Nu-metal is a troublesome motion to pin down: Again within the late ’90s and early ’00s, it was an umbrella time period for a pressure of rock that grew parallel to the associated style post-grunge, in addition to industrial steel and rap-rock. And whereas nu-metal has had sure prevailing traits—drop-D tuning, hip-hop-influenced vocals, numbers in band names, male-dominated tradition and attitudes—there’s by no means been a agency definition for the style. It’s with these considerably squishy boundaries in thoughts that we current the 30 greatest nu-metal songs ever.
30. Rage In opposition to the Machine — “Bulls on Parade”
Rage predate the explosion of nu-metal, however there’s no denying that the L.A. band’s sound was co-opted by loads of nu-metalheads, who mimicked RATM’s aggressive hip-hop/steel hybrids. The boiling funk of 1996’s “Bulls on Parade,” a strident critique of worldwide struggle insurance policies, is a selected touchstone.
29. Skrape — “Waste”
The Florida-based Skrape—whose members have gone on to play with Evanescence, Black Label Society, and Dope—lives as much as its moniker. Bruising riffs, festering bass traces, and hair-blowing vocals give “Waste” an abrasive edge.
28. Mudvayne — “Dig”
In a sea of post-Korn bands, Mudvayne stood out from the pack. This was partly because of the group’s topiary-caliber facial hair and colourful physique paint, but additionally due to a willingness to foment chaos. With its jackhammering drums, lurching-stomach bass line, and exorcism vocals, 2000’s “Dig” seems like a automotive falling aside whereas touring at 60 mph.
27. Puddle of Mudd — “Management”
Puddle of Mudd discovered crossover success with the nu-grunge energy ballad “Blurry,” however established their nu-metal bona fides with 2001 debut single, “Management.” A hulking tempo and prowling guitar riffs—to not point out loud-soft-loud dynamics and Wes Scantlin’s clenched-teeth sneer—embody the facility wrestle (sexual and in any other case) described within the lyrics.
26. Staind — “Mudshovel”
Staind took the Puddle of Mudd strategy to its profession and rapidly realized that mellower songs would carry crossover success. (Actually, frontman Aaron Lewis is half of nu-metal’s “Islands Within the Stream,” i.e. his stay duet on “Outdoors” with Fred Durst.) Nonetheless, there’s no denying that 1999’s “Mudshovel,” with its aggro guitar windmills, half-spoken choruses, and simmering bass line, is straight-up nu-metal.
25. Spineshank — “New Illness”
The L.A. band Spineshank splices nods to electro-metal and rap-rock (particularly, a 311-conjuring, harmonies-filled refrain) into its gruff 2001 contribution to the canon. It’s a clever transfer: Not solely is “New Illness” the band’s lone charting tune, nevertheless it has aged much better than many different nu-metal tunes.
24. Taproot — “Poem”
This 2002 rock hit is a quintessential instance of nu-metal’s seamless hybridization. Fleet-footed grooves and neck-wrenching riffs add an angst that’s magnified by vocalist Stephen Richards, who screams the phrase “break” within the line “In case of fireplace, break the glass” to ensure everyone is conscious of his deep emotional anguish.
23. KiTTiE — “Brackish”
Upon the discharge of 2000’s Spit, KiTTiE was usually thought-about a novelty, for the reason that band was helmed by teenage sisters Morgan and Mercedes Lander and their schoolmate Fallon Bowman. There’s nothing kitschy about “Brackish,” nevertheless: The livid metallic maelstrom lights up like a pinball machine round Morgan Lander’s banshee wail and slam-poet murmurs, to not point out the band’s quicksilver riffs.
22. Soulfly — “Bleed”
Previous to hitting nu-metal paydirt with Soulfly, Max Cavalera was in heavy steel legends Sepultura. “Bleed”—a 1998 tune graced by the party-moshing presence of Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst and DJ Deadly—is greatest categorized as a punishing thrash-metal tune with a cathartic low finish.
21. Sevendust — “Black”
Sevendust was one of many early beneficiaries of nu-metal: Their ferocious 1997 self-titled debut went gold on the power of politically conscious songs such as “Black,” a chugging exhausting rock tune that, in accordance with drummer Morgan Rose in 1998, is “not strictly about racism, nevertheless it takes slightly faucet on it.” “[Vocalist LaJon Witherspoon] states it fairly clearly: if folks would thoughts their very own enterprise, the world can be a greater place.”
