Linkin Park
Hybrid Theory EP


3.5
great

Review

by Sam Knight USER (28 Reviews)
October 15th, 2008 | 31 replies | 16,529 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A strong EP, defining Linkin Park's sound and energy.

Linkin Park is:

Chester Bennington – Lead Vocals
Mike Shinoda – MC
Rob Bourdon – Drums
David “Phoenix” Pharrell – Bass
Brad Delson – Guitars
Joe Hahn – DJ/Turntablist

How far would we go to impress everyone? Perhaps buy flowers for your girlfriend, only to find out she’s not into guys. Or maybe build a rocking chair for your grandfather, only to find out he died last week. What was all your effort for in the first place? That, I ask myself every night on why I got into Linkin Park at all. While their music seems 2-dimensional, almost to the point of irritation, we still are drawn into a rollercoaster of melodramatic lyrics, underground hip-hop beats and heavy guitar riffs. Back before the strong release of their debut album, “Hybrid Theory”, Linkin Park hid in the shadows under the alias of the same name. Back before there was almost crucial success, glittering fame and front-cover worthy status, they were the underground sounds of Hybrid Theory EP.

I remember a friend recommended this album to me, but I rejected it politely. West Coast hip-hop was very popular in the days, and all Hybrid Theory did to the situation was further prove that Limp Bizkit still had a kicking chance of survival in the industry. At least that was what I thought, until I managed to get my hands on a copy of the CD. What surprised me even more, I later found out only 1000 copies had been made in the world, and for me to possess such an item I couldn’t help but like it. Unfortunately, I did not go that far, but certain moments on the album really caught my attention. Firstly, the combination of rap and rock was still calming down after the days of Rage Against The Machine. Mike Shinoda, a seemingly talented rapper from California, managed to have his share of success alongside younger lead vocalist Chester Bennington.

Only consisting of six tracks and two bonus features, the hip-hop influence of Hybrid Theory balanced out rock with little to no effort. Three of these hip-hop tracks are “Technique”, “High Voltage” and “Step Up”. While sounding very amateur for the time it was made, the lyrics (apart from thoughts of suicide and emotional feelings) really did impress me. “High Voltage” sounded like something straight out of an 8 Mile freestyle, with Shinoda delivering his best performance to date. The beat is less impressive than that of some of the older hip-hop workings, preferably “Dedicated”, but keeps the flow all the more interesting. The chorus is built of a vocoder voice of Shinoda repeating the rhythmic and catchy “Its High Voltage/You can’t shake the shock, because nobody wants it to stop, check it out”. A definite must listen, although I cannot guarantee all will be drawn into Mike’s first-time almost tiresome and mellow rapping. On that note, the remix version is worth listening to. Mike adds lot more hype to his flow.

“Technique” is a short but sweet scratch session from the groups background DJ, Joe Hahn. The beat consists of ambient floating violins and an old-skool beat to accompany it. “Step Up”, a similar track to “High Voltage”, further showcases Shinoda’s rapping talent. He speaks of there being a time when rock and hip-hop could collaborate without being stomped by the media, but since then the whole genre would later lose its touch, in which he boldly states “You wanna be an MC, you gotta study the skill”. The production work is not exactly your morning lemon. While Rob Bourdon presents a much more detailed and clean drum roll than before, the guitars that introduce the song are slow, and doesn’t fit the tempo of the track at all. However, the piano theme that plays during Mike’s verses makes up for it. Apart from the half of the album that throws out hip-hop beats and constipated scratches, it has its fair share of rock as well.

Chester Bennington has incredible talent. His vocals (while not screaming guts and aggravation) are calming, and almost in balance. “And One” is a song that shows his vocal work. While it feels dated and out-of-tune, it defines their style that would eventually become Linkin Park. “Carousel” features both vocalists presenting a much more edgier approach to their music. The intro consists of a middle-eastern flute and chant, before bursting into the diabolical MC’s clever rhyme pattern. Bennington does the chorus and bridge, but all to little interest.

