Nu metal

Nu metal

Nu metal (also called new metal) is a Genre of music that has origins in the mid 1990s. It typically fuses influences from Grunge, and Alternative Metal of the early 1990s with hip hop, electronic music and other genres of metal, most often Experimental metal and groove metal.

Korn was a key founder of the Genre

Genre historyEdit

The origins of nu metal can be pinpointed to the Lollapalooza music festival in the 1990s which increased the exposure of bands who performed brands of metal and metal-influenced alternative music separate from traditional genre approaches. The funk influence of Primus, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Fishbone, the hip hop/metal crossover of Rage Against the Machine, the Industrial metal of Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Ministry, and the aggressive Experimental Metal of Faith No More.

The tour featured the band Body Count, who were fronted by the rapper Ice-T. This attracted attention from the rap audience, and many record shops classified Body Count under "rap" despite Ice-T's claim that the band was supposed to be a rock group.[1]

Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain's death in 1994 would signal the beginning of the decline of alternative rock (and Grunge in particular) as the driving force in modern American rock music, paving the way for nu metal to gain ground with the public. [1] Lyrics and song structure of a style previously associated with grunge are common in nu metal songs, including those with a reputation for integrating hip hop into their sound.

Linkin Park is the best selling nu metal act with 40 million copies sold out of their first two full-lengths (Hybrid Theory and Meteora) as well as other non-traditional albums. Producer Ross Robinson was labelled by some as "The Godfather of Nu Metal" due to his producing of several notable Nu Metal albums. Nu metal bands also typically claim influence by more conventional metal acts, particularly Black Sabbath; it also has some sonic similarity with death metalTemplate:Fact as well as thrash metal bands like Metallica and Megadeth [2]. Entertainment!, the 1979 debut from British post-punk group Gang of Four has been cited as an indirect influence. The term "nu metal" was coined in the late nineties to denote the resurgence of metal in the public eye with the rise in popularity of bands such as Korn and Limp Bizkit, as well as the success of the traveling Ozzfest festival. Ozzfest, unlike Lollapalooza, provided a venue solely for the metal scene. Ozzfest demonstrated that a sizable audience existed for new heavy metal sounds. Unlike previous eras who held bands such as Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest as their icons, the newer bands typically drew direct inspiration from more recent metal movements (particularly thrash and alternative metal)[3].

Korn had released their first album in 1994, but their true breakthrough came with the release of their 1998 album Follow the Leader and the accompanying Family Values Tour that year, which also included Limp Bizkit, System Of A Down, Incubus, Orgy, Ice Cube and Rammstein. Music by these and similar bands began experiencing increased radio airplay and rotation on MTV's Total Request Live program, revealing a return in the popularity of rock music.

The sentiment was reinforced by MTV's "Return of the Rock" specials which featured Korn, Limp Bizkit, and other nu metal bands that experienced mainstream success at the turn of the century. The term "nu metal" adapted and the category began to describe bands that combined traditional metal themes with other styles such as hip-hop.

Mainstream success and criticismsEdit

Template:Verify Template:Pov-section Nu metal bands, because their style was not clearly defined, were often considered within multiple other genres. For example, Korn crosses into alternative metal and funk, Limp Bizkit crosses into hip hop and Disturbed crosses into heavy metal. The mix of styles led to some criticism that nu metal was no longer related to traditional metal. Rap is often used in nu metal, and fans of popular rap variations didn't always respond well to it. Papa Roach's Jacoby Shaddix, for example, for this reason has abandoned rapping in his band's most recent work. In recent times the genre has received increasing derision from the metal community for various reasons, and the terms mallcore and false metal are used by many as derogatory. Some also use the terms as a synonym for the genre, believing it to be the "true" name for the genre, arguing that the use of "metal" in the name is deceiving. [4].

Defining the termEdit

Categorization of specific artists as "nu metal" is difficult, an issue made more prevalent in the online community by traditional metal fans who take offense to the term. Nu metal began as a mix of different genres, so the definition is not solid. Linkin Park's Meteora, for example, is listed as nu metal on Wikipedia, "Rock/Pop" on[5], "Alternative" on AOL Music Now[6], and three different genres (Rock, Metal, and Alternative) on Metacritic[7].

