with DeadSun

You've seen him in Fan Speak all around the antiMUSIC network, now DeadSun gets his big show as the host of his very own talk show,  The Not Quite-So DeadShow ! Forget Oprah and Dr. Phil, DeadSun knows how to liven up a talk show. 

.

disclaimer for lawyers and dumbasses:
Please read the disclaimer before proceeding with this article. the disclaimer is included here-in by reference.
If you are under the age of 17, this article is not meant for you so please bugger off.
For those too lazy to click what follows is parody and celebrity a**holes are impersonated
.

Nu Metal: Where Did it Go Wrong?

Nu metal is dying.

In fact, the signs indicating that it was on its last leg started to linger around 2003, when record sales from the ubiquitous, big money acts began to dwindle. What happened? I suppose the answer lies buried somewhere in between the culmination of the style, and it having been a frequent target of acute criticism from heavy metal fans worldwide. Simply stated: a lot of people, especially long term fans of metal, had it in for nu metal from the beginning. So what exactly is it about nu metal that so many take issue with? Does the evidence of its (comparatively speaking) decline in mass-popularity vindicate those who have--- all along--- not only put nu metal down as wanting in technique, but adamantly declared much of it to be little more than the latest hatchling from the minds of market analysts? In this month's editorial, I intend to explore the possible answers to these questions, and I intend to do so as fairly as possible.

"Nu metal"--- we've all heard it before. The phrase itself is generally acknowledged to have been coined by Korn frontman Jonathan Davis, to describe an (at that time) emerging sound/style--- what he referred to as "new URBAN metal". 

This novel coinage of Davis' begs a question. Why the inclusion of the word "urban"? In my mind, this leads to even more questions. Was metal, prior to the mid-1990's, somehow "un-urban"? This inference seems ridiculous on its face. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but didn't bands like Metallica, Slayer, and Exodus cut their teeth in the Bay Area of California? Didn't Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and Motorhead plant their gardens in British cities like Birmingham, London, and Manchester? Can it get much more "urban" than San Francisco or Birmingham?

Of course, I'm being coy. "Urban", in this case, was Davis' euphemistic substitute for hip hop culture, something that nu metal has hitherto been rife with--- whether this is "good" or "bad" is a judgment that can only be left to the devices of the individual. The point is this--- from its inception, the name itself was intentionally obscure, however the impressions soon became palpable enough; oversized pants, the pimp-esque jogging suits, the gold chains, the sideways baseball hats, vocals offered up in rap format, the presence of the obligatory "kicker-box beat", the absence of noteable guitar presence in favor of beefed up basslines, the employment of a DJ, etc.

... and all the while, most metal fans were scratching their heads. I was one of them. Record executives weren't, though. During the mid-1990's, they were all-too aware of hip hop's growing market share and--- let us not forget--- hip hop's relatively low production costs. I believe the search went out for cross-over acts who could potentially tap into the hard rock and heavy metal markets. These markets were observably hung over from the enormity of the early 90's "grunge" swell which, by that time, had begun to recede. Even still--- the alternative rock explosion of the late 80's/early 90's offered up much more than whatever was coming out of Seattle at the time--- and in a few exceptionally rare instances, the labels took notice as MTV took notice.

Enter the band Faith No More, and their blockbuster video for the genre-bending song "Epic".

Considered by most to be the earliest crystallization of nu metal, "Epic" was (unfortunately for a truly avant-garde outfit like Faith No More) the model prototype of what more than a few AR label recruiters were looking to tap. And tap they did. That is not to put forward the idea that Faith No More was the sole catalyst behind what ultimately morphed into the nu metal of Jonathan Davis' description. Quite the contrary. 

One can, with little effort of thought, hear the seeds of nu metal being formulated in the earlier works of bands like Godflesh, Helmet, Faith No More, Rage Against the Machine, Sepultura (Chaos AD and Roots in particular), the Melvins, and even the Swans--- at least from the heavier, musical side of things. What we somehow ended up with, by the late 1990's, was Korn, Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach, Linkin' Park, Deftones, Crazy Town, et al. With that taken into account, I often find myself bewildered that nu metal evolved the way it did. My ears tell me that the resulting product did not proceed logically from its root sources of inspiration, almost like a tree that grows in the shape of a letter "Z". I have often--- to the shock and consternation of many a metalhead--- put forward the notion that nu metal might have evolved into something that was more than just a novelty act with generic (and hence) popular appeal and a "tuff" name, had it opted for the avant-garde mission statement of bands like Godflesh, Melvins, and Faith No More. Instead, it collectively aligned itself with the most transparent gimmicks associated with mainstream hip hop culture--- just look around. It isn't difficult to see the blatant level of saturation. Bad move. Metal fans don't tend to jump the trains of popular trend, all because a few marketing drones dangle a glossy video before them. 

This did nothing but repel them. 