20. (Hed) Planet Earth — “Bartender”
“Bartender,” by (Hed) Planet Earth, a.okay.a. Hed PE, is devoted to anybody on the lookout for love in all of the flawed locations—specifically, after spending means an excessive amount of time drowning their sorrows on the bar. The sad-sack vibe is redeemed solely by the sense of camaraderie fostered by slithery rap-rock grooves and the protagonist’s reasonably spectacular self-awareness about his dirtbag nature.
19. The Union Underground — “Throughout The Nation”
The Union Underground was saved by obscurity (or being recognized just for the fame-thirsty “Flip Me On Mr. Deadman”) due to the laid-back boogie of “Throughout The Nation,” which was the theme to WWE Uncooked within the mid-’00s. Growling vocalist Bryan Scott resembles Rob Zombie, and the tune’s calls to motion (“Transfer to my music / Play that fucking music”) are appropriately aspirational and empowering.
18. Adema — “Giving In”
If Adema appears like Y2K-era Korn, there’s a very good purpose for that: Vocalist Mark Chavez is the half-brother of Jonathan Davis. Nonetheless, nu-metal nepotism wasn’t essentially a nasty factor, particularly as a result of “Giving In” is a particular tune using the sort of gothic moodiness and towering choruses additionally popularized by Linkin Park.
17. Coal Chamber — “Loco”
Coal Chamber’s “Loco” is on the frenetic finish of the nu-metal spectrum, what with its splattering drums and slobbering screams from vocalist Dez Fafara, who later discovered fame with DevilDriver. This makes for an unsettled tune that will make a super soundtrack for, say, a Nationwide Geographic nature particular involving graphic predator scenes.
16. Static-X — “Push It”
Static-X’s late vocalist, Wayne Static, was a nu-metal Muppet with a powerful shock of hair and an much more imposing stage presence. On the synth-bisected “Push It,” which rumbles like a cement mixer, Static dredges up every part from banshee screams to doomy huffing. It’s a potent, feral mixture that hasn’t aged a day.
15. Saliva — “Click on Click on Growth”
It’s straightforward to confuse Saliva’s “Click on Click on Growth” with P.O.D.’s “Growth,” particularly for the reason that equally titled songs are about underdogs discovering their stride by means of music. Saliva could have an edge, nevertheless, as a result of the band assures us they don’t have mommy and daddy points, and are innovators: “I’m coming down with the brand new type and you already know it’s buck wild.”
14. Deadsy — “The Key to Gramercy Park”
Each music motion has its prog aficionados. In nu-metal, that honor went to Deadsy, the Elijah Blue Allman-fronted challenge recognized for masking Rush’s “Tom Sawyer.” The band’s oft-delayed 2002 album Graduation options the superlative “The Key to Gramercy Park,” a ghostly synth-prog tune reduce by means of with buzzsawing guitars and Allman’s Marilyn Manson-esque vocals.
13. Loopy City — “Butterfly”
Not solely does Loopy City boast the band member with the very best nu-metal identify — that will be vocalist Shifty Shellshock—however the group additionally turned within the motion’s most outstanding love tune. The slinky “Butterfly” is constructed on a curled-smoke pattern of Pink Scorching Chili Peppers’ “Fairly Little Ditty,” and options lyrics praising a dream girl with a nipple piercing and tongue ring. Shellshock has a smooth-but-not-leering voice, making him about the one singer who might efficiently pull off the “Butterfly” seduction. Name this nu-metal’s energy ballad.
12. Drowning Pool — “Our bodies”
Meet Drowning Pool in a darkish alley at your peril. On the hard-charging “Our bodies,” the band huffs and puffs about, properly, our bodies hitting the ground. Presumably, this flooring isn’t comfortable, though the tune does appear to be about pushing again in opposition to bullying and isolation—”You’re all by your self, however you’re not alone”—which makes it nearer to a scrumptious revenge tune than something extra sinister.
11. Slipknot — “Wait and Bleed”
Regardless of the title, “Wait and Bleed” isn’t the heaviest tune launched by Iowa’s masked marauders. Nonetheless, the 1999 single is a nu-metal rumble that careens round like a very violent bout of bumper automobiles, between tough vocal yelps, a livid tempo, and corrugated riffage.
