Linkin Park is an American rock band from Agoura Hills, California. Formed in 1996, the band rose to international fame with their debut album, Hybrid Theory, which was certified Diamond by the RIAA in 2005 and multi-platinum in several other countries. Its following studio album, Meteora, continued the band's success, topping the Billboard 200 album chart in 2003, and was followed by extensive touring and charity work around the world. In 2003, MTV2 named Linkin Park the sixth greatest band of the music video era and the third best of the new millennium behind Oasis and Coldplay.
Having adapted the nu metal and rap metal genres to a radio-friendly yet densely layered style in Hybrid Theory and Meteora, the band explored other genres in their next studio album, Minutes to Midnight, which was released in 2007. The album topped the Billboard charts and had the third best debut week of any album that year. The band has collaborated with several other artists, most notably with rapper Jay-Z in their mashup EP Collision Course, and many others included on Reanimation. The band's most recent work, the concept album A Thousand Suns, was released on September 8, 2010. Linkin Park has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and has won two Grammy Awards.
Both Hybrid Theory and Meteora combine the alternative metal, nu metal, and rap rock sound with influences and elements from hip-hop, alternative rock, and electronica, utilizing programming and synthesizers. William Ruhlmann from Allmusic regarded it as "a Johnny-come-lately to an already overdone musical style," whereas Rolling Stone described their song "Breaking the Habit" as "risky, beautiful art". Linkin Park has cited Hed PE as one of their biggest influences.
In Minutes to Midnight the band experimented with their established sound and drew influences from a wider and more varied range of genres and styles, a process Los Angeles Times compares to a stage in U2's work. In it, only two of the songs feature rapping, and the majority of the album can be considered alternative rock. NME magazine's Dan Silver criticized the band's approach, calling it the "sound of a band trying and failing to forge a new identity", and referring to the song "Hands Held High", a song about terrorist attacks and war, as "far and away the funniest thing you will hear all year".
The vocal interplay between Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda plays as a major part within Linkin Park's music, with Bennington being the lead vocalist and Shinoda as the rapping vocalist. On Linkin Park's third album, Minutes to Midnight, Shinoda sings lead vocals on "In Between", "Hands Held High", and on the B-side "No Roads Left". In The Catalyst, the first single from the band's fourth album, A Thousand Suns, both Shinoda and Bennington sing. On the most of tracks off the record, the band notably used electronic drumbeats along with outro drumbeats. The album has been regarded as a turning point in the band's musical career by notable critics. James Montgomery, of MTV compared the record to Radiohead's Kid A, while Jordy Kasko of Review, Rinse, Repeat likened the album to both Kid A and Pink Floyd's landmark album The Dark Side of the Moon. Shinoda stated that he and the other band members were deeply influenced by Chuck D and Public Enemy, further elucidating "Public Enemy were very three-dimensional with their records because although they seemed political, there was a whole lot of other stuff going on in there too. It made me think how three-dimensional I wanted our record to be without imitating them of course, and show where we were at creatively". The record further features a "Political Element" consisting notable speeches by American political figures