JNCOs are back?! Nu Metal/Metalsucks Rant

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JNCOs – Even though I was made aware of their awkward return earlier this year, I was still very surprised to see this ad pop up in my Facebook news feed today… it made it more real for me.

While the return of JNCOs is old news, evidence of their resurgence will certainly spark an even larger conversation. (I mean, I know the first thing I thought of when I saw the ad…) It is nearly impossible to bring up the controversial apparel without also delving into the topic of nu metal –  one of the most notoriously despised and, somehow, widely praised sub-genres in all of metal. (Which many will argue until their last breath, that it isn’t metal at all.)

Is the re-emergence of JNCOs, once a nu metal staple, proof that nu metal is making a comeback or is it all just a coincidence? As I wonder this, Metalsucks.net, inevitably, also comes to mind – mainly because they wrote an article about this very topic, but also because they always seem to have an opinion about nu metal. The popular heavy metal music-themed news website has published, famously, quite a few articles about nu metal. However, even within their own ranks the Metalsucks.net staff is conflicted when it comes to this questionable sub-genre. Like the rest of the heavy metal world, it seems to be the sub-genre they just can’t agree on.

Whether you’re a devoted fan, a closet nu metal lover, or an outspoken anti-nu metal metal-elitist, the fact remains that nu metal… well, “It came, It saw, It conquered.” Like it or not, nu metal had a huge impact on the metal genre, and on music as a whole. For better or worse, it was hugely successful and ushered in a new era of sights and sounds.

Wait, why do we always talk about nu metal in the past tense? I think the real debate here is whether or not nu metal is dead!

Metalsucks.net has been predicting the “Nu Metal Revival Apocalypse” for quite some time now.

“We’ve been predicting the nu-metal revival apocalypse pretty much since the inception of MetalSucks…”

See what I mean? It’s no secret that AXL ROSENBERG and VINCE NEILSTEIN, co-founders of the Metal Sludge-esque website, Metalsucks.net, are adamantly opposed to the genre and have been dreading its “return” for years… (I get the feeling that Axl hates nu metal just a little more than Vince.) Axl Rosenberg compared the release of new Korn to 9/11, and insinuated that the length of the song “Daddy” would induce a mass-suicide. Managing Editor, EMPEROR RHOMBUS, seems somewhat on the fence when it comes to nu metal, but remains sentimental in regards to the “good ol’ days” of nu metal…  Meanwhile, Metalsucks.net staff writer SERGEANT D has been heralding this new nu wave of new nu metal, S’ing the D’s of bands like Issues; stating that they “finally got nu metal right.”

On the other end of the spectrum, contributing author, ANGUS JUNG, aggressively defends nu metal in the article entitled “In Defense of Nu-Metal”; even calling out the Metalsucks.net co-founders for being too harsh on the genre.

All these “conversations” and arguments and opinions about nu metal… Fuck! I don’t even know what the hell I’m talking about anymore… I’m just rambling at this point… and getting pissed off! All I know is, everyone seems to think that at some point nu metal “died” and many question whether or not it is making a comeback…

I for one, happen to believe that it never went anywhere. It never died. Maybe the term “nu metal” was shunned, but I don’t think nu metal itself went extinct. The word got so tainted that even the bands that were hoisted as founders, pioneers, and innovators within the genre began distancing themselves from the label of nu metal.

Personally, I think that the rift derives from nu metal being most commonly associated with “rap metal”. Once bands like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park became super popular, it kind of put a bad taste in everyone’s mouth within the heavy metal community. The media and fans just sort of lumped all the bands of this time period into the same category and it caused this huge backlash and uproar…

Look, in a nutshell, here is everything you need to know about all the nu metal drama:

The metal community has always been proud of the fact that metal is “different” than other forms of music. The black sheep, so to speak. Metal is a culture, a way of life. It’s like a club.

Nu metal is metal that incorporates elements of many other genres of music, especially genres such as pop, hip hop, alternative rock, funk, and grunge.

Incorporating so many different styles from so many different genres of music, nu metal attracted music fans from all walks of life. Suddenly this exclusive metal “club” wasn’t so exclusive. Nu metal took the metal sound and effectively made it more accessible to more people. It brought metal more into the mainstream, where it was “never supposed to be”, according to metal-purists. It’s almost like nu metal arrived and took us all by storm… it was catchy, it was edgy, it was flashy and it immediately drew us all in. We blindly followed nu metal anywhere… but when the lights turned on and all these different people from so many different walks of life realized they were all standing in a room together… it was too close for comfort.

I honestly don’t think nu metal ever left. It’s always been here. It will always be here. Bands like Slipknot, Disturbed, Korn, Deftones, System of a Down are all still going strong and have been since the epic rise of nu metal in the early 2000’s. Sure a lot of the old bands are making a comeback – bands like Coal Chamber, American Head Charge, Soil, Motograter, Kittie, etc. – but I don’t think it’s a foreshadowing of some insane “Nu Metal Apocalypse” or anything like that… and sure there are plenty of bands coming out nowadays that could easily fall into this “new nu metal” category; bands like Issues and Islander and such… but, I think despite what we are immediately aware of, nu metal has never gone away and has no plans of disappearing anytime soon. I think people just got less and less accepting of the term “nu metal” and then it became more and more accepted again, over time… I don’t think anyone ever realized that a lot of these newer “djent” bands are basically just glorified nu metal bands…

Nu metal may not have died but JNCOs definitely did for a good while… I never owned a pair but I remember everyone else wearing them at the time they were popular. I really wanted a pair but just never got around to getting some and honestly, never really thought they were for me. I’ve always been more of a camo shorts kind of metal head. I certainly had my “nu metal” phase but I leaned more towards the groove metal/thrash crossover bands like Pantera, Soulfly, and Sepultura for inspiration on attire. JNCOs certainly were a massive craze though and just like nu metal they were notoriously hated and loved by many. I haven’t taken a look at the comments section of the JNCO ad I spotted shortly before writing this article, but I can imagine it’s riddled with a wide array of varying opinions and random hate. Let’s take a look!

(Okay, so I went and looked and immediately saw this lady’s post and no more needs to be said…thanks Eunice Harper from Edmonton, Alberta.)

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– Nu Metal Messiah

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