4. Nu Metal’s Finest Debuts Are Stone Cold Classics
Korn – Korn (1994)
This groundbreaking monster needs no introduction and was an absolute revelation in 1994!
Nu-metal didn’t even exist when Korn unleashed their self-titled debut on the world and no one was ready for its onslaught of down-tuned riffs and Jonathan Davis’ beyond cathartic, open wound, scat-hollering.
A complete departure from 80’s hair metal, thrash and grunge, metal would take on a whole new shape after the initial shockwave of Korn subsided and nothing would be the same again.
If you say you haven’t lost your shit to “Blind” at least once we suspect that your pants are currently on fire.
Deftones – Adrenaline (1995)
Fitting in but never really belonging in the nu-metal world, Deftones were a unique proposition from the get-go.
In hindsight, led by Chino Moreno’s semi-unique breathy/aggressive vocals and Stephen Carpenter’s stripped-back riffs, Adrenaline swam a sea of nu-metal cliches but way before these cliches had become passé.
So, there’s a little hip-hop, a little quiet/loud song structure, a little scat-gibberish from Chino and more than a little immature untapped aggression but that’s fine, Deftones were at the forefront of this new (nu) movement after all.
“7 Words”, “Bored”, “Engine No.9”, “Root”….all are beloved by Deftones fans and have gone down as 90’s metal classics. And to think, this was just the start of the most impressive artistic evolution of any band from the era!
Slipknot – Slipknot (1999)
No one saw these 9 masked lunatics coming at the turn of the new millennium.
Just when the danger of metal looked to have gone forever, along came this anonymous Iowan nonet with the fear factor amplified and a set of tunes that instantly made them cult legends. “Wait and Bleed”, “Spit It Out”, “Surfacing”, the ‘hits’ just kept on coming and Slipknot’s shockwave was felt on a global scale.
Aggressive, belligerent, single-minded, confident and one of the greatest debut albums of all time.
System Of A Down – System Of A Down (1998)
Was there ever a band with more cheek, more nerve and more individuality than System of a Down?
Doubtful, as System were the physical embodiment of lightning in a bottle and while their self-titled debut didn’t make an initial worldwide impact (it would take sophomore effort Toxicity to elevate these nutters to megastar status) the immediacy and riotous nature of “Suite Pee”, “Sugar” and “Spiders” instantly adhered them to fans of alternative metal.
It takes something special to be truly unique and there really is no other band out there quite like System of a Down!
Could their forthcoming album (their first in over 12 years) be another game-changer? You wouldn’t bet against it!
Limp Bizkit – Three Dollar Bill Y’All (1997)
This could be divisive but Bizkit’s debut is more than merely solid, it’s the complete snapshot of what made nu-metal a phenomenon.
Three Dollar Bill Y’All‘s anger personified the nu-metal era way before Fred Durst and co. were all about nookie and cookie’s or some such nonsense. “Faith” is a blinding cover version – we’ve all lost our shit to this a million times at a club night – and Bizkit actually felt like the real deal on this still surprisingly aggressive debut.
With huge (you know, ‘phat’) hooks, the kind of rhythm section most bands would kill for and a relatively original sound, Limp Bizkit were fresh and fancy free….the mainstream bothering Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavoured Water was also a world away.
Haters will hate but in 1997, Three Dollar Bill Y’All was on everyone’s playlist (or in their walkman, it was a while ago, we can’t really remember).