The Source: Nu-Metal: Love to HATE IT!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Nu-Metal: Love to HATE IT!!!

1998-2003 is a short time period within the expanding history of heavy metal music and while this era certainly marks a peak in the monetary success of professional musicians, it will forever be remembered in the metal world as the “Nu-Metal Era”

Despite growing up and discovering my favorite music during these years I have come to terms with the fact that Nu-Metal is going to be the butt of all jokes for a long time! Even I, the late 90s metal tween that I was, can admit that there was a lot to laugh at in this brief five year surge.

Why Nu-Metal is considered a fucking joke:

                        -Hard Rock mixed with rap
---Okay it was cool when Aerosmith did it with Run DMC in 1986 and YES, Anthrax and Public Enemy owned it in 1991 but by the year 2000 you couldn’t have a famous rock band without a rapper in it (preferably a white rapper who shames the very culture and purpose of traditional rap/hip-hop).

                        -Whiney, Whiney, Americans
---So one potential upside to this era would be the emergence of hundreds of AMERICAN Metal Bands! However, this perk was depleted to irrelevance because the lyrical themes within this genre are so damn whiney! The lead singers in the nu-metal era insist on complaining about life and their problems whether it is politics, society, culture, daddy issues or some other blatant hyperbole. Don’t get me wrong, White Male Americans can have some problems in life (I can probably count them on 1 hand) but at some point it’s better to just chill out and stop screaming on stage about your insecurities.

---In the late 90s there were two very distinct trends in musical fashion and aesthetic projection.
1)      The Goth: A varied re-emergence of the ‘80s European Goth scene mixed with the trashy facades influenced by reggae and grunge. Basically, grow dreadlocks, wear black everything, and try to look really eccentric and/or emotionally diverse.
      ***Wearing makeup and/or grotesque masks is a plus

2)      The Gangsta: Poser to the max!!! These are the Fred Durst and Jacoby Shaddix type idiots. Surface level lyrics with an awful screaming rap-flow and rarely any real culture or relevant history to support the outcries.

We could certainly extend this list beyond reason and critique the details of the genre and really put it to shame but I think most of us remember this poor era far too well. The rest of this article proves that I grew up in the 90s and belong to the small pathetic minority that still listens to a lot of bands form this era so be warned….you will probably NOT agree with anything I say from here on out haha.

I believe there are some undeniable facts about the Nu-Metal era that will eventually exploit the significance of the movement in the history of music.

One being the irrefutable statistical reality that metal bands were making more money in these few years than ever before. Of course, everyone will certainly jump on the “sell out” train and debase the success as a corporate rock injustice. However, in my opinion there’s nothing wrong with making money playing the music you love, especially if you can manage to stay true to yourself. 2000 was the peak of record sales in the world and aside from Britney Spears and all the boy bands this was the result of immensely popular metal music. Interesting because everyone outwardly and pretentiously ridicules Nu-Metal music but obviously someone was listening to it.

Furthermore, not every musical movement is going to be perfect or even respected for that matter, but one must appreciate every genre for its role in the progress of musical evolution. Nu-metal was a melting pot of genres and culture and it changed music forever! For better or worse is a lob-sided debate at this point but I believe someday in the future Nu-Metal will get it’s due respect. Mainly because there are a handful of bands that deserve some recognition whether you personally like them or not. These bands either propelled the era to the ultimate success that it was and/or have the keen ability to adapt to the times and still flourish in today’s metal palette.

I must admit I’m biased!!! Korn is my favorite band (yeah, yeah, laugh it up) and they have a deep influence and connection in my life. With that being said Korn has a track record that speaks for itself. They are considered the founders of Ne-Metal as the quintet certainly got the ball rolling with their self titled debut album in 1993. They re-invented MTV Music Videos and completely took over the world for a few years! They’ve sold over 40 Million albums to date and despite popular belief, they’re still very successful today! Their last record peaked at #2 on the billboard charts and right now they’re putting together a dub step album that is sure to intrigue even the most committed Korn haters! They’ve evolved their music with each and every album and remain a staple in the metal scene. With a catalog of over 150 songs, multiple platinum albums, several Grammy awards, and much more, they are sure to go down in history as legends!

Another Nu-Metal band that has stood the test of time! These guys prove that you can stay evolved and adapt to current musical culture while remaining true to yourself. Becoming a testament to ‘Art Rock’ and ‘Beautiful Metal” the Deftones

This one is easy to make fun of, I know. But the reality is that they are a rare case where ridiculous theatrics, silly masks, and over the top masculine clich├ęs are complemented by good musicianship and strong lyrical prowess. They too have evolved a bit over time and their massive success with each album combined with their unprecedented live shows they will be remembered!

Honorary Mentions:
Each of these bands deserve some respect and I could write a book about each one but you’re tired of reading my shit anyways right? These bands represent success and while some are arguably NOT Nu-Metal bands, see if there’s a few that you enjoy!

Linkin Park
System of a Down
Rage Against the Machine
Limp Bizkit
Machine Head

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