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Nu metal is a genre which stemmed from alternative metal that emerged in the 1990's. Like it's parent genre, it also draws in different sounds previously not mixed with heavy metal. It takes heavy influence from groove metal, funk metal, hardcore punk, grunge, and other late 80's/early 90's genres. Also like alternative metal, nu metal often showcases off-kilter, syncopated guitar sections, usually with little-to-no guitar solos and unusual time signatures. What differentiated nu metal greatly from other metal subgenres however was it's hip-hop elements, such as sampling, turntablism, and electronic infusions. This hip-hop influence can also put rapping at the forefront, but nu metal can also showcase clean singing, screaming, and growling.

The creation of nu metal came with the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, along many other genres such as groove metal, metalcore, and industrial metal. One of nu metal's biggest breakouts onto the scene was with Korn's self-titled debut in 1994, which is often considered to be one of the most important records in the development of the genre. Other acts continued to emerge following Korn's debut, such as Slipknot, Nothingface, Mudvayne, Coal Chamber, Staind, and others later in the 90's and continuing into the 2000's.

Although many consider nu metal to be a reasonable facet to metal music, many bands labeled as such have gone on to reject it as a sort of cultural misnomer. Many bands such as Staind and Korn recognize "nu metal" as a mark of inadequacy that people use do discredit the music that they make. Others like Coal Chamber and Limp Bizkit stand by the label, expressing that they believe nu metal to be something that "broke musical ground", as Coal Chamber vocalist Dez Fafara said. To this day, the legitimacy of the mark of nu metal is one still debated heatedly throughout the metal world.

In the 2010's a hybrid fusion of metalcore and nu metal came with bands like Atilla and Issues, as well as albums from previously established metalcore acts like Suicide Silences's The Black Crown (2011) and Of Mice and Men's Restoring Force (2014). These albums and acts incorporated the clean vocals of metalcore along with aforementioned nu metal characteristics like turntabalism.

- Biography written by aglasshouse.

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MUDVAYNE L.D. 50 Album Cover L.D. 50
4.40 | 12 ratings
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4.61 | 6 ratings
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MUDVAYNE The End of All Things to Come Album Cover The End of All Things to Come
4.24 | 13 ratings
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NOTHINGFACE Violence Album Cover Violence
4.48 | 5 ratings
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MUDVAYNE Mudvayne Album Cover Mudvayne
4.24 | 8 ratings
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KORN Korn Album Cover Korn
3.94 | 28 ratings
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SOULFLY 3 Album Cover 3
4.06 | 9 ratings
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MUDVAYNE Lost and Found Album Cover Lost and Found
4.02 | 7 ratings
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LIMP BIZKIT The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1) Album Cover The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1)
3.90 | 8 ratings
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KORN Issues Album Cover Issues
3.79 | 21 ratings
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KORN See You on the Other Side Album Cover See You on the Other Side
3.80 | 15 ratings
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STAIND Tormented Album Cover Tormented
3.76 | 6 ratings
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nu metal Music Reviews

MUDVAYNE The End of All Things to Come

Album · 2002 · Nu Metal
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Unfailingly catchy, Mudvayne's second album stands as a rebuke to anyone who'd argue that the nu metal scene lacks songwriting chops - you just don't get infectious hooks like this by sheer accident. The main barrier to enjoyment, to me, are Chüd's vocals. It's not that they are bad as such - and lyrically speaking the album is at least a bit smarter than the swear-happy lazy cliches of all too many nu metal also-rans.

It's just that the vocals, whilst competently delivered, just don't do very much for me. The general approach varies between a fairly generic semi-spoken style (especially in the more melodic sections) and a fairly generic semi-shouted style; rinse, repeat. It could be that his vocal approach has ended up becoming a victim of its own success. with enough subsequent alternative metal bands following that style that it no longer seems as fresh as it used to.

The upshot of this is that just as Mudvayne's music hooks me in, the vocals push me away again. If you aren't that fussy about vocals then tack on an extra half-star or two.


