1. There’s Some Lost Classics In Amongst The Also Rans
Let’s not forget the nu-metal albums that are also worthy of praise. Here’s a few examples of the best of the rest….
Incubus – S.C.I.E.N.C.E (1997)
They may have gone all soft and ‘mainstreamy’ (and who can blame them) as their career took flight but on ’97’s S.C.I.E.N.C.E, Incubus were still a band fusing all manner of dislocated styles into an exciting and textured melting pot of influences.
It’s easy to look back on nu metal and laugh at its absurdities but many bands of the era were experimenting wildly and with huge success. Incubus were no exception and S.C.I.E.N.C.E remains a unique proposition.
Soil – Scars (2001)
This was the point where some full blooded traditional metal came back to the fore and while Soil were still part of the nu-metal era (whether they liked it or not), Scars was a much needed adrenalised shot to most metaller’s systems!
The massive hit “Scars” was obviously the MTV breakthrough but Soil had assembled a whole album of similar stompers, content to hammer down hard with catchy, classic sounding, heavy metal rather than jumping on the nu-metal bandwagon per se.
No rapping, no keyboards, no DJ’s, no over-sized trousers, just metal….and we all fuckin’ loved it!
Snot – Get Some (1997)
With the untimely passing of frontman Lynn Strait bringing Snot’s career to a premature end they did at least leave us with Get Some, a hardcore punk, funk and nu-metal fusion that would/should have made them superstars.
Incidentally, the tribute album Strait Up, dedicated to Lynn Strait is also worth checking out. Featuring the likes of Corey Taylor, Dez Fafara, Serj Tankian, Jonathan Davis and more, this nu metal super-team-up provides a fitting epitaph to a much missed frontman (and band).
Fuckin’ get some!
Sepultura – Nation (2001)
Derrick Green‘s second Sepultura outing arrived in 2001 and may have been home to thrash, hardcore punk and that tribal sound that became synonymous with this legendary band but it was also a nu-metal album of considerable power.
From fiery bursts of brutal thrash (the short, sharp shock of “Revolt”) to experiments in thundering tribal grooves (“Uma Kura”) and arms-aloft nu-metal anthems such as “Sepulnation”, this collection of political diatribes seemed to fall into the nu-metal quagmire when it should have been revered for its experimental nature and quality songwriting.
We recommend you revisit this neglected early 00’s masterclass forthwith!
Ill Niño – Revolution Revolución (2002)
Currently celebrating Revolution Revolución‘s 15 year anniversary, Ill Niño have just toured the UK and played this monster debut in its entirety.
Taking the world music aesthetic of Sepultura’s Chaos AD and Roots to its next logical conclusion (with guitarist Marc Rizo eventually, and ironically joining up with Max Cavalera’s Soulfly), this six-man wrecking crew led by founding member Dave Chavarri (M.O.D, Pro-Pain, Gothic Slam, Lääz Rockit) unleashed a barrage of latin-tinged nu-metal anthems on this, their debut album.
Spineshank – The Height Of Callousness (2000)
Fear Factory clone accusations (an ironic concept) were rife but Spineshank marked out their own niche with their sophomore effort, The Height Of Callousness.
Huge hooks and no end of MTV-baiting, catchy as hell, quasi-industrial backed nu metal lent Spineshank a more commercialised yet no less powerful industrial metal sheen.
And it worked.
“Synthetic” and “New Disease” were ‘hits’ and for a while there, Fear Factory and Static X had some serious competition!
Downer – Downer (2001)
Despite arriving during rap-metal’s heyday, Downer were an entirely different proposition. A real obscurity amongst nu-metal era releases, the only release by L.A.’s Downer is an alternative metal anomaly that seems to have been utterly lost to the annals of time.
There’s a cold, dry sound to Downer that actually works in their favour. The unique vocals of J. Scott (whose delivery mixes a strangely robotic monotonous tone with a devious sense of melody) and the inventive staccato nu-metal riffing (you won’t find too many solos here) appear workmanlike on the surface but slyly work their way under your skin.
“Weed Eater” packed a vocal hook big enough to reel in a walrus and the incessant pace of “Last Time” was an in-your-face moment of malevolent melody overflowing with barely restrained menace.
Sevendust – Home (1999)
You’d be hard pressed to find a collection of crunchier riffs than those found on Sevendust’s sophomore effort from 1999.
Roping in the likes of China Moreno (Deftones) on “Bender” (a word that means something else in the UK but we won’t go into it!) helped Sevendust’s cause but they didn’t need ‘guests’ to make an impression; the staccato riff nirvana of “Home” and the infectious grooves of “Rumblefish” did enough by themselves.
The fact that frontman Lajon Witherspoon could croon and roar with the best of them was also a major factor in Sevendust’s early success, resulting in Home eventually being certified Gold.
Incidentally, Sevendust’s self-titled debut from 1997 is equally as infectious and to celebrate its 20th anniversary(!), Sevendust are playing it in full on tour this June!
Chimaira – Pass Out Of Existence (2001)
Before they became kings of the new wave of american heavy metal, Chimaira’s full length debut marked them out as one of nu-metal’s most ferocious acts (even if the band loathed to be described as such).
Admittedly, Chimaira’s bizarre melding of death metal, groove metal and nu-metal’s penchant for electronic noises marked them out as an anomaly from the start, the likes of “Dead Inside” still appealed them to the nu-metal fan who was looking for something a little heavier!
Has that made you appreciate the nu-metal era a little more? No? Perhaps you had to be there (and be a certain age)!
Not forgetting (deep breath): American Head Charge – The War Of Art / Chevelle – Wonder What’s Next / Deftones – Around The Fur / Disturbed – The Sickness / Drowning Pool – Sinner / Dry Kill Logic – The Art Of Nonsense / Hed (PE) – (həd)pe / Hed (PE) – Broke / Kittie – Spit / Korn – Life Is Peachy / Korn – Follow The Leader / Limp Bizkit – Significant Other / Linea 77 – Ket.ch.up Sui.ci.de / Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory / Mudvayne – L.D.50 / Nonpoint – Development / Nothingface – Violence / One Minute Silence – Buy Now… Saved Later / Otep – Sevas Tra / Papa Roach – Infest / P.O.D – Satellite / Sevendust – Sevendust / Spineshank – Strictly Diesel / Staind – Break The Cycle / Static X – Wisconsin Death Trip / Taproot – Gift.