May 3, 2010

In Retrospect: Nu-Metal

Nu-Metal, a valid genre of hard-rock, or an excuse for roid-rage beefy-dudes to smash some heads in the pit? Here are 5 bands that aren't as bad as I thought they were, and five that were worse.


I'll fully admit before I launch into this, that at one point in my life, I liked all of these bands. Like, I was totally into it, even the bands in my "bad" column. And when I say bands that aren't "as bad as I thought they were" I mean in retrospect. So really, this is just me revisiting the judgments I made on these bands in high-school and college. Basically, my viewpoint went from: middle school = all of these bands rule, to college = all of these bands suck. I probably won't listen to most of these bands again, although I do sneak peeks at System of a Down and Static-X every once and awhile. Anyways, onto the bands, starting with the good.

Bands that were better than I thought


I never realized until now how much of Korn's sound was hip-hop influenced. From their danceable drum-beats to sparse and freaky guitar parts, they really had a unique sound compared to most of the other bands out at the time. I always loved Fieldy's bass playing too, it completely lacked any tone or discernable pitch, and was purely there for rhythmic variety. Many tried to copy him and all of them failed. Also, can I get a hallelujah for METAL SCATTING?

System of a Down

I was huge into System of a Down all the way until they released the double album Mezmerize/Hypnotize. At that point I just couldn't take their turn into silly unfocused lyrics anymore. Also, I think they basically stopped recording at that point while singer Serj Tankian recorded his own stuff. I never really stopped liking this band, so I don't know if I should really put them on this list. I did try listening to Toxicity on my last ride home from Champaign but got so sick of it I didn't finish. The above song ("Chop Suey") will forever be one of my favorite rock songs of all time, and I think really marked the pinnacle of their career.

Chevelle was almost going to make the bad column and then I watched the video above and realized that they really just got screwed over by getting lumped in with the rest of the bands on the list. They didn't sound anything like the other groups, and really sounded more like a grunge-era holdover mixed with some post-punk. I could actually listen to this again. Along with Bush, I love Bush!


Unforunately I can't embed the video I wanted to, because Warner Brothers doesn't understand that MUSIC VIDEO EMBEDDING IS FREE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THEIR BANDS. Seriously. Wayne Static had awesome vocals, and their old Japanese guitarist was totally sweet. That's enough to go on.

I really struggled with this band. But in the end, musically, they were pretty inventive and talented (within the aesthetics of their genre). They had an excellent main drummer, a couple extra drummers, and some cool guitar parts. They recognized that rhythm is the most important part of nu-metal (along with hair-gel) and amplified it. That's why they eventually had a guy who hit an iron keg with a baseball bat (cool!). The only thing holding them back was their vocals and those dumb masks, which were dumb enough for them to make the next list as well.

Bands that were just as bad, if not worse than I remember


Seriously, so dumb.

Once again, record labels don't understand the concept of free advertising so I can't give the official video, but here's the song. It starts off so cool! Then it gets so dumb! His voice is grating, his look was awful (why did they feel a need to have both ears pierced?)'s just bad.

I actually bought this CD, and if I remember correctly, it represents one of my last nu-metal purchases. This song is truly precious though. If only because it was clearly written for the singular reason of moshing to the screamed line "You Suck!". But mosh they did.

Spineshank is my go-to band when I talking about nu-metal. I think because their name is so ridiculous. They also failed to successfuly incorporate electronics into metal (a void in my soul finally filled by the mighty Genghis Tron). Spineshank was another band solely created to make moshing-songs, so really they were to nu-metal what Lil Jon is to rap. Also, check out the hair if you can. I wanted their hair.

Can you hear this song being sung in a workout room someplace? Because I can. This lovely song was a hard-rock mainstay, it featured "tribal" drumming to go with your "tribal" armband tattoo, mystic deep-throated lyrics, and like...some other sweet stuff that I can't put into words. Also, Godsmack's bass player held his bass WAY LOWER than anyone else on the planet. He must have needed surgery on his back at some point, because I can't imagine playing bass around your ankles all the time. Well...actually I can because I tried it, and it didn't work.


Remember this band? No? Think they look a lot like ICP? That's because they do. You know what else they share in common with ICP? Take a guess, there are lots of things.

So, I hope that didn't take too long for you. It did? Sorry. Tired of this question and answer stuff that I started in the last paragraph and kept going with, thus ruining the continuity of the whole blog post? Me too.

1 comment:

  1. This was a fantastic entry. Mostly for the Static-X part. But you knew I was going to say that.