Ten Reasons Nu-metal is an Underrated Genre
Attempting to do this most likely is going to make me sound like Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, but hear me out: The inner 15-year-old in you wants to. And maybe you’ll even crawl into the closet to rock that Hybrid Theory hoodie one final time. But do it with pride. Because Nu-metal really was a glorious scene. And here are some reasons why.
1. The scene had some legit bands:
Let’s not go back and forth as to what does or does not constitute nu-metal. There were many bands that were part of the scene that did not wholly embody the ‘rap rock’ it’s often watered down to. But those bands still had nu-metal elements in the singing style and the lyrical themes. And many of them put out nu-metal singles to keep on the radio. And they were great. Deftones, Incubus, System of a Down, all, are examples of bands that have graduated from the scene and developed above and beyond it. But that doesn’t mean they ‘aren’t Nu-metal;’ it just means that some great bands dabbled in the genre for a while
2. It was varied:
As a period that we roughly can say started in the late ’90s and peaked at around 2001, Nu-metal was more inventive musically than the garage revival and emo music that took over the radio waves in its absence. Nu-metal is really an amalgamation of not only rap and rock but industrial music (see Fear Factory and Static X), synth pop, glam rock (see powerman 5000), hip hop (the excellent N together now with Method Man and Dj premier), grunge, hard rock and metal. These bands would flicker between genres, sometimes in an A.D.D.-like fashion. As a result, the instrumentation on some of these albums was varied, with manic turntable scratches, pulsating industrial beats, chugging thick guitar riffs, random appearances from rappers, such as Ice Cube and Method Man. Yes, it was stupid. But it was unpredictable, and, at its best, fun.
3. It was experimental:
No, I’m not talking about Limp Bizkit’s Rollin single. But why is it that people have to reduce the genre down to its worst elements when criticizing it? The genre really did bring some avant-garde vibes to mainstream music. At one time, Slipknot’s Iowa was the No. 3 album in the U.S. This 70-minute album ends with a 15-minute closer. Even the maligned Limp Bizkit finished its first LP with a 16-minute collage. Incubus’ S.C.I.E.N.C.E. ends with a multipart epic, taken from the school of Mr. Bungle, where different segments bleed together, without a trace of a hook or anything else denoting conventional song structures. Chop Suey by System of a Down manages to do these things, while somehow maintaining pop song lengths, and they made a hit song out of it.
Head over to hardrockhaven for the rest: