Why I Miss Nu Metal

sevenfoxes

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I never thought I’d be saying these words, but…I miss Nu Metal.

I was born in the early 80’s, so I got to experience Nu Metal when it was in its prime back in the late 90’s. At that time, i was obsessed with all of those bands from that era.

But as time went on, i grew tired of it. Tired of seeing all these cookie cutter bands emerge from the predictable, and monotonous mold, and so I moved on to other genres of music.

Fast-forward to present day, and I am now reminiscing, and longing for that kind of music to return.

This didn’t happen overnight though. I think this nostalgia has been building up, and snowballing for the past few years, i just didn’t realize it. But i think the realization really hit me when i was thinking of Polyphia, and their song “Playing God”.

To be clear, I absolutely LOVED this song when i first heard it, and just like many of you, I was incredibly impressed by the technicality and level of skill it takes to compose something of that caliber. I had listened to this song several times, and each time i was just in awe of their talent.

But whenever I thought about this particular song, all i could remember was how technical it was, and how polished the production was. I couldn’t remember a single riff, or melody from it. I struggled to recollect what I had listened to so many times before, but for the life of me I could not remember anything else about the song.

Then it hit me. I could EASILY pull any Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Slipknot, Mudvayne, POD, Spineshank, Kitty, Snot, deftones, etc., etc., song from my aging memory. I could remember the lyrics, the riffs, the melodies, the breakdowns… everything.

Keep in mind that I don’t really listen to this music anymore (well, aside from deftones and Snot lol), but i haven’t listened to the majority of this stuff in years. So then why is it that i could so easily remember all this shit that I thought I had mentally buried all those years ago?

I think the answer is melody and simplicity.

Nu Metal bands had some of the catchiest riffs and melodies. They were simplistic, yet simultaneously fun as hell to listen to and play. They stuck with you, and apparently never leave.

But for the life of me, I can’t remember anything from a lot of newer and modern metal/progressive bands. I can’t remember the riffs. I can’t remember why i enjoy that music until i go back and listen, but even then, it all seems to somehow slowly fade when the music stops. It doesn’t stick like so many songs from the Nu Metal era did.

That’s not a knock against any of those bands, because I absolutely love what so many modern guitarists are doing, and how they seem to be pushing boundaries, and are doing things that are so beyond my skill level. I admire and envy that.

But for whatever reason, I really miss the simplicity, the catchy riffs, the breakdowns, and some of the predictable aspects that were somewhat charming, especially in retrospect, because there was something secure, and stable in all that predictability.

So perhaps I’m living under a rock. Perhaps I’m just old. Perhaps I’m just an old man yelling at clouds and missing the point. Perhaps midlife crisis has finally caught up with me, and this is what happens to people who struggle to move on.

Regardless, I’d love to see another era that embraces simplicity and basic song structure in the metal world. Something that I can easily digest and embrace the same way i did with so many Nu Metal bands. Something that…sticks.

Well, if you’ve made this far into my post, then thanks for sticking around, and if you’ve got some feelings and thoughts to express, I’d love to hear them! Perhaps some of you would like to even share some of your memories and experiences from this era, whether good or bad. And if you’d like to express your dismay for Nu Metal, well, that’s cool too.

Cheers!
 

syzygy

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I both agree with you and don't :p

I love nu-metal inspired riffage, and some of that 90's era Limp Bizkit/Korn/Deftones stuff is still some of my favorite rhythm guitar to date, and I'm glad that more bands seem to be drawing at least slight influence from it...

But I also thought that Playing God, like any other Polyphia song, was super catchy. Specifically that whistled melody at the end is such a potent ear worm, but I also think the intro bit is pretty memorable. I just think that catchy is catchy, regardless of how accessible or technical it may swing towards. I still catch myself humming Periphery choruses all the dang time and their stuff is still technical. Just my :2c:, and you totally don't have to agree.
 

sevenfoxes

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I both agree with you and don't :p

I love nu-metal inspired riffage, and some of that 90's era Limp Bizkit/Korn/Deftones stuff is still some of my favorite rhythm guitar to date, and I'm glad that more bands seem to be drawing at least slight influence from it...

But I also thought that Playing God, like any other Polyphia song, was super catchy. Specifically that whistled melody at the end is such a potent ear worm, but I also think the intro bit is pretty memorable. I just think that catchy is catchy, regardless of how accessible or technical it may swing towards. I still catch myself humming Periphery choruses all the dang time and their stuff is still technical. Just my :2c:, and you totally don't have to agree.
Cool perspective!

I’m actually glad that people do find the newer stuff memorable, as it gives me hope that I might as well, because I’d love nothing more than to be able to drop my anchor and plant my feet into something like Playing God. I enjoy that track when i listen to it, but it does quickly disappear from my memory when it’s over.

