal instrumentals of the late ‘90s, courtesy of guitarist Brad Delson, bassist Dave Farrell, and drummer Rob Bourdon, and Shinoda and turntablist Joe Hahn’s electronic elements would revitalise and reinvent a subgenre. The quintet would continue perfecting that formula on their follow-up, Meteora, further solidifying their ascend to worldwide popularity. What’s more, the angst-filled lyrics that span this record, touching on themes such as substance abuse or the divorce of Bennington’s parents, have enabled generations upon generations of teenagers to find solace in the words of this landmark album. One need only skim through the YouTube comments on any one of those 12 songs to understand just how many souls have been, and continue to be, touched by the Californian group.

In the 20 years that have passed since the release of Hybrid Theory, both the band and the outside world have changed a great deal. We witnessed the boom of the internet, the advent of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as the release of six more Linkin Park studio albums, culminating with 2017’s One More Light, the somewhat divisive album which proved to be a departure from the band’s signature sound, as well as the last one to feature the unrivaled Bennington before his death that same year. The bond between the remaining band members has remained just as strong, though, as they have all expressed their wish to carry on making music as Linkin Park in the future.

What cannot be underestimated, however, is the sheer impact these songs have had on music fans across the world. From even seemingly unlikely artists such as BROCKHAMPTON, to any teenage kid who first picks up the guitar to try and learn the riff to Papercut, the influence Hybrid Theory has had on the masses can’t be denied. Even the band members themselves have said in multiple interviews that this is, by far, the proudest achievement of their careers, in their opinion, and it’s not hard to understand why that is. After all, it has sold over 20 million units worldwide, and is only one out of five albums released in the 2000s to feature on the ChartMasters’ list of the Top 50 best selling albums of all time. Regardless of who you ask and what their opinion of the band is, that has to be impressive.

All we can say, In The End, is this: RIP Chester Bennington, and thank you, Linkin Park. We can’t speak for what the future holds, but what is sure is that Hybrid Theory will continue to impress and hook in fans all over the world for years to come.


Celebrating twenty years since the release of the influential and impactful record, Linkin Park‘s Hybrid Theory: 20th Anniversary Edition is out now via Warner Records, available to purchase in various formats HERE.

The Super Deluxe Box contains five CDs – the original Hybrid Theory, a double-platinum accompanying remix record ReanimationB-Side Rarities with twelve previously-released tracks from the album era, LPU Rarities with eighteen tracks only circulated through the Linkin Park Underground (LPU) fan club, and Forgotten Demos with twelve unreleased tracks, including She Couldn’t which you can check out below. 

Additionally, the Super Deluxe Box includes three DVDs – a direct replica of the original Frat Party At The Pankake Festival, Projekt Revolution 2002 which captures one hour of unseen live footage from Las Vegas and San Diego (plus the 45-minute sequel The Sequel To The Worst Name We’ve Ever Come Up With, comprised of previously unseen backstage footage and interviews). On top of that there’s a live DVD with full concerts from The Fillmore 2001 in San Francisco and Rock AM Ring 2001 in Germany. The package also includes three vinyl LPs – the original Hybrid TheoryReanimation and the Hybrid Theory EP (available for the first time on vinyl), featuring six tracks with etching on side two. In addition to the original street team two-track Cassette, the Super Deluxe Box also includes an eighty-page illustrated book, a replica tour laminate and an 18 x 24 poster of late vocalist Chester Bennington. The band’s Mike ShinodaJoe Hahn, and original Hybrid Theory art director/reissue art director Frank Maddocks have supplied three lithographs of new art to the Super Deluxe Box.

The Hybrid Theory Vinyl Box Set comprises of the original Hybrid TheoryReanimation and the B-Side Rarities. This will be the only format to include a vinyl of B-Side Rarities

Finally, the Deluxe CD includes the original Hybrid Theory and B-Side Rarities with a sixteen-page booklet. 

Florin Petrut
Hi, I'm Florin! I'm a 20-year-old Journalism student from Cluj, Romania. Some of my greatest passions are listening to music and writing about it, so I invite you to keep up to date with my latest contributions to Bring the Noise UK!