Musical trends are often a cyclical beast. If you take any major rock subgenre of the last 30 years or so, you’ll tend to find a revival of it somewhere – whether successful or short-lived. Nu-metal is a subgenre that’s been revived fairly well the last 5 or so years – one need only look at current bands like Sylar, Issues, Cane Hill, Sworn In, Islander, and My Ticket Home to realize that their influences lie 20+ years deep in the proverbial water. The aforementioned bands (as well as others not mentioned) successfully have infused classic nu-metal sounds to fit a more modern audience, and that’s why you see Issues and Cane Hill especially getting slots on high-profile festivals.
You know the most popular bands that represented this movement the best – Linkin Park, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Deftones, P.O.D., Mudvayne. But what about the so-called “lesser lights”? Pulse Ultra? Project 86? Nothingface? Even Stuck Mojo, who could be the most influential of them other than Korn, was underappreciated in their heyday. This article is a look back on nu-metal’s origins, its peak, subsequent oversaturation/decline, and recent rebirth. Grab your JNCO jeans, Surge sodas, and Adidas shoes, because we’re going on a rocketship 30 years ago. Here’s part 1 of our 5 part series exploring the genre’s history, from the late 80’s to the subsequent nu-metal revival that’s happening right now.