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Nu metal

 This article is an overview
of the heavy metal series.
 Heavy metal
 Thrash metal
 Black metal
 Power metal
 Nu metal
 Doom metal
 Christian metal
 Progressive metal
 Death metal
 Hair metal
 Stoner metal
Nu metal (aggro metal) is a type of heavy metal which combines the traditional aggressive vocals and heavy guitars of metal with hip-hop influenced vocals, samples and/or DJ techniques. In addition, nu-metal guitarists are usually less focused on solos than in traditional metal, emphasizing the guitar's rhythmic role.

The resulting sound owes much to bands like Faith No More, but the roots of nu metal can be traced much further back. While the genre is generally held to have begun with Rage Against the Machine and Korn, bands like Cubanate began expanding the scope of metal music long before -- in the late eighties and early nineties -- by exhibiting techno influences. The genre experienced an explosion in popularity after 1996, notably through the work of Korn and Limp Bizkit.

The stage acts and video clips of some of the more commercially successful of these groups owe much to some of metal's more pompous traditions, without much of the menace that such stylings used to represent. This fact, combined with the supposed unoriginality and commercialization of nu-metal music, means that the style is often derided by other metal fans.

The commercialization and popularization of the genre is largely a result of the increased availability of aggressive music in mainstream outlets such as MTV. However, many would contest that rock and metal have grown in popularity of their own accord, perhaps with the aid of hip-hop influences.

The genre is occasionally called "nü-metal," using the traditional heavy metal umlaut.

Table of contents
1 Style



In the 1990s, many bands began to mix rapping and other new techniques with traditional heavy metal guitar and drum sounds. As a result, fans and music journalists needed to differentiate between the more traditional heavy metal music and this "new breed" of bands who were using samples, DJs, raps and drum machines in a way that made their music distinct. "New metal" evolved into the trendier spelling "nu metal," and a genre was vaguely defined.

Nevertheless, some distinction is usually maintained between rap metal, rapcore and nu metal. Rap metal is normally considered to be metal with primarily rap vocals -- with a minimum of other styles. Rapcore and nu metal are basically the same thing: heavy metal guitar and drums with rap influenced vocals. This means that it can sound somewhat like traditional metal vocals, with a varying amount of rap -- some bands more than others.

Nu-metal vocals can include rapping, clean singing, and screaming, sometimes all in the same song.


While traditional heavy metal was very much guitar-based, with intricate guitar solos and complex riffs forming an important part of most songs, nu metal groups tend to place more emphasis on other aspects of the music; the guitar is often much simpler, usually with no guitar solos or technically difficult riffs, but using harmonics and down-tuned strings (nu-metal guitars often have 7 strings) to create a distinctive sound. Machine Head, on their 1994 debut album, Burn My Eyes, were one of the first bands to begin using this style of guitar, although they still incorporated guitar solos into their songs.


In general, metal bass lines are fairly simple affairs, often following the root note of the guitar riff. (There have been a few notable exceptions, such as Cliff Burton of Metallica, whose bass lines tended to be much more complicated.) In nu metal, however, bassists tend to use more complex lines, often influenced by jazz. Limp Bizkit's Sam Rivers, for example, comes from a jazz background, as does their drummer, John Otto.


Nu-metal drumming is often quite simple, but tends to be influenced by the complex breakbeats of hip-hop. In fact, many notable nu-metal bands feature a DJ who provides sampled "beats" and other effects. The most famous of these are DJ Lethal of Limp Bizkit and Joe Hahn of Linkin Park.

Some notable nu-metal bands include:

There are many other bands who became popular at the same time as nu metal, but whose membership in the genre is less univerally agreed-upon. For example: