Linkin Park Hybrid Theory

Nu-metal finally scores a point with Linkin Park's debut. Within about a minute of opener "Papercut," I was impressed with the way this band mixes heavy groove metal with hip-hop styling. When vocalist Chester Benningon busts out with his emotional singing (not screaming) in the chorus, you know it's something special. Some tracks, like "With You," the hauntingly melodic "Crawling" and especially the stellar "In the End," are so intense that they give me goose bumps and could probably reduce one to tears if one is in a fragile mood. The lyrics are good, all dealing with feeling paranoid, insecure, being alone and the other emo-core usual. Man, layer that over DJs spinning away and heavy melodic metal and it is really effective. It's like when the first Korn album came out, before this all got out of control, and you just had to admit there was some serious power held within the grooves. This CD is for those who realise how stupid 99.9 percent of the nu-metal scene is, but are still seeking out some intense modern tunes. It's almost embarrassing to admit, but this is a keeper. (Warner)