Nu metal is a form of alternative metal that combines elements of heavy metal music with elements of other music genres such as hip hop, alternative rock, funk and grunge. Nu metal bands have drawn elements and influences from a variety of musical styles, including multiple genres of heavy metal. Some auditory hallmarks of nu-metal are seven-string guitars (meaning lower notes than usual), horror-film inspired atmospherics, funk bass-playing and hip-hop drumming. DJs are occasionally featured in nu metal to provide instrumentation such as sampling, turntable scratching and electronic backgrounds. Vocal styles in nu metal include singing, rapping, screaming and growling. Lyrics often deal with emotional issues in a direct and conversational tone, avoiding hidden meanings or pretentious turns of phrase. Subject matter includes feelings of inferiority, abandonment, jealousy and paranoia. This lyrical intimacy, coupled with primal rhythms and spooky ambiance, gives rage a powerful musical vehicle.
The term “nu metal” was used to describe the metal movement that was happening in the time between 1995-2002. Originally called the “new heavy metal,” it was shortened to nu metal by the media. Korn and Deftones were the definitive leaders of the nu metal movement, paving the way for Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach, Snot, Sevendust, Saliva, Staind, Adema, Coal Chamber, Cold, Slipknot, Soulfly, Methods of Mayhem, Linkin Park, and P.O.D. Other bands that are often lumped in as “nu metal” but are not stylistically congruent are System of a Down, Static-X, Disturbed, and Godsmack. The nu metal movement saw a sharp decline due to the events of Woodstock ’99 and an oversaturated sound that was flooding rock radio. Much like glam had been oversaturated in the late 80’s, nu metal met its own demise by not reinventing the sound. The demise of nu metal was succeeded by metalcore, progressive metal and a renewed interest in classic heavy metal bands .Nu Metal is one of the key genres of the new wave of American heavy metal.
In 2014, nu-metal is ceasing to be a dirty word to a lot of people. If you told someone six years ago that you were into Limp Bizkit or Slipknot, you’d probably be laughed at. But now, bands are openly admitting their influences with no shame, and being totally honest with others about what they dig.