10. Orgy — “Stitches”
Glammy industrial rockers Orgy had been nu-metal’s 9 Inch Nails, a truth made crystal clear by “Stitches.” Vocalist Jay Gordon is an android mad scientist growling out each hateful invective and robotic come-ons, as short-circuiting keyboards spark and catch fireplace round him.
9. Powerman 5000 — “When Worlds Collide”
It shouldn’t be a shock that Powerman 5000 frontman Spider One’s brdifferent is Rob Zombie. In any case, PM5K’s music usually exudes a cartoonish, sci-fi vibe—particularly on “When Worlds Collide,” a gleeful stomp about overthrowing systematic oppression with gravelly vocals and Jetsons-worthy futuristic synthesizers.
8. P.O.D. — “Growth”
Payable on Dying (a.okay.a. P.O.D.) is a Christian band, which signifies that, regardless of appearances and explosive references, its nu-metal Jock Jam “Growth” was thematically innocent. Sonically, nevertheless, is one other story: The tune’s choruses are powder keg blasts of aggression, defiance, and boasts equivalent to “How you want me now?””
7. Limp Bizkit — “Break Stuff”
No musician captured nu-metal’s misplaced martyrdom and suburban-fomented frustration higher than Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst, who makes his case for destruction by way of varied levels of rapping, whining, and imploring. The punishing “Break Stuff” persistently lands like a cannonball dive right into a public pool, and boasts sentiments which may as properly double as nu-metal’s manifesto: “Everyone sucks/ You don’t actually know why/ However you wish to justify/ Rippin’ somebody’s head off.”
6. Disturbed — “Down With the Illness”
“Down With the Illness” has the throat-clearing heard ’around the world: “Ooh-wah-ah-ah-ah!” The remainder of the tune principally performs second fiddle to this exhortation and the a number of occasions David Draiman sings the phrase in title. By the tip of the tune, in the event you’re not down with the illness, you’ll wish to be—even when the reference is supposed to symbolize white-hot, uncontrollable anger.
5. Linkin Park — “In The Finish”
Nu-metal’s outdated souls had been (and are) Linkin Park, who took a meticulous and measured strategy to their angst, even on early hits equivalent to “In The Finish.” Lonely piano introduces dueling vocal turns from Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda, who commerce off expressing determined, downtrodden, and bittersweet sentiments above scratchy digital results and waterfalling guitars.
4. System of a Down — “Chop Suey!”
Loads of nu-metal signifiers had been patently ridiculous, however System of a Down took absurdity to new ranges on the magnificent, karaoke-defying “Chop Suey!” Serj Tankian barks out surrealist lyrics (“Why’d you permit the keys upon the desk?/ Right here you go create one other fable”) with the precision of a drill sergeant. The remainder of the band retains tempo with slash-and-burn verses and a surprisingly melodic refrain, creating intoxicating sonic whiplash.
3. Deftones — “My Personal Summer season (Shove It)”
Deftones in a short time transcended nu-metal’s sonic signifiers, however left behind an indelible physique of labor. 1997’s “My Personal Summer season (Shove It)” particularly is a slab of churning rock ‘n’ roll quicksand with cyclone-like riffs and cathartic screams.
2. Papa Roach — “Final Resort”
A lot of nu-metal’s drama was laughable, however the exit methods threatened inside “Final Resort” are sobering. Vocalist Jacoby Shaddix straight-up sings, “I’m considering suicide,” and makes overt references to self-harm all through. Nonetheless, the even larger takeaway from Paul Ryan’s favourite tune—and the most important purpose why “Final Resort” endures—is that the members of Papa Roach completely seize what it’s wish to be at a breaking level. They’re fed up with feeling depressing; bored with hating themselves; wrecked with grief over shedding mother and father; and actually crying out for assist.
1. Korn — “Freak on a Leash”
Nu-metal patriarchs Korn led the stampede towards the tip of the ’90s with the menacing “Freak on a Leash,” a tune that (as its identify implies) serves as an anthem for misfits trapped by forces past their control. “Life’s gotta all the time be messing with me / Can’t they chill and let me be free?” Jonathan Davis muses, though he’s something however chill. Actually, his exasperation boils over on a marble-mouthed a cappella bridge, the place he sings like a fed-after-midnight Mogwai from Gremlins talking in tongues.