There’s a new (nu?) trend afoot in the world of emerging metalcore bands and that trend is similar in its makeup to nu metal when it came out. Instead of chug heavy riffs, we start with metalcore and instead of rap, we have RnB. Gavin Lloyd grew up with nu metal. Is this new trend as worthy or original, though? Hmmm…
I grew up during nu metal’s heyday and the likes of Limp Bizkit and Slipknot went a long way towards shaping my taste in music and making me the metal-loving scamp I am today. Nu metal was huge and had a mainstream crossover appeal that hasn’t been seen since in terms of heavy music.
For example, I once witnessed a school assembly where two girls did a disco dance routine to ‘Last Resort’. As I was blissfully minding my own business listening to The Kennedy Soundtrack, many of my peers were growing tired of the genre. I remember reading Kerrang! as they celebrated the death of nu metal in the form of the rising popularity of metalcore.
Nu metal carried a black spot with it for a number of years with many embarrassed that they once owned a “PEOPLE = SHIT” hoody and a red baseball cap. Obviously, like everything, nu metal would eventually come full circle with many now happy to pull their heads out of their socially conscious arses and celebrate the music they grew up with.
Perhaps the pivotal moment being when Limp Bizkit reunited with Wes Borland and played Download Festival in 2009 to one of the biggest crowds of the weekend, all joyfully rotating their air steering wheels to ‘Rollin”.
It would only make sense that nu metal’s influence would make itself present in the current metal scene. After all, many people who are in up-and-coming bands would have grown up listening to nu metal. While we’ve seen very little straight up nu metal nostalgia acts emerging, there has been a recent trend of bands within the metalcore scene (that once supposedly killed off nu metal) embracing nu metal elements into their music.
Perhaps the most obvious example is Bring Me The Horizon’s latest album Sempiternal. Oli Sykes and co’s rise in popularity (as well as the quality of their output) had been steadily growing for a while and it was unpredictable what direction they would take after 2010’s There is a Hell…. On the one hand, if they merely settled into their sound and continued down the same path there would be less room for fanbase growth, while a full-on pop turn could easily spell the kind of disaster that Architects suffered with The Here and Now and its dire radio ballads.
Bring Me The Horizon hit the nail on the head by sticking faithful to their trademark sound while borrowing influence from one of the most commercially viable periods for metal in recent memory. Be it the Deftones-esque vibes of ‘And The Snakes Start to Sing’, or ‘Sleepwalking’ which does enough to satisfy old school Linkin Park fans while the actual LP fanny around with computer games.
However, it doesn’t stop at BMTH. Suicide Silence’s last album, The Black Crown was an honest deathcore homage to the bouncing brutality of Slipknot. When Of Mice & Men re-released their 2011 album The Flood last year it came bundled with four new tracks that were the best thing they’ve ever done. Ushering in a somewhat tweaked and more exciting take on their bog standard metalcore sound, ‘The Depths’ had all the fury of Slipknot leading it to be a mosh anthem that foretells a bright future for the band.
The reasoning for this perhaps being that when looking at the average of those in bands, many of today’s musicians would have gone through the crossover period of popularity between the two genres. While they may have started playing in bands and becoming a part of the metalcore scene during its rise to popularity, it may have been nu metal that got them into heavier music in the first place. It leads to bands that are embracing and combining both genres.
It’s only fair to assume that as well as the musicians themselves, those working behind the scenes with the power to promote and sign bands are of a similar age. Therefore, they can have a commercial eye on the ever-popular metalcore scene while also having a soft spot for the warm memories nu metal once provided for them.
It has led to a number of newer metalcore bands that embrace nu metal being signed. Take, for example, RnB/m0sh crossover band, Issues. A pretty unique proposition in their own right, yet the band’s genre blending has led to them utilising more than a few of their nu metal forefather’s nuances.
While Illinois misery merchants Sworn In‘s nihilistic new album The Death Card is juxtaposed with a slew of jump-da-fuck-up riffs. Alongside this there is also My Ticket Home who have gone from forgettable Rise Records runners up to proudly showing off the impression their Taproot and Spineshank CD collections had on them on new album Strangers Only. As well as Dangerkids Enter Shikari-isms and deathcore vibes sitting alongside some rapping that Mike Shinoda would be proud of.
So it certainly looks like nu metalcore is a thing, and it’s a thing that could potentially be quite popular. While it may seem nostalgic to some of us, we must bear in mind that many of these bands in question’s core fans will be younger and less familiar with nu metal, meaning it is fresh and exciting to them.
Will the amalgamation prove to be as popular as the original nu metal around the turn of the century and manage to crossover to a mainstream audience? It’s still yet to be seen but Bring Me The Horizon’s steady rise and the excitement being generated by Issues, to name but two examples, proves that there is a lot to look forward to.