Some of Periphery’s stuff I definitely get stuck in my head. I hear Icarus Lives in my head waay too often, and it’s such a fun riff to play!
 

soldierkahn

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what frustrates the hell out of me is that from the very beginning, i always enjoyed mixing the rhythm based music in hip-hop/rap, but it was never aggressive enough for me. Then the metal crowd definitely had the aggression, but little melody. Ive always been a huge fan of super heavy rhythmic music, with someone who can actually sing, singing on top. nowadays, i find that im more of a metalcore kid than a NuMetal kid, but theres very few Nu Metal bands that I dont thoroughly enjoy.

for crying out loud, i still love playing Linkin Park though most folks could play through any LP song in their sleep while drunk and dead..... but i still enjoy the shit out of it.
 

mastapimp

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I tend to agree with a good chunk of your discussion. Nu-metal was emerging when I was in highschool and college and in many ways it was the soundtrack to my life back then. One of the first big festivals I went to was Ozzfest '98 which was 75% nu-metal bands at the time. I can still remember mudvayne and sevendust playing in the background while I was cramming for a chemistry final my freshman year of college. A song will come on and it can take me back in time where I can remember exactly what I was doing 20 years ago.

However, when I revisit some of these old songs, it's great to hear them once or twice, but they occasionally wear out on me pretty fast and I'm quickly reminded of what I didn't like about them. A good example is when I'm tuned into SiriusXM's Octane channel and a limp bizkit song comes on. I'm totally into it until Fred Durst starts singing/rapping and I'm reminded how annoying his delivery is, how juvenile the lyrics are, his stupid red hat, how he became a shitty director, the list goes on...at this point, I'm good not hearing a limp bizkit song for another 5 years.
 

sevenfoxes

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I tend to agree with a good chunk of your discussion. Nu-metal was emerging when I was in highschool and college and in many ways it was the soundtrack to my life back then. One of the first big festivals I went to was Ozzfest '98 which was 75% nu-metal bands at the time. I can still remember mudvayne and sevendust playing in the background while I was cramming for a chemistry final my freshman year of college. A song will come on and it can take me back in time where I can remember exactly what I was doing 20 years ago.

However, when I revisit some of these old songs, it's great to hear them once or twice, but they occasionally wear out on me pretty fast and I'm quickly reminded of what I didn't like about them. A good example is when I'm tuned into SiriusXM's Octane channel and a limp bizkit song comes on. I'm totally into it until Fred Durst starts singing/rapping and I'm reminded how annoying his delivery is, how juvenile the lyrics are, his stupid red hat, how he became a shitty director, the list goes on...at this point, I'm good not hearing a limp bizkit song for another 5 years.
I agree. Nu Metal definitely had its tacky side, and i think it was a lot of those elements you described that made it tiring.
 

ArtDecade

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But do you miss Winger? Genuine question. I just thought i remembered you being a fan.

I also wonder if the Glam/Hair Metal guys felt the same way i currently do about Nu Metal when Grunge took over.

To be fair, all of the glam bands are still around. Crue, Ratt, Quiet Riot, Winger, Dokken, Extreme, Bulletboys, Warrant, Bang Tango, Tuff, etc etc etc all still tour. Plus, we have labels, like Frontier Records, that still release plenty of albums from those bands. And when all else fails, we can fall back on Steel Panther.
 

Matt08642

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This could also be because nu-metal was what you were heavily entrenched in in your prime music-listening years, and modern music is being thrown at you as a nearly 40 year old man whose tastes are much less likely to change. I'm not saying you're wrong, just that some kid who listens to Polyphia music on loop and goes to their shows might remember their riffs by heart like we all remember Freak on a Leash.
 

sevenfoxes

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To be fair, all of the glam bands are still around. Crue, Ratt, Quiet Riot, Winger, Dokken, Extreme, Bulletboys, Warrant, Bang Tango, Tuff, etc etc etc all still tour. Plus, we have labels, like Frontier Records, that still release plenty of albums from those bands. And when all else fails, we can fall back on Steel Panther.
They’re still kickin around, alright. Same with a lot of Nu Metal bands. Hell, even Limp Bizkit just released a new album. But the glory days are long gone. So I guess that’s what I referring to.

I was watching a documentary about glam metal, and one of the main players (can’t remember who) said that it was a kick to the dick when he walked into the record label building to see his band’s poster replaced with an Alice in Chains poster.

I can only imagine that all the fans of that music back then felt something similar.
 

soldierkahn

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This could also be because nu-metal was what you were heavily entrenched in in your prime music-listening years, and modern music is being thrown at you as a nearly 40 year old man whose tastes are much less likely to change. I'm not saying you're wrong, just that some kid who listens to Polyphia music on loop and goes to their shows might remember their riffs by heart like we all remember Freak on a Leash.
#facts
 

sevenfoxes

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This could also be because nu-metal was what you were heavily entrenched in in your prime music-listening years, and modern music is being thrown at you as a nearly 40 year old man whose tastes are much less likely to change. I'm not saying you're wrong, just that some kid who listens to Polyphia music on loop and goes to their shows might remember their riffs by heart like we all remember Freak on a Leash.
This is an excellent point, and something that I considered when writing my post.

Age probably has a lot to do with how you’re influenced.
 

ArtDecade

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They’re still kickin around, alright. Same with a lot of Nu Metal bands. Hell, even Limp Bizkit just released a new album. But the glory days are long gone. So I guess that’s what I referring to.

I was watching a documentary about glam metal, and one of the main players (can’t remember who) said that it was a kick to the dick when he walked into the record label building to see bis band’s poster replaced with an Alice in Chains poster.

I can only imagine that all the fans of that music back then felt something similar.
I think it was Jani Lane of Warrant.
 


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