It’s easy to laugh at nu-metal all these years later – to brush it off as that rap-rock fad that briefly turned Fred Durst into a unlikely chart-topper and gave goblins like Mudvayne an excuse to paint themselves silver in eye-catchingly bonkets videos. But it was more than just a passing phase. So gel your spiky hair, adjust your wallet chain and turn up your CD hi-fi for this lot – the nu-metal bands you’d maybe forgotten. Everyone remembers Limp Bizkit, Korn, Linkin Park et al – but how many of these bands ring bells for you?
Crazy Town: Oh, you remember the video. Rapper Shifty Shellshock frolicking in some jungle undergrowth. Come my lady, come come my lady…“. Since that peak, Shellshock – if that is your real name – has frequently found himself in trouble. He’s gone on to appear in US TV shows Celebrity Rehab (series 1 AND 2) and Sober House (1 AND 2). Key track:‘Butterfly’
Alien Ant Farm: In 2001 you couldn’t turn on MTV2 for 3.5 minutes without seeing AAF singer Dryden Mitchell bounce his way around a boxing ring in the middle of the street in the video for their cover of Jacko’s Smooth Criminal. Key track: ‘Smooth Criminal’
Static-X: You’ll have noticed the stars going out in 2013 when Static-X called it a day for the second time. Theirs had been a glittering career, a festival of punk and trancecore led by singer Wayne Static (not his real name), who married a porn star. Key track: ‘The Only’
Adema: Bakersfield, California was quite the hot bed for nu-metal bands. As well as Korn, there was Adema – one of whom was half-brother to Korn singer Jonathan Davis. Their brief time in the limelight came in 2001. There’s about 250 words dedicated to their many line-up changes on Wikipedia. Basically, none of them are left. It doesn’t really matter.
Key track: ‘Giving In’
Disturbed: In their pomp Disturbed front man David Draiman would open their shows by pretending to receive an electric shock. What a joker. Known for combining chunky riffs with growled scat singing, they’re currently on hiatus. Key track: ‘Down With The Sickness’
Drowning Pool: Drowning Pool released the oh-so-aptly titled ‘Resilience’ album in 2013 – apt because they’ve been through the mill since breakout hit ‘Bodies’, notably with the death of singer Dave Williams in 2002 from heart disease. After a number of replacements, they finally settled on Suicide Hook’s Jasen Moreno, their third vocalist in 10 years. Key track: ‘Step Up’
36 Crazyfists: This lot came from literally the middle of nowhere in the early 2000s – Anchorage, Alaska. 36 Crazyfists’ breakthrough track was tender ditty ‘Slit Wrist Theory’. They had a sports-jersey wearing bass player, a drummer with a backwards cap and an emotive-but-heavy sound that fast-tracked them to a place on nu-metal’s top table.
Key track: ‘Slit Wrist Theory’
Dry Kill Logic: 2001 album ‘The Darker Side Of Nonsense’ had a track called ‘Assfault’. With that sort of devastating wordplay it was clear Dry Kill Logic were in it for the long run, and indeed they’re still around today. What do you mean, you had no idea? Key track: ‘Paper Tiger’
Evanescence: Right tail-coat riders this lot. Just as nu-metal was panting like a sick dog stepping out in front of a minibus Evanescence arrived with their uber-hit ‘Bring Me To Life’. It became a global mega-hit, and extended the nu-metal reign of popularity that little bit longer. Still operating as a fully functioning band. Key track: ‘Bring Me To Life’
FlyLeaf: Where nu-metal met Christian rock. What better way to praise the Lord than with grinding riffs, pummelling hip-hop riffs and economical goatees? Singer Kristen May did not have a goatee. Key track: ‘Cassie’
Mudvayne: System Of A Down wrapped in tin-foil? Mudvayne were a right bunch of jokers. Slipknot on a Poundland budget. Key track: ‘Dig’
Godsmack: This is Godsmack. As far as we know they never pulled off that tour with Godhead (The GodSmackHead tour?), but they get a mention here for their refreshingly direct mission statement ‘I Fucking Hate You’. They were nominated for four Grammy awards, you know. Key track: ‘I Stand Alone’
Spineshank: LA industrial nu-metalcore ‘outfit’ Spineshank are notable for using the classic gambit of splitting up just to lose an unpopular lead singer. Brandon Espinoza thought the band were finished when he left in February 2008. Within weeks they reformed without him. Cold. Key track: ‘Beginning Of The End’
Guano Apes: Hell yeah! Germany’s answer to No Doubt. GA had a song called ‘Big In Japan’. That’s where they stayed big though, as it never really happened for them in the UK. They did once win MTV’s Europe Music Award for Best German Act though. Key track: ‘Open Your Eyes’
(Hed) P.E: The P.E. stands for Planet Earth. No, we still don’t get it. Anyway, (Hed) P.E. They aimed to subvert hip-hop with their, um, hip-hoppy punk music – slotting them in the rapcore genre – but somehow they just ended up owing Jive Records a fuck load of cash. Best laid plans and that. Key track: ‘Let’s Ride’
Ill Niño: Now these lot were great – dreadlocks, sportswear, bongos, a scissor-kicking bass player, even a bit of DJ scratching. The drummer used to play with a backpack on. You know, just in case he needed the packed lunch his mum made him halfway through the set. Rad. Key track: ‘What Comes Around’
Incubus: We’ll argue that Incubus were nu-metal before they went all flip-flop wearing coconut-water drinking hippies with all the edge of Jack Johnson. Their 1998 (check) album ‘Science’ still gets talked about now. Brandon Boyd, what a heartthrob. Guitarist Mike Einziger now writes for Avicii. Key track: Something heavy off ‘Science’.
