What is Nu Metal?

Nu metal (also known as new metal, neo-metal, nü-metal, or aggro-metal) is a subgenre of alternative metal that fuses elements of heavy metal music with those of multiple other genres.

[Nu Metal origins: Heavy metal, groove metal, alternative metal, industrial metal, grunge, funk metal, alternative rock, hardcore punk, rap metal, funk, etc.]

Bands associated with nu metal have derived influence from a variety of diverse styles, including electronic music, funkgrunge, gothic rock, hardcore punk, hip hop, new wave music, industrial metal, jazz, post-punk, symphonic rock and synthpop. Nu metal also derives influences from multiple sub-genres of heavy metal including rap metal, funk metalalternative metal and thrash metal.

Nu metal music is largely syncopated and based on guitar riffs – often putting much emphasis on rhythm; showing its groove metal roots. Nu metal riffs sometimes tend to be similar to death metal riffs and sometimes uses staccato, similar to the riffs of the death metal genre. Nu metal bassists and drummers are often influenced by funk and hip hop break beats, respectively, helping add to the rhythmic nature of the genre. Blast beats, which are common in heavy metal sub-genres such as black metal and death metal, are extremely rare in nu metal. Similarities with many heavy metal sub-genres include its use of common time, distorted guitars, power chords and note structures primarily revolving around Dorian, Aeolian or Phrygian modes.

Many nu metal bands often use seven-string guitars (which are generally downtuned) and rarely eight-string guitars (Deftones) over traditional six-string guitars. This results in bass guitarists using five-string and six string instruments. DJs are also sometimes used for additional rhythmic instrumentation such as music sampling, turntable scratching and electronic backgrounds. Nu metal tends to have hip hop grooves and rhythms. 

Nu metal is also sometimes noted for participation of women in the genre in contrast to multiple other metal genres, including bands such as Coal ChamberOtepand the all-female band Kittie.

Nu metal vocal styles range between singing, rapping, screaming and death growling, sometimes using multiple of these styles within one song. The lyrics in nu metal are often angry or nihilistic. The lyrics of many nu metal bands often focus on topics such as pain, angst and personal alienation, similar to that of grunge. However, some nu metal music has really positive lyrics or lyrics about utterly different topics, such as religion or politics. Nu metal tends to use the pop music structure of verses, choruses and bridges, contrasting it with other metal genres such as thrash metal and death metal

Nu metal fashion includes everything from baggy pants, baggy shorts, baggy JNCO jeans, Adidas tracksuits, baseball caps, baggy shirts, sports jerseys, sports jackets, basketball singlets, basketball shorts, hoodies, cargo pants, sweatpants, dreadlocks, wallet chains, spiky hair, facial piercings, chin beards, tattoos, long hair, bald heads,goatees, frosted tips, dyed hair and bleached hair. 

Some nu metal bands, such as Slipknot, MushroomheadMudvayne, and Motograter use masks, jumpsuits, costumes, face paint, corpse paint and/or body paint.

Predecessors and influences

Groove metal and thrash metal bands of the same era such as Pantera, Slayer, Sepultura, Metallica and Anthrax have also been cited as highly influential to nu metal. Anthrax pioneered the rap metal sound by fusing hip hop with metal on their EP I’m the Man.

Alternative metal, funk metal, alternative rock, experimental metal, rap metal, grunge and industrial metal bands of the 1980s and 1990s including Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction, Primus, Rage Against the Machine, Helmet, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Godflesh, Nine Inch Nails and Ministry have been identified as laying groundwork for the development of nu metal, such as combining aggressive riffs with pop structures and drawing influence from a variety of genres within and outside of heavy metal music.

Hip hop musicians such as Dr. DreIce CubeCypress Hill, Geto Boys, The Fat Boys, and N.W.A. have been a major influence on some early Nu metal musicians.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nu_metal


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