Simon Killip

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10 great NU-metal albums.

Being I was one of those kids going through school wearing baggy jeans and riding around on a skateboard, the commerical boom of the NU-metal era in the late 90s is where I have some of my fondest memories, growing up in my adolescent years. During the mid 00s the scene imploded and quickly became a renound dirty word, and was never talked about again. However, in recent years the ressurrection of the genre grows stronger, with bands taking a lot of what made it great and implementing it into their own contermparary sound. Back at its commerical peak, it was a strange time for music, a time when it was dismissed by purists of a specific style, but loved by the mainstream masses; it is a genre of complete barrier disintergration -- the rule book out the window. The problem with NU-metal, is many concentrate on the bands attempting to capitolize and ride the success of other bands in the scene, much like the grunge era. No, where a vast amount of garbage lay on top of the scene, there is some geniune golden nuggets to be found; an array of greatly experimental LPs, from bands you know well from the scene, and those you wouldn't nessasarily think were lumped in the same category. But they are. And during the commerical peak, they used various influnences from the near limitless possibilities NU-metal had to offer. This list is in no particular order.
1One Minute Silence
One Lie Fits All

These guys aren't really talked about a whole lot and it's a shame. One Minute Silence had a three LP run, before calling it a day. Their style of music was in the groove heavy of Rage Against The Machine, than the DJ, electronic saturation of many bands of the genre. The semi-political messages found in the lyrics were a refreshing listen to Fred Durst's standard "fucking shit up", while musically the members of the band were all talented enough musicians to really drive the groove home. They came back to the fold in 2013 to release a solid EP, but for me "One Lie Fits All" really honed in on a solid sound.

Track recommendations: "Revolution", "You So Much As Move".
2Limp Bizkit
Three Dollar Bill Y'all

A band people love to hate. There's no denying the band can be hit and miss, and their performance at Woodstock '99 did the band no favours, but you can't turn an eye to their infectious and fun songs. To scoff at any one of their singles could signal you don't have a soul. Three Dollar Bill Y'all shows a slightly raw, angrier and more hungry band --which you'll see less and less of in future releases. A steady pallet of catchy, melodic hooks, rapping and a heafty slab of catchy, metallic groove. Make no mistake, this is still the same dumb band everyone has come to know, but these guys have always functioned on visceral level and that's what has always made them fun, but there is something rather sincere about this debut. The closing track is also a Wes Borland journey, through and through.

Track Recommendations: "Stalemate", "Everything".
3Linkin Park
Hybrid Theory

What can be said about the band at this point? Hybrid Theory sent the band in to orbit from the moment of its inception; filled with emotion, thanks to Chester's fantastic vocals, this was the medication for teen angst everywhere. Their fusion of electronics, down tuned guitars and the rap-singing dynamic never worked so well, and quickly made the band a household name.

Track Recommendations: "By Myself", "Forgotten".
L.D. 50

Anyone that has spoken to me will know I hold this album as the Holy Grail of NU-metal albums; a cut well above the rest, and definite proof you didn't have to be a half-cooked musician to make this style of music. LD.50 is not only the pinnacle of the band's career, it is the pinnacle for the genre as well: lyrically intelligent, musically adept and an eclectic fusion of styles. Essential listening.

Track Recommendation: "Nothing to Gein", "(K)now (F)orever"

Slipknot's sophomore release made the band blow up, and with good reason. One of --if not-- the most emotionally charged record to land during the genres lifespan. This thing takes everything to the limit; Ross Robinson pushed these guys to their mental and physical limits. The final product is a seethingly hostile record and one they've never been able to top since.

Track Recommendation: "People = Shit", "The Heretic Anthem"
Vapor Transmission

Basing this on the music they made, and not their terrible dress sense, Orgy were close to making something special, but alas failed to reach their true potential in the end. Though the first two albums have a lot of problems, when they get the sound right, it is both standout and exciting. Fusing a New Order influence of electronics with down tuned guitars, when the formula is functioning on all cylinders its gloomy, dystopia depicts a welcome change from other albums of the genre.

Track Recommendation: "Opticon", "Re-Creation"
7Alien Ant Farm

Largely known for their cover of "Smooth Crimial", this band's debut had far more to offer than just a cover from one of Michael Jackson's songs. ANThology was filled with funk-soul power and hooks and melodies that were not to be messed with. It's also bloody fun listening.

Track Recommendation: "Flesh and Bone", "Stranded"

Before Incubus went down the more straight and narrow, they used to make funky NU-metal records. S.C.I.E.N.C.E is considered by many to be the band's magnum opus; fusing seamless DJ work, a funky rhythm section with Brandon Boyd's creamy vocal work, that ranges from impressive rapping to soaring catchy melodies and hooks.

Track Recommendation: "Idiot Box", "A Certain Shade of Green"
9System of a Down
System of a Down

This crazy, schizophrenic sonofabitch comes packed with eccentric weirdness, found on tracks like "Sugar". Their self-titled debut shakes walls down with its furious energy and speed, impressive vocal work from Serj and implements elements of avant-garde in the most unlikely of places. A truly unique album to say the least.

Track Recommendation: "Spiders", "CUBErt"

It wouldn't be much of a NU-metal list if it didn't have the near-founders of the genre. The bearers of the down tuned 7-string axe brought unprecedented levels of heaviness and melancholy at the time. Their debut in 1994 really started the evolution of the genre. Their blend of heavy guitars, Dave and Fieldy's unique approach to a hip hop style rhythm section and Davis' angst fuelled vocals brought a uniquely dark soundscape.

Track Recommendation: "Ball Tongue", "Fake".
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