Should We Re-Evaluate Nu Metal?

God, there was so much to hate about the late 90s. Pop music was dominant, resulting in a stream of Britney Spears, ‘N Sync and Backstreet Boys. The only thing the alt-rock world could mount against that onslaught was nü metal, a polarizing and highly obnoxious blend of metal and hip hop. Even today, hearing some Limp Bizkit results in PTSD-like flashbacks.

But time heals all (well, some) wounds. There are a few people who are now wondering if we shouldn’t give nü metal another chance. This is from the LA Times:

I have a modest proposal that I doubt many of you will cotton to: It’s time to critically re-evaluate nu metal.

You remember nu metal, right? Chugging riffs. Grunted vocals. Big pants. Soul patches. It’s one of the last remaining mutations of rock that no one has bothered to pick up on. But I think it’s high time that we all took a closer look at it. Disturbed are getting back together and that seems as good a reason as any. So let’s re-evaluate it, together.

More than anything else, nu metal is known for heavy, heavy riffs. Granted, there’s not a lot of complexity there. The riffs tend to sound like they were composed by a gorilla who was handed a guitar for the first time. And while there are some definite technical standouts (Wes Borland is pretty much the Steve Vai of nu metal), for the most part, you don’t like nu metal if you’re a guy who likes flashy, technical guitar work.

But maybe that’s precisely what makes nu metal so great.

Keep going. And if you find yourself agreeing, try this story: “Limp Bizkit Are Better Than Whatever Crap You’re Listening to Right Now.”

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Should We Re-Evaluate Nu Metal?

  • July 9, 2015 at 10:01 am

    You also might not like nu metal if you like songwriting with any semblance of melody whatsoever. Limp Bizkit are still the worst thing to ever call itself a band, and Korn was only about 0.5% better. Alt-rock radio was just absolutely unlistenable for two years or so while the world was throwing money at those idiots.

  • July 13, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    If we’re going to pick a nu-metal band worth a second listen, the Deftones and Sevendust seem like better candidates.


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