Album · 2000 · Nu Metal
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With nu metal, the quality can go one of too very polar-ended ways: either it is structurally basic, repetitive, laughably edgy, or just plain uninteresting, or it's surprisingly competent and able to incorporate more interesting elements than the genre is known to allow. This is not an original observation by any means, but it is important to keep in mind as to distinguish quality nu metal releases from the mountains of drivel that also occupies the genre. And this pile of drivel is enormous- so enormous that I wouldn't really put it past someone to dismiss the medium in it's entirety. In my case when I find something actually good that happens to be golden-age nu metal, it is surprisingly and extremely refreshing. Today's pick is Nothingface, an act arising from the surprisingly vivacious hotpot of Washington D.C. They were rather early to the scene with their 1993 emergence and shot off a few well-judged, but ultimately decent bullets through their 90's career, but they did end of up petering out by the time An Audio Guide to Everyday Atrocity came out in '98.

But Nothingface's followup and 2000 breakout was the band's second to last release but also happens to be their most caustic, interesting, and violent. Right off the bat it's clear from the title and the minimalist cover bearing only the album and band's titles and a strip of a Roy Lichtenstein-esque illustration that Violence is about as blunt as a ball-bearing cosh swinging at your skull at 25 mph. Fear not, the music certainly reflects that. Thematically it is very reflective of the era's newly born alternative metal scene with somber and often times volcanically pugnacious lyrics, which blend very well with Matt Holt's low-pitched and melancholic self-harmonizations. The raw aggression is conveyed through snarling guitar licks and barely-restrained yet pretty complex at-times drum fills from Chris Houck (who has probably become one of my favorite nu metal drummers of all time). Also, some of the hooks on this album in particular are extremely catchy at times either with the vocals or the guitar. I think 'Can't Wait For Violence''s chorus had been stuck in my head for several days after listening all the way through the album. Going back to Matt Holt; harmonizations are present but something that really brings the apoplectic rage is his extremely raw vocal screams, which would likely not sound out of place on any other more respected metal album. Not only are these screams very well done and do well to get my heart kicked up a few notches at some points, the unapologetic use of juvenile curse words is a good motif and a conveyance of a sort of loss of humanity amidst the animalistic fury that is used on this record. I think the line: "FUCK! SCRAPE OUT HIS EYES!!" from 'Hidden Hands' will go down in my books as one of the unabashed incitements of ultra-violence I've heard in music.

Violence, as well as Nothingface in general, is a real diamond in the rough and I hope they do get more recognition, especially considering Matt Holt's horribly unfortunate death a few months ago. Even nu-metal naysayers I believe are safe near this record.

FLAW Through the Eyes

Album · 2001 · Nu Metal
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Along with 40 Below Summer's "Invitation to the Dance", I consider this to be the strongest debut release to come from the tail end of nu metal's mainstream popularity (late 2000-2001). I mean, you can't even argue that this has more heartfelt artistic integrity than the poppy label manufactured nu metal of bands like Adema and Linkin Park, who also came out around this time.

On the whole, there is obviously nothing innovative about the chunky riffs or good/bad cop vocal stylings of Chris Volz, but all these elements meld together very nicely on this album. The heavier songs such as "Reliance", "Amendment", "Payback" and "Scheme" are just pure aggression with intense screams and wall to wall badass riffs. The softer ballad type songs are a bit more of a mixed bag. When they do them right, they are great (eg "Inner Strength", which has an outstanding chorus), but some of these songs end up nearly resembling bad radio rock/post-grunge. The legendary David Bottrill probably helped steer those songs in more of a Tool direction rather than a radio rock direction though (I suspect this was also the case with the Bottrill-produced Mudvayne album "The End of All Things to Come"). Unfortunately, Flaw's next album was literally nothing but soft rock-ish radio ballads, which is not surprising at all considering thats where all the money was post 9/11.

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40 BELOW SUMMER Side Show Freaks

Album · 1999 · Nu Metal
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Right off the bat in 40 Below Summer's 1999 debut, it is clear the band are capable of producing some seriously infectious choruses. The opener "Suck It Up" is an excellent balance between the heaviest of nu metal (think Slipknot) and the hooks of early 90s alt-rock.

On the whole though, this album is somewhat different compared to later 40BS releases. There is a much more noticeable hip hop influence, not just in the vocals, but also in terms of instrumentation. Songs like "I'm So Ugly" and "Little Lover" appear to have some sort of G-funk sounding keyboard thing going on, which adds a layer of uniqueness to this as far as nu metal goes. My favorite song here overall is probably "Untied", a super emotional song which feels a little out of place amongst all the rap metal and proto(?) Slipknot stuff.

I would definitely recommended this to anyone with an interest in alternative metal and its subgenres, or just anyone who appreciates good, catchy melodies in metal.

