Written by Eric Budash*
Nu metal is up with hair metal as one of the most hated genres in the metal community. A lot of that could be Limp Bizkit’s fault (it’s all their fault) and the mass popularity that the genre had throughout the late ’90s and early ’00s. Seeing the likes of Fred Durst on TRL with Carson Daily was enough to make any metal fan cringe. But if you’re someone between the ages of 30 to 35, you spent your teen years in this era. I was one of those people who would come home from school, turn on TRL and wait to see if Korn had beaten out N’sync in the top 10 that day. Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny the impact nu metal had on metal music as a whole. So here are 5 bands that I think stand the test of time from the nu metal era:
The band that is most credited with starting the genre can still be seen performing live to this day. The crushing and yet melodic vocals of Jonathan Davis fit perfectly to the organized chaos that is the distinctive Korn sound. Let’s not forget that beat box style. I dare you to put on “Twist” and try to sit perfectly still. You can’t. Just like the rest of the music (at least the first 4 albums), Korn has a way to get you into a groove.
I may catch some flak for this one, but like the previous entry, RATM is one of the pioneers of nu metal. Hate it all you want, but it’s true. The mix of groove on the back beat and low end, combined with Tom Morello basically turning the guitar into a turntable; and Zach De La Rocha’s vocal delivery gives you the preface of what rap metal is. They also have their strong points of view on political and worldly issues (if you’re into that kind of thing) that give the lyrics a sense of power that goes with Zach’s vocal delivery.
I almost don’t want to put this band on here….but I’m going to anyway. This band has a great way of mixing thrash, industrial and groove with vocal styling not far off of Faith No More, that put them in the nu metal category in the ’90s. This band can give you a little bit of everything but still have you wondering how they got roped into the nu metal genre.
Personally, my favorite band of this era. With the release of L.D. 50 they were thrust into the nu metal scene. Too bad for nu metal, that album would be the closest thing to that sound they would ever really create again. Later releases sounded more like what would later become metalcore. But with the grooves and riffs along with the almost machine gun delivery of some of the vocals, Mudvayne would be branded nu metal. “Dig” is still one of the most intense songs of that era.
5. Limp Bizkit!!!!! 3 dollar bill with chocolate starfish water on your significant other!!! I’m kidding. Number 5 is Deftones.
Yet another pioneer of the genre, we have Deftones. Its hard to really pin a genre on them, seeing as they combine and take influence from so many, but somebody somewhere decided it was nu metal (not me) and it stuck. Contrary to being pulled into the nu metal genre, Deftones hold true to their more alternative metal style. If you find that you’ve never heard Deftones before I’d go with Around the Fur to get a good feel of what they bring.