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|An Exploration Into Nu Metal: Part 2|
Around the Fur
Wow. Just wow. I'm not really sure where to begin. I thought this album would be great, I didn't think it would be one of the best new listening experiences I've had in a whiiile. This is quite a jump in quality from Adrenaline, which was great in its own right, but here Deftones have defined themselves as one of the most special names in nu metal. The instrumentation on this, it accomplishes so much, it's so much more atmospheric and moody and genuinely emotionally gripping. It's almost like, sludgier than other nu metal I've heard before, taking elements from post-rock and shoegaze and post-hardcore setting this incredibly dark tone. And Chino Moreno has really come into his own here, both his cleans and uncleans are performed with such ferocity, remember when I said that Adrenaline was like a ball of fire encased in a glass jar? Moreno's vocals here are that fire breaking out.
Around the Fur
This is incredibly angsty like most nu metal, however even with a lot of nu metal I like I don't believe it's really that emotionally distraught about much of anything. Here, I am sold, I feel it 100% of the way through. And I'm sorry, Korn, I think I'm gonna have to give the nu metal crown to another band for now.
I saw going into this that this band was started by the vocalist of Sepultura, and if you remember I wasn't exactly the biggest fan of that Sepultura album I listened to so I was scared going into this album (the fact it's over an hour long didn't help). And while I don't dislike it like I did Roots, this just isn't for me. A lot of the same problems I had with Roots are here but with better production, which does put this a decent bit above that album imo. Overall though, this just comes off to me as very non-descript nu metal with vocals that I just do not care for and pointless guest features.
Follow the Leader
To start this off, I think the user, Hijokaidan, expressed my thoughts near exactly when they said in the comment box for this album "first 4 tracks are really good but then it fucking falls off a cliff". And to be fair, I don't agree completely, I think Seed is a great track and B.B.K. is pretty decent but aside from that WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED?! I was very excited for this album, I thought RYM was probably underrating it, it's a nu metal classic after all and Freak on a Leash is easily in the top 10 nu metal hits of all time. And those first four tracks I was convinced I was in for greatness. They displayed Korn in a more mainstream and accesible packaging but not sacrificing any of their creativity. Got the Life even feels danceable, almost like disco/metal fusion but through Korn's own warped vision with Davis' vocal quirks, piercing guitar tones and the killer as always rhythm section. But once it gets to Children of the Korn with Ice Cube this album shits the bed.
Follow the Leader
The album devolves into a handful of tracks that either fall into the category of totally forgettable or offensively stupid. The forgettable tracks sometimes have good subject matter like Pretty (which reading about was honestly kinda hard) and Justin. However Davis' writing for the majority of the album feels too lazy and surface-level to really make the most out of the subject matter at hand. Then there's the stupid and oh lord, does this album get stupid. Not gonna go too much into it because the second half of this album has sucked the life out of me a little but I'll just say, All in the Family is one of the worst songs I've ever heard and hands down one of the worst songs of this whole experience. But the good tracks are honestly SO GOOD, Freak on a Leash and Got the Life are classics, It's On! and Dead Bodies Everywhere give you what you'd want from a more polished Korn album and Seed is pretty fuckin' insane, those tracks alone keep this album from having any lower of a score.
Follow the Leader
Overall though, just take those 5 tracks and forget the rest.
Hard to Swallow
What did anyone expect? It's Vanilla Ice making a nu metal album, of course it wouldn't be good. Is it as bad as people say though? Eh, I'm not so sure. I mean the production is pretty bad and Ice's lyrics can get downright awful but as a whole it's like, pretty much completely listenable at least. It's not like it's that irritating and Ice sometimes has good energy on the mic. Overall this is just kinda generic nu metal, it sounds like an off-brand mix of Korn and Limp Bizkit. Yeah, it's bad but... that's about it. Far from the worst thing I've heard.
Wisconsin Death Trip
The first nu metal/industrial metal hybrid of the list. And it's pretty decent, nothing too special surprisingly for something that's possibly the first of its kind. It has a consistent style throughout and a handful of tracks suck me in with their aggressiveness but it does get a little too repetitive and safe at times to be truly memorable. If you're into industrial and nu metal you might as well give this a listen but in the grand scheme of things, it's a decent but inessential album.
I honestly thought this was gonna suck so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this album is pretty damn decent. It's more post-grunge than nu metal, the vocalist actually sounds strikingly close to Kurt Cobain, it's kinda scary how close. Staind can write good songs but they don't really have much original personality at all. It's all just the bare minimum for what makes decent post-grunge and that's fine, but I probably won't be returning to this. That being said, I somewhat enjoyed it while it was on.
