In March 2011, a gem appeared on eBay under the title of "5-7-2000 Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park - Unmastered". While the staff originally dismissed it as a fake (because who would put a copy of this up over a decade after the original had come out?), LPL member ---Woco21--- purchased the CD and came to us with the audio of it so we could check it out. While LPLive staff declined to bid on it as the seller would not verify with us that it was legit, we definitely missed out on this one!
It turns out that the CD was very legit and it contained not only a rough mix of Hybrid Theory, but different versions of the songs. We wouldn't go so far as to call them demos, but they definitely are pre-final versions of the tracks that ended up on Hybrid Theory. Another interesting thing is the tracklisting was in a different order, with 'Now I See' (the 'With You' demo name) being after 'Papercut', 'Plaster' (the 'One Step Closer' demo) was fourth and 'A Place For My Head' and 'Forgotten' closed out the CD instead of 'Cure For The Itch' and 'Pushing Me Away'. Finally, even though there is a typo in the tracklisting for 'Pushing Me Away', we learned that the original name for 'Cure For The Itch' was likely 'The Cure For Mr. Hahn's Itch'.
There's noticeable differences in every single one of these tracks since they are unmastered (aka mixed totally differently) from scratching to samples, etc.
Going track-by-track there are some really big things in songs that stick out... 'Papercut' has scratching that extends into the bridge, 'Points Of Authority' has the intro sample that sounds like it's a demo (is this yet another version of the song?) and 'Crawling' follows right along with the same possibility. The intro of 'By Myself' has scratching by Joe whereas the final version on Hybrid Theory has it missing, the intro of 'Cure For The Itch' is totally different, and the list goes on and on.
Everything is mixed totally differently in these versions of the song - but some things such as the 'Crawling' vocals and the drums coming in before the bridge on 'By Myself' lead us to believe that these are pre-finalized versions of at least a few songs, if not all, on Hybrid Theory. Not only are tracks mixed differently but there are parts totally different than those on the album.
Astat's response in the release thread is worthy of mentioning... "The guitar before the second chorus of Crawling is different, there's scratching/vocal samples in the intro and guitar at the end of the bridge of By Myself that isn't present on the album, one of the guitar harmonics in Now I See is a different note than on the final version, the Crawling chorus vocals aren't doubled like they are on the album and some of the background sound effects are different/missing, there are no strings in In the End..."
That's not bad for a find ten years down the road! We'd like to thank ---Woco 21--- for the release and to everyone else who had a hand in it!
You can find the original forum thread for the release here.