It seems like only yesterday that Nu Metal arose and took over the mainstream, but incredibly it’s over 20 years since we first witnessed such a groundbreaking movement within rock and metal that we may not truly see ever again. 1999-2001 was the main period where new bands practically emerged every week, but this year see’s 20th anniversaries for some of the trailblazers that really put Nu Metal in motion.
Happy birthday to these ten records (in order of release date in 1998)-
After his acrimonious departure from Sepultura, Max Cavalera cracked on and formed Soulfly, teamed up with Ross Robinson, and brought out this monster. Released on April 21, ‘Soulfly’ contained the pounding ‘Eye for an ‘Eye’, ‘Bleed’ (featuring Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst and DJ Lethal) and ‘First Commandment’ (featuring Deftones’ Chino Moreno). Groovy metal that included a lot of Sepultura’s worldly sounds, Soulfly’s debut effort deservedly went gold.
Armenian-American nutcases System of a Down introduced themselves with this debut self-titled effort on June 30, and the singles ‘Sugar’ and ‘Spiders’ told you everything you needed to know about a quartet that really weren’t ‘all there’. Regardless, the album would later go platinum and the band would become one of the most popular in metal history.
Released via Roadrunner on July 28, Fear Factory released another concept album that detailed machines taking over humanity. The industrial heavyweights went slightly more mainstream on this one, but the sensational ‘Resurrection’ justified their decision to do so. A cover of Gary Numan’s ‘Cars’ which featured, er, Gary Numan on guest vocals also went down a storm with the accompanying music video.
The granddaddy of them all- Korn’s third album became a Nu Metal classic from the off, cruising straight to number one in the US. The never-get-bored-of-hearing anthems ‘Freak on a Leash’ and Got the Life’ are just insanely good, while Fred Durst turned up on the potty-mouthed ‘All in the Family’ and Ice Cube guested on the awesome ‘Children of the Korn’- proving hip-hop and metal could work just fine. ‘Follow the Leader’ would later go 5x platinum.
It took a while to start motoring but when it did, nothing could stop Kid Rock’s ‘Devil Without a Cause’. Also released on Aug 18, the album picked up momentum upon the release of the powerhouse anthem ‘Bawitdaba’, as rap rock firmly placed itself into the spotlight. Staggeringly, this album would, within five years of its release, be certified 11x platinum.
Aug 18 also saw Orgy debut with ‘Candyass’, released via Korn’s Elementree label. The industrial goth punks became popular with their cover of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’, while the single ‘Stitches’ also helped to endear the band to the Nu Metal masses; as did Korn’s Jonathan Davis’ guest spot on the track ‘Revival’. ‘Candyass’ would soon go platinum.
Godsmack are still hugely popular today, but their self-titled debut effort is still regarded by many as their crowning glory. Metallic riffs with a hint of grunge, The Bostonians had Republic Records behind them which helped put them in the spotlight early on, and songs such as ‘Whatever’ and ‘Keep Away’ proved why the band were so highly thought of. What came next sent Godsmack straight into the major leagues.
Always fitting in with the Nu Metal movement, Marilyn Manson followed up their highly popular ‘Antichrist Superstar’ album with a shift in change towards glam rock, but simply put, ‘Mechanical Animals’ is one of the band’s defining moments.
Coming out on Sept 15, ‘The Dope Show’, Rock Is Dead’ and ‘Coma White’ were brilliant pieces of rock music, and unsurprisingly, due also to their controversial nature, ‘Mechanical Animals’ scored them their first number one album in the US, later going platinum too.
Another industrial entry, Spineshank announced themselves with ‘Strictly Diesel’ on Sept 22, and while guitarist Mike Sarkisyan has said since he felt the album was more like a glorified demo, the record still had high points with the likes of ‘Shinebox’ and a cover of the Beatles’ ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’. It would be two years later, with the emergence of ‘The Height of Callousness’ that Spineshank would truly break out.
Yep, we went there. Cheesy rapper Vanilla Ice revived his career when he got Ross Robinson on board to work on ‘Hard to Swallow’, and the result was a decent slab of rap metal. Released on Oct 20, Amen’s Casey Chaos appeared on the standout songs ‘A.D.D.’ and ‘Fuck Me’, and although the album is still scoffed at by many, at least we saw a more serious side to Ice with some actually fairly decent songs along the way.
Happy birthday to all these records that hit 20 this year.