I went into this one expecting it to be at least slightly better than Three Dollar Bill. I was wrong. Where do I begin? Um, well for one the actual instrumentalists of the band are as tight as ever especially Borland of course, even if I think he deviates into the more generic here than he did on the debut. The band is fine as usual, instrumentally they're very competent and creative. However, not gonna beat around the bush, Fred fucking Durst. I really cannot stand him for the most part on this album, nearly every song is ruined by his poor flows, immature lyrics, whiny vocal tones and occasional poor singing. It's not like I can even pick out any tracks in particular because he sucks on ALL of them. I mean maybe on Nookie it gets so ridiculous there's some enjoyment and tbh Break Stuff comes very close to being genuinely enjoyable due to how unintentionally hilarious it is but overall he is an un-ignorable blight on this album.
The production leaves me with mixed feelings, on one hand I kinda like how it's far more professional and pristine which really helps certain tracks, on the other hand it doesn't have the rough intensity of the last album that some songs feel like they need. Some other things I'd like to note real quick before I rinse my hands of this thing is that the features on here are a saving grace, I have never been happier to hear Jonathan Davis by surprise (it really puts into perspective how much more captivating of a vocalist he is than Durst when he appears) and Method Man who shows up on one of the better tracks which is actually just a straight hip hop track with a pretty good beat. Also wanna mention that a lot of the interludes between tracks are better than the tracks themselves, that the hidden rant at the end made me genuinely cringe and I hate to sound like a broken record, but this album is TOO. FUCKING. LONG. So yeah, not for me.
Finally, we get to the band I was referencing in the description. A band I'm sure needs no introduction. Possibly the most popular metal band of the 2000s (don't quote me on that). Slipknot, the only band on this list of whom I've heard all their albums. I'm a pretty big fan of this band and this album is no exception, I adore this thing. This is by far the heaviest album on the list yet, some tracks even taking influence from death metal. With a lot of these bands it feels like they heard the sound that was nu metal and started hopping on the trend. Slipknot feel singular from all this, it feels like they were just doing their own thing and happened to stumble into nu metal. This album is so over the top yet it is the perfect amount of angst. It would be easy to make a chorus as edgy as "Fuck you all! Fuck this world! Fuck everything that you stand for!" come off as try hard and embarassing but Corey Taylor makes it convincing.
Taylor is probably in the top 3 nu metal vocalists of all time, his agonised screams are unlike anything else we've heard so far and he's an essential part of this album's appeal. And this album's appeal, like I said, is being over the top as fuck. Just look at the album cover, their stage presence, the eerie opening sound collage track, the overall horror movie-influenced vibe and production, the intense downtuned riffs and the mullti-layered percussion. This album is absolutely fantastic and definitely one of the keepers from nu metal as a whole.
Tonight the Stars Revolt
This album has really not aged all that well. The nu metal/industrial metal fusion here sounds soooo 90s/early-00s that it's near impossible to listen to it without that in mind. This thing is just kinda goofy, extremely campy sci-fi-influenced nu-industrial metal tracks that kinda all ends up mushing together for me with no strong songwriting. This is a very style-over-substance album and when the style itself doesn't really tickle my fancy that's especially a big problem. That being said they are all very competent musicians and can occasionally crank out a somewhat catchy track. What's really interesting though, is that what is easily the best track here is the last track, which sounds nothing like the rest of the album and is a lounge song of all things, it's actually quite beautiful. But aside from that song, yeah, not returning to this.
Took the sound from the self-titled album and expanded on it. This album is pretty much the same sound from the debut but darker, more serious and more mature songwriting. Not much to say on this except for very pleased, a good step up in quality.
Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!
Albums on this list ranked:
1. Around the Fur
5. Wisconsin Death Trip
6. Tonight the Stars Revolt!
8. Follow the Leader
9. Hard to Swallow
10. Siginificant Other
Top 5 Overall (So Far):
1. Around the Fur
5. Juicy Planet Earth
Bottom 5 Overall (So Far):
1. Coal Chamber
2. Significant Other
3. Hard to Swallow
5. Three Dollar Bill, Y'all$
|I DON'T CARE WHERE JUST FAR|
|10 is a 10 |
|Yet you gave it a 9|
|awww significant other has a few solid tracks. soulflys non numetal albums are pretty solid, great live band|
|Great list. Around the Fur is indeed a masterpiece. When it came out, it made Adrenaline almost unlistenable to me. Also love Slipknot's self-titled. But, for me, Soulfly was tops...not at first listen, but became that over time.|
|Soulfly mixed so many different sounds...thrash metal, nu-metal, reggae, Brazilian music, etc. And let's face it, no one else sounds like Max Cavelera. |
|Maybe not, and I'm kinda glad about that tbh because I get nothing from his voice at all :/ glad you enjoy it though|
|Good list. Just curious, are you going to get into Kittie and Otep next time? And wtf, Vanilla Ice had a nu-metal album? o.O |
|you have good taste sir. I recommend checking L.D. 50 by Mudvayne as well when you can, or if you haven't listened to it already|
|@artiswar I tried to make the list albums that could be considered significant to the genre and don't think either of those fit the bill tbh|
|@Swag already heard that album, love it, it's actually gonna be on Part 3|