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40 BELOW SUMMER The Mourning After

Album · 2003 · Nu Metal
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"Invitation to the Dance" had hints of Smashing Pumpkins-esque melodicism and balladry in songs like "Power Tool", "Jonesin" and "Falling Down", although for the most part the album mainly consisted of aggressive "jumpdafuckup" type songs. Here things are reversed, most of the songs are ballad-like in nature and there are only 2 or 3 songs which are 100% aggro nu metal. A few find a balance between the two directions, notably the wonderfully titled "Taxi Cab Confession". Overall, this album is really a product of its time. In 2003, nearly every major or semi major label nu metal band was being pressured by their record labels to make generic radio rock after the success of Incubus's "Make Yourself", Linkin Park's "Hybrid Theory" and Staind's "Break the Cycle", multi-platinum selling albums which all fused nu metal instrumentation and vocals with pop/post-grunge type song structures. Some examples of this phenomenon include Slaves on Dope ("Metafour"), Nothingface ("Skeletons"), Nonpoint ("Development"), Mudvayne ("The End of All Things to Come"), Korn ("Untouchables") and Limp Bizkit ("Results May Vary"). The only nu metal band that really bucked this trend were Deftones, who came out with a very heavy album in 2003 before going all artsy/hipster in the mid-2000s.

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SLIPKNOT (sic)nesses

Movie · 2010 · Nu Metal
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Most Slipknot fans won’t need very much convincing, a new live DVD has been released an you very probably plan t buy it, but for anyone on the fence about whether or not to get it, I highly recommend this package, on is own merits and not just out of blind dedication to the band.

‘(sic)nesses,’ is a pretty great package, documenting their 2009 headline performance at the UK’s Download Festival in front of 80,000 excited fans. Also included is a documentary (curiously on disc one, with the concert on disc 2) from Shaun ‘Clown,’ Crahan and all the music videos from the band’s ‘All Hope Is Gone,’ album cycle.

Performance wise, everything you expect to happen at a Slipknot concert is there, so don’t expect to be disappointed in that regard. One can expect to see people hanging off things, jumping off things and throwing things at regular intervals; in addition to a spinning in mid air drum kit, Different band members fretting the notes for the guitarists, different band members hitting a keg with a baseball bat, Clown and Criss’s strap-on marching drums during ‘The Blister Exists,’ and ‘Psycho Social,’ and of course Sid getting into the midst of everything, including the crowd whenever possible.

Without a doubt the entire concert is made on the strength of the crowds passionate reaction and that undefinable live energy that just makes the concert feel amazing. Seeing 80,000 plus people singing along to very heavy music is almost life affirming.

If you were dissapointed by the band’s live performances on their live album ‘9.0 Live,’ or the bonus live material from ‘Voliminal,’ specifically the mix, Corey’s vocals and the disjointed feeling caused from material being taken from various concerts and are unsure whether or not to buy ‘(sic)nesses,’ then I’d like to reassure you that it is of a much higher quality than the previously mentioned releases, the whole concert is much more impressive and intense, Corey’s vocal performance is noticeably stronger and the mix is a lot more suitable.

The audiovisual quality of the release is in absolutely no question, the tech crew behind it have done an absolutely sterling job recording, mixing, filming and editing it and the whole viewing experience is of as high a quality as you would expect from a band of Slipknot’s size, even considering that this was a festival performance which is where a lot of big bands release their weaker DVDs due to the reduced amount of control available. Put simply this DVD looks and sounds fantastic, better even than you’d expect.

The only negative things I have to say are mere nitpicking, such as a perceived shortage of material from the ‘Iowa,’ album and that the documentary is very much in the Shaun Crahan style (as seen on the main Voliminal film and the All Hope is Gone bonus DVD) which I don’t personally care for but of course, you could indeed love this style. These minor and circumstantial niggles do nothing to detract from the sheer quality of the release. It may sound cheesy, but ‘(sic)nesses,’ proves why people love Slipknot so much.

MUDVAYNE All Access to All Things

Movie · 2003 · Nu Metal
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Mudvayne’s second concert DVD, All Access To All Things features performances from Metallica’s 2003 Summer Sanitarium tour; filmed across three shows at three locations, Seattle, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. The DVD features 50 minutes worth of live performances adding up to a total of ten songs as well as forty minutes of behind the scenes footage like interviews on the tour bus or in the dressing room as well as the making of their music video for ‘World So Cold,’ which is available as a bonus feature.

