Nu metal


Nu metal (or aggro metal) is a controversial subgenre of heavy metal music. It sometimes bears some influence to hip-hop, because rhythmic innovation and syncopation are primary. Nu metal bands also feature aggressive vocals (either rapped, shouted, or sung), drop-tuned guitars that are clean or distorted, (with riffing similiar to the Seattle scene of the early 1990's) a funk-based rhythm section, and occassional DJ techniques such as turntables and sampling. Generally speaking, the emphasis is on either communicating feelings of angst and hostility, or motivating a crowd to move with the beat -- ideally, both at once. The popularity of such music in the late 1990s led to widespread negative associations with the phrase "nu metal", particularly due to commercialisation, and many nu-metal fans and artists reject the term, which has become almost an all-purpose musical insult. A related term, mallcore, is used similarly to dismiss aggressive music that is seemingly calculated to appeal to angst-filled young teenagers.

The genre is occasionally called "nü-metal," using the traditional heavy metal umlaut.



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Beyond the pronounced hip-hop influence, nu metal has--like most forms of heavy metal music--proven somewhat difficult to define. Some fans and musicians have a firm concept of genre and subgenre, but others reject such categorization as unnecessary, limiting or useless.

Some heavy metal fans do not consider nu metal a form of heavy metal music at all, arguing the genre is too diluted from what they consider "true" heavy metal. Nu metal guitarists, for example, typically forgo traditional metal guitar technique, such as soloing and often use riffs quite different from those most commonly associated with traditional metal. It's also not liked because of the lyrics that usually deal with what teen's face and many metal fans feel that metal is about strength, not weakness. Other heavy metal fans, however, reject these arguments, citing rock music's long history of incorporating disparate elements--including jazz, experimental music and world music--out of curiosity or genuine appreciation for other musical genres. Moreover, little objection has historically been raised to doom metal (a genre which lacks high-speed guitar pyrotechnics) or power metal (whose high fantasy image is often even less threatening than nu-metal angst), and some of the anti-nu-metal backlash migtht be due to the genre's significant mainstream success. In general, the rise of nu metal has caused severe divisions and remains the source of much animosity and debate among heavy metal fans.

While Deftones and Korn are typically cited as the genre's instigators, bands like Fishbone, Body Count, Urban Dance Squad, Faith No More, Suicidal Tendencies, Jane's Addiction, Helmet, Prong, Soundgarden, Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tool and others are cited as progenitors. Producer Ross Robinson, for example, was labelled by some as "The Godfather of Nu-Metal" due his producing of several notable Nu-Metal albums. Entertainment!, the 1979 debut from British punk rockers Gang of Four has been cited as an indirect infleunce. Critic Andy Kellman suggests that the album's "vaguely funky rhythmic twitch, its pungent, pointillistic guitar stoccados, and its spoken/shouted vocals have all been picked up by many," including some rap metal group's "not in touch with their ancestry enough to realize" the connection.[1] (

Categorization of specific artists as "nu metal" is difficult, considering the widespread mistrust of the term among artists and fans alike, and the "edges" are fuzzy where nu-metal bleeds into other genres. In general, the artists in question are American bands that found their first success in the mid- to late 1990s. Immediately, other artists began shaping their sound to resemble the new groove-driven metal, and its influence is still felt today. For example, the American metalcore scene of the early 2000s owes much to nu metal, as do recent releases from artists like Metallica and In Flames.

The popularization of the genre


 The birth of modern nu-metal could be pinpointed to the earliest Lollapalooza music festivals in the 1990's which featured the first bands to utilize common nu-metal styles.


The funk of Primus and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, the hip hop crossover of Rage Against the Machine and Fishbone, as well as the experimental rock of Tool have been mentioned numerous times by nu-metal bands who gained mass-media exposure at the end of the millenium.


Although Nine Inch Nails and Ministry are viewed more often as industrial rock or industrial metal, their 

presence has lived up as origin to industrial/techno-styled nu-metal bands that would appear later, such as Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Orgy, Dope, Static-X and Powerman 5000 (fronted by Rob Zombie's younger brother, Spider One). <p>

Grunge, Post-Grunge and Nu-Metal


After Kurt Cobain's death in 1994, the viability of other bands in that scene would follow: Alice In Chains' appearances would be sporadic due to Layne Staley's reclusive (and eventually fatal) drug addiction, Soundgarden would record only one more full-length, "Down on the Upside", before splitting up the following year, and Pearl Jam would scrap the rainy bleakness of "Ten" in favor of more politically-focused rock songs, mostly taking form as a side-project with singer Eddie Vedder.


Perhaps more than any other musical definition, Grunge is the most recognizable ancestor of nu-metal; the quick jolts of distorted guitar chords, tortured vocals and lyrics of angst have found clear public display in signature nu-metal artists, including those with a reputation for initiating "hip hop" into their sound. Another explanation for the grunge influence on Nu Metal is the song structure. They usually start with a pounding intro that subdues for a softer and vulnerable verse. The vocals are usually done in clean singing. The chorus looses the vulnerability and becomes loud (sometimes the songs intro is a part of this) with the vocals becoming harsh. The bridge is sometimes in-between both soft and loud or it can either be just plain soft or just plain loud. The outro usually will consist of the chorus repeated a number of times.


