Nu Metal

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Nu Metal Bands
  1. Coal Chamber Buy: CDs || DVDs
  2. Ill Niño Buy: CDs || DVDs
  3. Korn Buy: CDs || DVDs
  4. Linkin Park Buy: CDs || DVDs || Merchandise
  5. Mudvayne Buy: CDs || DVDs
  6. Papa Roach Buy: CDs || DVDs
  7. Slipknot Buy: CDs || DVDs

Nu metal (pronounced "new metal") is a musical genre that typically fuses influences from the grunge and alternative metal of the 1990s with funk music, hip-hop, and various heavy metal genres, most often thrash metal and groove metal. It has origins in the mid 1990s.

Origins


Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain's death in 1994 would signal the beginning of the decline of alternative rock (and grunge in particular) as the driving force in modern American rock music, paving the way for nu metal to gain ground with the public.

Linkin Park is the best selling nu metal act with an excess of 45 million copies sold of their first two full-length albums (Hybrid Theory, Meteora), and 5 million copies from their third full length album (Minutes to Midnight). Producer Ross Robinson was labelled by some as "The Godfather of Nu Metal" due to his producing of several notable nu metal albums, the first of which was Korn's eponymous first album Korn as well as the follow-up Life Is Peachy, which would become one of the defining albums of the genre, along with subsequent groundbreaking release Follow the Leader. Former band member Head stated that Korn's signature sound came from an attempt to emulate chords used by Mr. Bungle's guitar player, which they referred to as "the Bungle chord". They have also cited Mike Patton's other band Faith No More in Kerrang's The Greatest Videos of All Time in 2006, saying that Korn was influenced by them because they did something unusual with a metal band. Nu metal bands also typically claim influence by more conventional metal acts, particularly Black Sabbath.

Defining the term


Categorization of specific artists as "nu metal" is difficult, an issue made more prevalent in the online community by traditional metal fans who take offense to the term. Nu metal began as a mix of different genres, so the definition is not solid. Linkin Park's Meteora, for example, is listed as "alternative" on AOL Music Now, Because their style was not clearly defined, nu metal bands were often considered within multiple other genres. For example, Korn crosses into alternative metal and, more recently, industrial rock. Limp Bizkit has crossed into rapcore, Linkin Park into alternative rock, and Slipknot into extreme metal and shock rock.

Jonathan Davis of Korn said in a magazine interview just before Life Is Peachy was released that the band wasn't "simply metal". He claimed that there was "many other influences" in the bands sound and that calling it "metal" would be "limiting".

Common musical traits


Guitar

The Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier guitar amplifier has been the cornerstone of the nu-metal guitar tone. The amplifier has a very low-midrange voicing, and very strong in the bass frequencies. It also has excessive preamp gain, amplifying frequencies to the state of thin, harsh buzziness. This was exploited by bands such as Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Linkin Park who would turn up the bass and gain controls of this particular amplifier to the maximum level.

Unlike traditional metal, the overall defining trait of nu metal guitar-playing is the emphasis on mood, rhythm, and texture over melody and complex instrumentation, achieved largely through performance or effects. Generally speaking, the emphasis in the music is on either communicating feelings of angst and hostility, or motivating a crowd to move with the beat—ideally, both at once. However, guitar-playing in nu metal still often varies vastly in complexity, sound and usage. Bands take elements from several forms of music when composing the riffs for their guitars, causing a high variance between the bands. One common trait of most nu metal bands, however, is to emphasize the guitar as a rhythmic instrument. Riffs often consist of only a few different notes or power chords played in rhythmic, syncopated patterns. To emphasize this rhythmic nature, nu metal guitarists generally make liberal use of palm muting, a technique inherited from thrash metal that is often widely spaced out and blend easily into the surrounding riffs, in a manner similar to grunge and hip hop.

Another common technique with nu metal guitarists is the use of detuned strings whose lower pitch creates a thicker, more resonant sound. Strings detuned in this way are often drop-D or lower, sometimes adding a seventh string. This technique is often criticized as a misuse of alternate guitar tunings, with detractors emphasizing the ease and frequency with which power chords are played, particularly in nu metal. When KoRn first began its career, members of the band stated that guitar solos had become saturated and too boring in the rock industry, thus they felt no need for them. This is typical of nu metal bands in that guitar solos are rare in nu metal songs in general, and when they do appear they are often short.

Linkin Park, Spineshank, Disturbed, Flaw, and Adema are five bands that may be considered to represent examples of many techniques common to nu metal.

Bass guitar

The speed and skill of a bassist in traditional heavy metal plays a large part of outcome in the band's sound, complementing percussive tempos (and occasionally the guitar riffs) to add a strong rhythm to the tone. The nu metal bass is often slow and reminiscent of hip hop or funk music, strutting a loud sound that could arguably compete with the presence of the band's vocalist. The slap bass technique is a common technique of playing to give the music a funk groove. Unlike most guitar-based music, the bass in nu metal is more often than not the driving force behind the music, e.g. Mudvayne. Typically, most nu metal bands use basses that require more than the traditional four strings. These are usually five or six string basses, five being the norm while six is far rarer. Fieldy of Korn, Ryan Martinie of Mudvayne, and Sam Rivers of Limp Bizkit use five string basses. Bass is, by many, considered to be the lead instrument in nu metal due to the strong rhythm influence in the genre. Bass is one of the most important instruments in a band, as it helps the drums keep the rhythm.

Drums

Nu metal drumming often consists of hip hop and funk influenced beats. It is common for the drumming intensity to rise in the choruses and bridges and fall back down during verses.

Turntables

Many notable nu metal bands feature a DJ for additional rhythmic instrumentation (especially scratches and electronic backgrounds). Some examples of nu metal DJs are DJ Lethal of Limp Bizkit, Joe Hahn of Linkin Park, St1tch of Mushroomhead and Sid Wilson of Slipknot.

Vocals

Nu metal bands often feature aggressive vocals that range from melodic singing akin to pop and rock, guttural screaming and shouting from various forms of metal, hardcore punk, and rapping.

Some distinction is usually maintained between bands who use rap vocals extensively, and those that do not. Bands featuring almost exclusively rap vocalization are sometimes loosely called "rap metal," while the less common term rapcore is used to describe bands who use a combination of singing, screaming, and/or rapping (for example, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, and P.O.D. have songs that combine the styles). One method of rapping common in nu metal merges rap with "shouting", which is basically a mesh of hardcore punk and rap with only some metal influences, commonly called rapcore. Another common method is simply utilizing the different styles in different parts of the songs, such as a "screaming" chorus breaking up rapped verses. The style and lyrical themes of nu metal's rapped verses are generally very different from those of mainstream hip hop. Distortion and other post-production effects are often added to vocals in the nu metal genre.

Tool is a recognizable origin for some nu metal vocalization; Chevelle's Pete Loeffler, Taproot's Stephen Richards, Disturbed's David Draiman, and Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst have cited Maynard James Keenan's signature style as an influence, with Durst also calling the entire group (in general) both a biggest musical influence and favorite band.

Song Structures

Normally, nu metal songs have a song structure of instrumental introduction, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, sometimes another verse but almost always ending with a chorus. The final verse is often a climax to the song, has a relatively different sound to the previous two and sometimes is just one line repeated, getting gradually louder. It is generally louder in the instrumental parts and the choruses than in the verses. Nu metal shares most of these characteristics with grunge.

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