The performances are of a pretty great quality and the sound and visuals are of an acceptable standard. The two greatest faults are that the bass drum sound is rather poor, but this is to be expected at a big outdoor show and is made up for by the fact that the rest of the sound is very good. The other flaw is that on about three songs, the editing becomes distracting for about a minute or so when it is decided that a bunch of really quick cuts are necessary.

Apart from these two minor flaws, All Access to All Things is an enjoyable DVD worthy of a place in any Mudvayne fan’s collection. The performances are tight, the behind the scenes sections are relatively interesting, (but thankfully you are given the option to watch just the concert, which is great for repeat viewings) and the track listing is good. Matt, Greg and Ryan absolutely nail every second of the performance, playing both tightly and energetically, and Chad adds some brilliant improvised vocals at the end of ‘Nothing To Gein,’ and ‘World So Cold,’

Chad can really pull it off live, delivering the clean vocals really well and the heavier vocals almost as well with very few exceptions, chiefly on the faster songs from LD.50 where it would be impossible for anyone to sing that fast, that close together without losing their breath. On this DVD the band appear without the make up which was the trademark of their early career and are playing in daylight at big outdoor events across three different shows.

If this is not to your tastes, you may want to consider Mudvayne’s first concert DVD ‘Live In Peoria,’ which features the band wearing makeup, indoors in a smaller venue, at night and all from a single concert.

In summary; if you don’t mind that the live sections are not from one single concert and can forgive the bass drum sound, you will find a very enjoyable DVD that stands up even now.

KORN Korn: Steal This DVD - The Unauthorized Biography

Movie · 2006 · Nu Metal
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Larry Sakin
Documentaries about rock bands work on a formula. First, we have the all important formative years of the band, where we learn how the group struggled to learn their craft. Interviews with the band members, record company hacks, managers and DJs that cleared the way for eventual superstardom follow, giving the viewer a portrait of the turmoil, joy, and excesses that come with success. And finally, we have the where-are- they-now or what’s-to-happen with them sequence, which is supposed to answer the all important questions fans are supposed to have.

Steal This DVD, an unauthorized biography of the band Korn, is another in a long line of heavily formulaic views of a band that changed the rock world forever. But there are some differences here. At least with the other documentaries, you can listen to the bands music while the grand story unfolds, and possibly hear early interpretations of the songs that catapulted the band onto rock n’ roll radio. But because of some sticky licensing problems, viewers of Steal This DVD won’t even attain this modicum of satisfaction. The background music is eerily similar to that of Korn, but is just another copycat band grinding away.

So what we’re left with is a cut-and-paste production of other people interviewing the band, a lot of still photos of individual group members, and a great deal of detail on growing up in Bakersfield, California.

I’ve been to Bakersfield, and believe me, it’s no mystery why a group of guys from that dusty Central Valley area would produce the intensely angry funk-metal chords Korn is known for. Still, it occurs to me that major fans of Korn would already know how the damaging effects of a conservative California city impacted these superheroes of nu-metal. In fact, it’s hard to imagine there is any content on Steal This DVD that might illuminate Korn fans any more about the dark mystique that surrounds the band.

And if you don’t know very much about the group and their humble beginnings, maybe the time is right to really listen to singer-songwriter Jonathan Davis’ lyrics, because everything you need to know is right there. Davis has joined the ranks of songwriters who willingly split open their veins and bleed their madness onto an empty page, much like Kurt Cobain before him.

So I’m not really sure who the producers of Steal This DVD are looking to market this documentary to. Maybe they think there are enough die-hard fans out there that obsessively collect anything with the Korn brand on it, or that there are even more naive kids so unfamiliar with what makes Korn the brilliant band they are and need some kind of instructional DVD to help them “get it.” Whatever their direction may be, I think the producers are in for a huge surprise.

It would be so much better if the people who pumped these damned things out really thought like real fans do. They’d actually produce some interesting and entertaining packages that music lovers would appreciate. But unfortunately, the entertainment business too often conforms to the “biggest bang for a buck” theory, and cashes in by promoting anything that has a big-named group attached to it.

Consider this a caveat emptor, Korn fans. This trashy documentary won’t satisfy you until the next Korn release. Save your money, and listen to Life Is Peachy instead.

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