 The most apparent offspring to Grunge is Post-Grunge, which is often quickly dismissed as nu-metal. Whether it is or isn't is a subject of debate or matter of opinion. However, arguments on both sides are usually valid. 


Days of the New is perhaps the first post-grunge band with a sound that best defines the groups that would precede: Mostly acoustic riffs, and a less iconclastic, more radio-driven mentality liklier to appeal to an older, mainstream audience. Creed, Nickelback and 3 Doors Down are nondebatable examples of post-grunge bands.


Others, such as Cold, Staind, and Puddle of Mudd have been 

seen as both, since the song paces are usually faster, the guitars are louder, and the consumer field is generally younger and usually a fan of what could comfortably be defined as "nu-metal".




Specifically, lyrics of most nu-metal bands reflect on the stresses and mishaps of everyday life. Topics range from childhood alienation or abuse, socio-economic status and relationship/marital difficulties.


Drug use, particularly marijuana and heroin, is also touched upon, but usually in more celebratory or sarcastic manner. There is usually a fine line drawn, as a few prominent singers (and sometimes other band members) admitted to extremely hardcore drug addiction in the past and use music as "therapy" to denounce their days before recovery.


political progressivism and activism is a least common item, but still noticable in many nu-metal bands, expecially those that either influenced or started the genre in the late 1980's/early 1990's. More often, this is usually discussed candidly rather than in songs.


Missing image
Zach De La Rocha

In the 1990s, many bands began to mix rapping and other new techniques with traditional heavy metal guitar and drum sounds. As a result, fans and music journalists needed to differentiate between the more traditional heavy metal music and this "new breed" of bands who were using samples, DJs, raps and drum machines in a way that made their music distinct. "New metal" evolved into the trendier spelling "nu metal," and a genre was vaguely defined.

Nevertheless, some distinction is usually maintained between rap metal, rapcore and nu metal. Rap metal is normally considered to be metal with primarily rap vocals -- with a minimum of other styles. Rapcore generally refers to a combination of singing, screaming, and/or rapping (for example, the vocals of Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park). Furthermore, some nu metal artists use no rapping at all. <p>

Tool has been a recognizable origin for some nu-metal vocal styles, if not nu-metal in general. Although dedicated fans  distance the band as "different" and "progressive" compared to other popular rock acts, Chevelle's Pete Loeffler, Taproot's Stephen Richards and even Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst have cited Maynard James Keenan's signature "drone" style as an influence.


A similar nu-metal style often confused for rap vocals is "spoken lyrics", usually off-key or in a free-styled form. It is unclear as to whether this is on purpose, however, Zach De La Rocha of Rage Against The Machine used a spoken word-form of singing a lot, which is likely the missing link to nu-metal's affiliation to rap and hip hop.


While traditional heavy metal was very much guitar-based, with intricate guitar solos and complex riffs forming an important part of most songs, nu metal generally emphasizes the guitar as a rhythmic instrument. The riffs often consist of only a few different notes or power chords played in rhythmic, syncopated patterns. To emphasize this rhythmic "pulse," nu metal guitarists generally make liberal use of palm muting, a technique which itself blurs the boundary between melodic note and rhythmic attack. Another common tactic is the use of de-tuned strings (in drop-D or lower, sometimes adding a seventh string) whose lower pitch creates a thicker, more resonant sound. Finally, many nu metal guitarists seem to be fond of natural harmonics. The opening riff of Linkin Park's "One Step Closer" is a representative example of many of the above techniques. Guitar solos are generally not part of nu-metal songwriting, though there are exceptions, such as Adema, Saliva and System of a Down. Helmet have been cited as one of the biggest nu metal guitar influences, along with Machine Head, Prong and Fear Factory. These bands, however, are not nu metal bands.


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Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu


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. <p>

In nu-metal, however, the bass is often the star, with guitarwork only acting as a sample in the  case for more "hip-hop geared" nu-metal.


Although the nu-metal "bass line" is hard to classify, the "slap style" style made popular by Michael Balzary, Billy Gould and Les Claypool would be forefront in the styles of latterday bassists like Reginald Arvizu and Sam Rivers, who would follow in becoming influences themselves.


The nu-metal bass is also slower than Tradional Heavy Metal, strutting a funkier, louder, sound that would arguably compete with the presence of the band's vocalist.


Nu-metal drummers usually consist of basic 4/4 beats (some say this could be from the hip-hop influence) but often reach beyond traditional heavy metal patterns for more syncopated beats, such as Eastern dance rhythms (as played by John Dolmayan of System of a Down), jazz drumming, and the complex breakbeats of hip-hop. Also, many notable nu-metal bands feature a DJ who provides sampled "beats" and other effects. Two of the more famous nu-metal DJs are DJ Lethal of Limp Bizkit and Joe Hahn of Linkin Park.

Notable nu-metal bands

A large list has been made of the most notable nu metal bands, List of Nu metal musical groups.da:Nu-metal de:Nu Metal es:Nu Metal fr:Neo metal it:Nu metal nl:Nu-metal pl:Nu metal

pt:New metal


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