Common musical traitsEdit


Unlike traditional metal, the overall defining trait of nu metal guitar-playing is the emphasis on mood, rhythm, and texture over melody and complex instrumentation, achieved largely through performance or effects. Generally speaking, the emphasis in the music is on either communicating feelings of angst and hostility, or motivating a crowd to move with the beat -- ideally, both at once. However, guitar-playing in nu metal still often varies vastly in complexity, sound and usage. Bands take elements from several forms of music when composing the riffs for their guitars, causing a high variance between the bands. One common trait of most nu metal bands however, is to emphasize the guitar as a rhythmic instrument. Riffs often consist of only a few different notes or power chords played in rhythmic, syncopated patterns. To emphasize this rhythmic nature, nu metal guitarists generally make liberal use of palm muting, that is often widely spaced out and blend easily into the surrounding riffs, in a manner similar to grunge and hip hop.

Another common technique with nu metal guitarists is the use of de-tuned strings whose lower pitch creates a thicker, more resonant sound. Strings 'de-tuned' in this way, are often drop-D or lower, sometimes adding a seventh string. Guitar solos are rare in nu metal songs, and when they do appear they are often short and simple when compared to those of other metal genres, similar to Grunge music.

Linkin Park, Spineshank and Disturbed are three bands that may be considered to represent examples of many techniques common to nu metal.


The speed and skill of a bassist in traditional heavy metal plays a large part of outcome in the band's sound, complementing percussive tempos (and occasionally the guitar riffs) to add a strong rhythm to the tone. The nu metal bass is often slow and reminiscent of hip hop or funk music, strutting a loud sound that could arguably compete with the presence of the band's vocalist. A common technique is using the slapping method of playing to give the music a funk groove. Unlike most guitar-based music, the bass in nu metal is more often than not the driving force behind the music, e.g. Mudvayne. Typically, most nu metal bands use basses that require more than the traditional four strings. These are usually five or six string basses, five being the norm while six is far more rare. Fieldy of Korn and Ryan Martinie of Mudvayne use five string basses. Bass is, by many, considered to be the lead instrument in Nu Metal due to the strong rhythm influence in the Music.


Nu metal drumming mainly consist of hip hop and funk influenced beats. It is common for the drumming tempo to rise in the choruses and bridges. While blast beats and double bass kick drumming are used, they are used in short bursts or to help support the groove and tempo; these techniques are prominent in some bands while used on occasion in others.


Many notable nu metal bands feature a DJ for additional rhythmic instrumentation (especially scratches and electronic backgrounds). Some examples of nu metal DJs are DJ Lethal of Limp Bizkit, Joe Hahn of Linkin Park, and Sid Wilson of Slipknot.


Nu metal bands often feature aggressive vocals that range from melodic singing akin to pop, rock and punk, guttural screaming and shouting from various forms of metal, and rapping.

Some distinction is usually maintained between bands who use rap vocals extensively, and those that do not. Bands featuring almost exclusively rap vocalization are sometimes loosely called "rap metal," while the less common term rapcore is used to describe bands who use a combination of singing, screaming, and/or rapping (for example, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, P.O.D. and Korn have songs that combine the styles). One method of rapping common in nu metal merges rap with "shouting". Another common method is simply utilizing the different styles in different parts of the songs, such as a "screaming" chorus breaking up rapped verses. The style and lyrical themes of nu metal rap are generally very different from those of mainstream hip hop. Distortion and other post-production effects are often added to vocals in the nu metal genre.

Tool is a recognizable origin for some nu metal vocalization; Chevelle's Pete Loeffler, Taproot's Stephen Richards, Disturbed's David Draiman, and Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst have cited Maynard James Keenan's signature style as an influence, with Durst also calling the entire group (in general) both a biggest musical influence and favorite band. [8]

Lyrical themesEdit

The lyrics of nu metal songs tend to reflect on the stresses and mishaps of everyday life. Topics covered in this manner range from childhood alienation or abuse, socio-economic status and relationship/marital difficulties. Whether one considers this to be depressing is largely dependent on the degree to which one identifies with the issues presented. Often, the tone of the songs resemble emotions felt by adolescents, such as intense frustration and being misunderstood. Those who do strongly identify consider this to be affirming, while those who do not tend to perceive the lyrics as being some combination of depressing and/or juvenile.


  1. Ice-T, "The Ice Opinion", p.99 and 107

See alsoEdit


External links Edit


cs:Nu metal da:Nu-metal de:Nu Metal es:Nu metal fr:Nu metal it:Nu metal he:נו-מטאל lt:Nu metal nl:Nu metal pl:Nu metal pt:Nu metal ru:ֽ‏-לועאכ fi:Nu metal sv:Nu-metal vi:Nu metal


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.