Call it what you want: The Nu Metal Revival, The Nu Metal Resurgence, The Nu Metal Resurrection… Whatever you want to call it, the fact remains, it’s happening…
Nu Metal. Simultaneously, one of the most notoriously despised and widely praised sub-genres in all of metal. There are some who will argue until their last breath that it isn’t metal at all. Others say it was just a term generated by the media. Love it or hate it, it was one of the biggest movements to happen to the metal genre EVER and it is responsible for shoving metal music into the mainstream, front and center. There are plenty who claim Nu Metal died long ago, but it’s a hard point to argue when bands like Korn, Slipknot, Sevendust, Deftones, Disturbed, Linkin Park, and so many other bands that were lumped into the Nu Metal category, have been dominating the charts for close to two decades.
Nu Metal is hard to put into a box though. When it started, the term Nu Metal was reserved for bands who were mixing metal with other styles and genres of music, such as funk and hip hop and electronic music. This made it far more accessible and Nu Metal began to attract non-metal fans, who wouldn’t have normally listened to anything labeled ‘metal’. For some reason, the accessibility that took Nu Metal straight to the top was the very thing that brought it back down, if only in the eyes of metal purists and anti-anything-mainstream types. It gave metalheads everywhere a bad taste in their mouth, and sparked a backlash within the metal community. Metal had always been an underground movement, that shied away from the spotlight. The cult-like following metal has is like no other genre of music. It has become a culture, a way of life. The fans that love it so, take great pride in and ownership of, the metal label. When their beloved metal music was suddenly being mixed with funk, hip hop, and pop, enjoyed by the world over, taking over the airwaves, it caused outrage. Some bands fought the title tooth and nail, others embraced it. Other groups were labeled Nu Metal by the media, simply because they were around during the time of the Nu Metal boom and happened to be popular; some of which don’t really fit the criteria at all. It has sort of been stretched into a blanket term that encompasses a lot of hard rock and pop rock. It became so huge it collapsed in on itself.
I don’t think Nu Metal ever really went away. I think the term Nu Metal just became too broad, and carried too much baggage. There was so much good and so much bad, it was hard to process it all. Whether you prescribe to the beliefs that Nu Metal died long ago, never to be remembered… or you are a die-hard fan, for whom which Nu Metal shall never be forgotten… it doesn’t matter. It seems that Nu Metal is here to stay.
Around 2015, 16 and 17 we have seen a massive Nu Metal resurgence. It’s truly hard to ignore. The amount of evidence is staggering. Here’s just a few of the indicators that Nu Metal has made a massive comeback:
Korn and Limp Bizkit toured together. Korn released a new album and completely went back to their roots. Coal Chamber put out a new album. Ozzfest and Knotfest joined forces for one big festival. Linkin Park put out new music. New Hed PE album was released. Nonpoint released a new album. 40 Below Summer are still touring and releasing music. Slipknot and Marilyn Manson did a tour together with Of Mice and Men. Marilyn Manson is released new music. Dope, Flaw, and Motograter toured together. American Head Charge released a new album and went on tour with Motograter. Dope is putting out new albums and music videos. Flaw released a new album. Motograter just finished up their new album. Adema has returned. Trapt, Saliva, Alien Ant Farm, Crazytown, 12 Stones, and Tantric toured together. Deftones released a new album. Fear Factory, 20th Anniversary of ‘Demanufacture’ Tour happened. Skindred toured with Hed PE and SoiL. SoiL put out a new album. Ill Nino embarked on the 15 Years of Revolution Tour with Bobaflex. The band Cold is stirring… the singer posted a heartfelt message to fans on Social Media. Drowning Pool are still putting out new albums and touring. Dry Kill Logic are back in the studio. Kittie are releasing a career spanning documentary. Mudvayne have posted cryptic messages on Facebook. A few of the members of Mudvayne have a new project called Audiotopsy. Otep put out a new record and our touring non-stop. Papa Roach and Powerman 5000 are working on new music. Project 86 has launched a new album campaign. Slaves on Dope released a new album. Skinlab is back together and touring. The Union Underground are back together. Mushroomhead are still putting out albums. 311 released new music. There are many more examples out there of the Nu Metal Resurgence. It’s official. Nu Metal is back.