Linea 77: An Italian nu-metal band? From the land that gave us Fellini? Linea 77 made up for their cultural crimes with an album called ‘Ketchup Suicide’ and a raucous cover of the Bangles’ ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’. Sort of made up for them. Key track: ‘Fantasma’
Mushroomhead: What the fuck? You’re making this up now. But no! Cleveland’s Mushroomhead were another team of chancers in Slipknot masks who disintegrated pretty much the minute they signed a lucrative deal with Universal. Savvy. Key track: ‘Sun Doesn’t Rise’
My Ruin: A sweet one, this. My Ruin were mainly – and indeed are – husband and wife duo Tairrie B and Mick Murphy. They covered ‘Tainted Love’ before Marilyn Manson did, you know. Key track: ‘Miss Ann Thrope’
One Minute Silence. For anyone who thought nu-metal was purely an American fad we had our fair share of UK metal bands that got lumped in, including London’s rap-spewing, axe-crunching One Minute Silence. They got back together in 2011 after eight years apart. You remember. Key track: ‘Holy Man’
P.O.D: Front man Sonny Sandoval’s trousers were so ill-fitting he was caught smuggling an immigrant family into the US in them in 2011. Alright, that’s a lie. But yes, P.O.D. That’s Payable On DEATH. You heard. Which either fits or doesn’t fit with their born-again Christianity, depending on your point of view. Key track: ‘Alive’
Puddle Of Mudd: The whingier edge of nu-metal – you know, almost Nickelback territory. Singer Wes Scantlin has spent the last decade getting in deep water with the Feds, with arrests for crimes ranging from intoxication on an aircraft to domestic violence. And the rather-less-serious drunkenly riding an airport baggage carousel. Key track: ‘She Hates Me’
Slaves On Dope: It looked like this Canadian bunch had finally taken their leave in 2004, but within five years they were back, their tinny metal assault entirely undiminished on comeback album ‘Over The Influence’. Key track: ‘Porno Buddy’
Soulfly: You wouldn’t want to get trapped down an alley with SoulFly lead singer Max Cavelera. Anyway, arch-collaborator Max formed Soulfly after leaving Sepultura in the mid-90s, presumably reckoning we hadn’t had enough. Key track: ‘Jumpdafuckup’
Stereomud: Members of Stuck Mojo, The Crumbsuckers and Life Of Agony came together to burn briefly but brightly as New York git-rockers Stereomud, leaving a legacy that you’ve forgotten all about, you ungrateful sods. Key track: ‘Don’t Be Afraid’
Taproot: Taproot will be remembered as a downward-growing root that forms the basis of most trees. They will also be remembered as a Michigan metal crew who shunned the efforts of Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst to get them a recording contract. He was displeased, and blamed System Of A Down. These were complex times. Key track: ‘Poem’
Twisted Method: Like a seemingly endless cavalcade of nu-metal bands, Florida’s Twisted Method gained wider recognition when they snaffled themselves a place on the Ozzfest tour. The future looked rosy until the death of guitarist Andrew Howard in 2005, which hastened the band’s disbandment. Key track: ‘Inside Out’