The last track, and a personal favorite of mine, is “Part Of Me” (which would later become a piece taken from “Figure.09”). The whole band plays a role this time, seeing as how almost the latter of the EP only consists of the two front men. The lyrics tell stories of failure in hope, before Mike ironically bursts out in the hook “Cut myself free! Willingly! Stop just what’s killing me!”, strangely giving the command of someone to grab a knife and slit their wrists. Or at least how he defines it. The chorus is sung by Bennington as usual, and changes tone into a rough example of Brian Johnson. The song really breaks out of mediocrity once the 10-minute silence mark is reached of this 12-minute piece, breaking into a Session-styled drum loop, including ambient flutes filling the track with a saddening atmosphere. A definite high-point of Hybrid Theory.

Hybrid Theory EP is Linkin Park’s finest work, before they broke out into the mainstream scene. Their music could be appreciated and related to, even though at times felt repetitive and misheard. Any fan would pick up this now for a reasonably good price on eBay, and is worth the buy. While they never really hit their stride until the actual “Hybrid Theory” album was released, the EP did more than just build hype, but also defined their sound.

Recommended tracks:
“High Voltage”
“Step Up”
“And One”



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Spamue1G
October 15th 2008


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pretty good review, lots of detail about the voice, which is after all LPs main attraction. However, now that I look back at the lyrics, they really aren't very good in parts, and though I have to agree that Shinoda does well in many ways, ultimately, his strengths weren't realised until Fort Minor. I like Chester's voice on this, it almost reaches up to the heights (though it wasn't AMAZING, still) it reached on Meteora (and is much less whiny/pretentious than on HT and MTM).
Surprised there wasn't more about the guitars or drums, but I run riot talking about those kind of things, so that's no surprise. I'll vote pos.

BallsToTheWall
October 15th 2008


44300 Comments


I never liked High Voltage and i'm sure I've ehard a few of these as well but not certain. I'm just pissed that My December was never posted on an album. Nice review.

Digging: Tiamat - Clouds

McP3000
October 15th 2008


3941 Comments


Part of Me is the only song on here ive heard and its probably my favorite LP song next to pushing me away

JumpTheF**kUp
October 15th 2008


2710 Comments


remember when linkin park used to be relevant

joshuatree
Emeritus
October 15th 2008


3742 Comments


i used to really love linkin park in 5th grade

Spamue1G
October 15th 2008


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm growing out of them now. I don't dislike them, but I can see their problems much more clearly than before.

botb
October 15th 2008


9673 Comments


high voltage wins forever.

Phantom
October 15th 2008


8930 Comments


No sign of My December on any release, boo.
Meh, I've kinda grown away from LP anyway, nevermind.

handoman
October 15th 2008


2386 Comments


I liked them in third grade. This was the only thing I ever had from them, tho.

Wizard
October 15th 2008


19389 Comments


remember when linkin park used to be relevant

When?

This band should have been aborted before they were conceived.


Digging: Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra - The Key to the Gates of the Apocalypse

Bleak123
October 15th 2008


1902 Comments


Couldn't agree more.

JumpTheF**kUp
October 15th 2008


2710 Comments


Are you serious, Linkin Park were awesome back in Grade 6 when I was hella angsty at my parents for not letting me stay up past 10pm.

BallsToTheWall
October 15th 2008


44300 Comments


^^ 10 o clock? Lucky you, mine was 8:00 on the dot.

Wizard
October 15th 2008


19389 Comments


Are you serious, Linkin Park were awesome back in Grade 6 when I was hella angsty at my parents for not letting me stay up past 10pm.

Hahahahah music opinions don't count when your in grade 6. Isn't it past your bed time? jk

handoman
October 15th 2008


2386 Comments


You guys are old. I was like in 2nd or third grade when Hybrid Theory came out.

Wizard
October 15th 2008


19389 Comments


Grade 12.

JumpTheF**kUp
October 15th 2008


2710 Comments


I was in fifth.

Wizard
October 15th 2008


19389 Comments


I'm too old!

BallsToTheWall
October 15th 2008


44300 Comments


You were in 12th grade in 2000 wizard? Damn, I was assuming you were around the general consensus on sputnik. I have about six more months of being a teen, I just want to get it over frankly.

Wizard
October 15th 2008


19389 Comments


Hahahahahaha damn, my age is out now. I used to listen to Hybrid Theory when music was starting to take over my life. I look back on that and go, "What the fuck was I thinking". I ended up giving that album to my sister and have been a converted man ever since.



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