Years and years after these “Nu” bands made their mark, we are seeing the influence they have had on mainstream music. With the rise of the -core bands, we experienced a dramatic shift away from the ‘New Wave of American Heavy Metal’ days, however now that the fad has run its course and has exhausted every possible ‘breakdown’ – we begin to see Rise Records-esque and Sumerian-esque bands sounding a lot like… well, Nu Metal. Many of these bands are moving away from their Death and Metalcore influences, and are beginning to show more of a pop influence. The heavy is still there, but it’s a different realm, a different vibe. You can especially see this with bands like Asking Alexandria, Bring Me The Horizon, Of Mice and Men, The Word Alive, etc. Chuggy, staccato riffs with a metal edge meets soaring clean choruses and a pop sensibility (And usually some electronics blended in). Other bands like Cane Hill, King 810, and My Ticket Home are exploring the heavier side of Nu Metal… But it’s all starting to sound like Nu Metal to me. We’ll call it New Nu Metal or Nu Metalcore, I’m sure. Just to name a few of these bands: Islander, Issues, The Word Alive, Of Mice and Men, Bring Me The Horizon, Emmure, Upon A Burning Body, My Ticket Home, Stray From The Path and there are countless more.
The exciting thing, for me, is that there is this massive wave of bands that are starting to sound like the true Nu Metal I grew up listening to. Suddenly, bands are starting to sound more and more like the authentic Nu Metal we know and love, and not just wannabe’s. I noticed this massive surge of these bands and I also noticed a shift in the way music fans perceive these bands and this style of music. Even the media has taken notice of the resurgence. Here’s just a few of the headlines I’ve witnessed in the press: The Nu-Metal Revival Is Real | Noisey (2016), You Can’t Deny It Anymore… Nu Metal Is Definitely Back | Rockfeed (2016), The 10 Greatest Nu-Metal Albums | L.A. Weekly (2016), What ever happened to all those nu metal bands? | FasterLouder (2016), Nu-Metal is Back! Let’s Not Act Like That’s a Good Thing | Metalsucks (2016), They Did It All for the Nookie: Decibel Explores the Rise and Fall of Nu-Metal | Decibel Magazine (2016), Korn Talk The Revival Of Nu-Metal | NME (2016), Metal Hammer Presents Nu Metal | Metal Hammer (2016).
With all this evidence and talk of a Nu Metal resurgence, I quickly began researching unsigned nu metal bands and putting together a business plan for a new record label in 2016. I knew that I wouldn’t just need to start a record label dedicated to the genre, but that I would need to help educate the public and help reverse the negative outlook. I started a website called NuMetalMessiah.net and began publishing articles and stories about my favorite Nu Metal artists. I also began writing and conducting interviews for NewMetal4U.com. It seemed that although there were a couple bands popping up here and there, the majority of the labels out there were still shunning the genre. People tend to fear what they don’t understand. My label would focus on Nu Metal, Alternative, Industrial, and Shock Rock. I don’t think the record labels fully understand the resurgence that is happening. And so I launched Zombie Shark Records. Our mascot is meant to be representative of the Nu Metal genre itself… It just won’t die! Just when you think it’s dead… it comes back for more! At the time of me writing this, we have signed: Keychain, Darkcell, Krehated, Riksha, Natas Lived, and The Black Crown. Here are some other amazing Nu Metal Revival bands from this time period: Dirty Machine, Gemini Syndrome, KING 810, Cane Hill, DED, Blue Felix, Noself, Frontstreet, Lethal Injektion, Darke Complex, Change Is, Vyces, Anti-Clone, Amerakin Overdose, and a whole lot more.
Article by Noah “Shark” Robertson, current drummer for Motograter and former original drummer of The Browning