The Heaviest: 10 Linkin Park Songs Beloved By Hardcore Fans

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Linkin Park is responsible for introducing metal to a new generation.

Even though nu-metal may have been intimidating for casual rock fans, most could sing along to tracks like “In the End” and “One Step Closer.” 

But if you’re looking at just Linkin Park’s hits, you’re missing the big picture.

Throughout Linkin Park’s history, they got extremely heavy, from their nu-metal days to the thoughtful kind of art-alt they were putting out toward the end of their run.

Songs like “Numb” might be a good place to start, but these songs show the band’s teeth a bit more.

For the casual fan or newcomer, this is what Linkin Park sounds like at their heaviest.

Linkin Park is dropping the 20th-anniversary edition of Meteora soon. You can pre-order the Meteora 20th anniversary box set here, It will be released on April 7th.

A Place For My Head

Linkin Park hit the ground running when they released Hybrid Theory.

Although songs like “In the End” and “Crawling” got the record to Diamond status, “A Place For My Head” got them respect of nu-metal fans. While not as heavy as Korn or Deftones, the riff is crushing played on Brad Delson’s detuned guitar. When the whole band crashes out in the breakdown, Chester Bennington gives one of his best screams, yelling at his detractors to go away.

Even though he might be talking to the voices in his own head, the band coming in behind him is a better boost of adrenaline than any prescription. Outside of their hits, Linkin Park was playing like they had everything to prove. 

By Myself

When looking through Hybrid Theory’s track listing, some of the biggest songs come at the start of the album.

Even though “One Step Closer” may have been heavy to kick things off, “By Myself” opens up the second half with bang. LP always had a futuristic vibe to their sound, and Delson’s guitar feedback sounds like a robot malfunctioning combined with Bennington’s shrieks. While the original chorus works well, the beauty is in the details, as Mike Shinoda sings about his loneliness with only a soft piano pad behind him.

These sections should be part of two separate songs, but putting them both together was an act of musical genius. By giving us the light and the dark, this is the perfect showcase for someone boiling with rage.

Don’t Stay

The year is 2003.

After seeing Linkin Park on MTV, you decide to pick up a copy of Meteora. And after the sound of shattering glass comes “Don’t Stay” to change your world.

Although LP were known as a heavy band before, the 7-string guitar on this track was something different. As opposed to the digital sounds of their debut, the guitar tone is something right out of Korn’s playbook. While the band is still feeding off their anger, this song points the finger at everyone in their lives that needs to leave them alone.

Hybrid Theory might have made them superstars, but Linkin Park wasn’t going to go pop so easily.  

Hit the Floor

A good half of Linkin Park’s songs are directed inward. Although “Breaking the Habit” and “Numb” were introspective highlights on Meteora, “Hit the Floor” is one song where they get aggro from start to finish.

Even in the softer moments, Delson’s guitar sounds like it’s covered in mud before layers of distortion come in. Although you can sing along to most of the band’s pop hits, the main hook of this song is the screaming vocals from Bennington.

With every scream, the listener is pulled back down to the floor. This is also the heaviest production from Joe Hahn on the record, as the beats stutter to the end before you have time to know what hit you.   

Given Up

Minutes to Midnight marked a pretty significant shift for Linkin Park. That said, “Given Up” started the album off on a ferocious note.

After a chunky guitar riff, Bennington comes into the chorus with all guns blazing. After laying into himself in the chorus, the heaviest moment on the record comes in the breakdown. With a riff that could have been written by Slayer, Delson delivers walls of guitar before Bennington gives us a scream for the ages. Spanning 17 seconds, Bennington’s superhuman endurance on this note is one of the greatest moments in metal history.

This is also the bluntest set of lyrics on the record, as Bennington talks about how lost he feels and wanting to throw everything away. It’s easy to run from your problems, but Bennington is trying to outrun himself. 

Wretches and Kings

If metalheads thought Minutes to Midnight was too much to stomach, they were livid during A Thousand Suns.

Although the album suffered from strange interludes, “Wretches and Kings” is a perfect blend of electronica and metal. Since the band was trying to capture the sound of Armageddon, Shinoda is the rebel on the street as he calls out the government leaders who led to nuclear weapons. Though typical songs thrive on great guitar solos, the best solo on the record comes from Joe Hahn.

While incorporating a speech from Mario Savio, Hahn’s effects are the sound of nuclear plants crashing down and leaving civilization on its knees. No guitars might have been a metal turn-off, but Linkin Park wasn’t trying to repeat the formula. After conquering nu metal, they didn’t even need guitars to sound heavy anymore. 

Lies Greed Misery

Most of Living Things was a soft reboot for the classic Linkin Park sound.

“Lies Greed Misery” helps dial in the electronic elements that got people onboard on Hybrid Theory. After sticking to DAWs on the last record, this song is a mix of organic and artificial instruments. By chopping up bits of audio from guitars and synths, the band creates a stuttering rhythm that keeps the listener on their toes. The song goes in a surprisingly heavy direction, Bennington screaming the chorus before the rest of the band crashes out on the final chorus.

Even though this track is incredibly short, it never wears out its welcome. The band comes in, delivers the goods, and gets out before you know what hit you.


Two words: Rob Bourdon.

Bourdon didn’t often get a chance to show off his chops in earlier material. But “Victimized” is one of his greatest performances in just under two minutes. Linkin Park always likes to stretch their creative muscles, and this is the closest they’ve come to making a hardcore punk song. While “War” off of The Hunting Party may have been more to the point, Bourdon’s performance is the star of the show.

Every drum fill is sharp as hell, while also giving us the closest thing to a blast beat that Linkin Park ever got. Bennington matches Bourdon’s intensity here, as he barks out the lyrics like he’s fronting American Nightmare. Despite Living Things being a bit of a refresher course, the band wasn’t afraid to get heavy when they wanted to.

Keys to the Kingdom

Mike Shinoda had mentioned rock losing its balls in the 2010s, and The Hunting Party wanted to bring those balls back.

While every Linkin Park album has a great flow, “Keys to the Kingdom” is one of the best openers they’ve ever made, as Bennington roars to life before the band goes for broke on the verses.

Compared to earlier Linkin Park projects, this song is a showcase for Delson’s guitar skills, getting a little flashy here and there and even outshining some guest guitarists on the record like Tom Morello. For anyone who got on board with Hybrid Theory, this is the next step if you’re in the market for something heavier.  


Linkin Park wasn’t going to bring metal back by themselves.

In addition to their own bangers, Daron Malakian guested on “Rebellion” and gave LP their own System of a Down song. While Bennington and Shinoda both sing on it, the fingerprints of System are everywhere, from the detuned guitars to the weird rhythm of the riff stomping across your speakers.

Despite having a different tone of voice, Bennington’s chorus wouldn’t feel out of place being sung by Serj Tankian. And if System of a Down isn’t going to be putting out albums for a bit, this is the closest to the days of Toxicity that listeners are going to get. 

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