How unsurprising, then, that the greater part of the fanbase which nu metal sought out and ultimately attracted are consummate trend hoppers, who--- even the TOP end of the spectrum--- typically have a four year attention span for something, until they race off to latch onto the next "like, uber hot" novelty. This calls to mind the similar, self-inflicted fate that dealt glam metal a death blow by the dawn of the 1990's. Once again, the artists took the easy bait. Now sales are winding down. People are losing interest. Too bad. Maybe there would have been fewer platinum albums along the way, but if nu metal acts had taken a more creative, substantive approach to structure and style, it might not have found itself--- in mere few years--- relegated to obscurity, only occasionally resurrected to serve as a punchline. So much for doing what is best to preserve in earnest. 

It is interesting that, among its fans--- I've noticed that the phrase "nu metal" has lately become a dirty word of sorts--- another indication that portends its pending demise. All of a sudden, people go on the defensive when a band is referred to as a nu metal band. Have you noticed that in many instances--- to its fans--- "nu metal" is no longer a viable classification, but when administered, is now viewed as a negative stereotype? Clearly, a shift in perception has taken place since the late 1990's. Many now prefer to bury nu metal underneath the misleading term "alternative metal". Be on the lookout for that one, because it's coming into vogue. This falls under that age old magic trick: "If we call it something else, people will believe that it is something else." It isn't alternative metal. I also find it curious that, to my knowledge, nobody seemed to mind the classification so long as sales were booming, and advertising one's music as "nu metal" meant a better chance at getting noticed by a big label. So what's different between THEN and NOW?

This is fairly black and white--- nu metal is running out of steam, and those who oil the gears are looking for ways to wring a few more years out of it. Renaming it is one such way.

Therein lies the problem--- if nu metal is going to stay alive, cosmetic changes aren't going to be the solution. Changes need to take place within the music. 

The sound needs to break its mould. 

Will it?

It's doubtful.

DS
 
 
 
 


advertisement

advertisement

News Reports
Day in Rock:
AC/DC's Phil Rudd Plans Sidelined By Heart Attack Recovery- Ritchie Blackmore's 2016 Rainbow Shows Set For Release- Airbourne's Joel O'Keeffe Injured In Stage Fall- more

Korn Preview Corey Taylor Collaboration Song- King Conquer's Brodie Wheeler Dies- Original Halloween Director Slams Rob Zombie- New Metallica Song Inspired By Lemmy- more

Metallica Release 'Moth Into Flame' Video- Eagles May Play Again Says Don Henley- 30 People Arrested At Ozzfest Meets Knotfest's First Day- Megadeth Release New Video- more

Day in Pop:
Jimmy Page Feud Reignited By Robbie Williams- Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne 'Back On Track'- KISS, Eminem, Linkin Park Team Up for NFL Team T-shirt Line- Backstreet Boys- more

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Rapper Struck In Face By Drone- Garth Brooks Scores His Seventh 10 Millionth Selling Album- Video From Green Day's Club Tour Kick Off Goes Online- more

Aaron Lewis Scores No. 1 Album- Adele Believes Smoking Helped Her Sing- Drake Releases Short Film 'Please Forgive Me'- Justin Timberlake Remembers Arnold Palmer- more

advertisement


Reviews

Dio - Holy Diver

Rock Reads: Dynamic Song Performance: The Singers Bible

Iron Savior - Titancraft

Root 66: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver - Burden Bearer

Suidakra - Realms of Odoric

On The Record: Motosierra

Gravitysays_i - Quantum Unknown

Road Trip: Odysea Aquarium Making A Splash In Scottsdale, AZ

TBT: The Mars Volta - Frances The Mute

Root 66 Ladies Edition: Annika Chambers, Gabrielle Louise, Tami Neilson, Carrie Newcomer

Winter Calling - FACES

Dinosaur Pile-Up - Eleven Eleven

Mike Campese - Chapters

Coffin Dust - Everything is Dead

On The Record: Kate Fagan - I Don't Wanna Be Too Cool

The Tigerlillies - 123456 EP

Road Trip: Swaziland Part 3- The Best Places to Stay

Mutants of the Monster: A Tribute to Black Oak Arkansas

Root 66: Stony Plain Records Label Showcase

Jim Peterik - The Songs

RockPile: Prog Edition- Gong, MJ12, Armonite more

Rock News Stories
AC/DC's Phil Rudd Plans Sidelined By Heart Attack Recovery

Ritchie Blackmore's 2016 Rainbow Shows Set For Release

Airbourne's Joel O'Keeffe Injured In Stage Fall

Metallica's Lars Ulrich Remembers Cliff Burton

Joe Lynn Turner's New Album Features Impressive List Of Guests

The Mission Stream Full New Album 'Another Fall From Grace'

Dance Gavin Dance Release Animated 'Young Robot' Video

Dio Hologram Performance Was Nerve-Racking For Simon Write

Red Fang Stream New Song 'Not For You'

Former Quartz singer Mike 'Taylor Dies

The Agonist Release 'The Hunt' Video

Roy Orbison Biopic Is In The Works

Keith Richards Talks 'Sympathy For The Devil' Evolution On Guitar Moves

Testament Discuss 'Brotherhood Of The Snake' Themes In New Trailer

Grim Reaper Return With New Album and Tour

Crippled Black Phoenix Stream New Song 'Winning A Losing Battle'

Stooges Documentary 'Gimme Danger' Trailer Goes Online

Beth Hart Streams New Song 'Love Is A Lie'

Singled Out: State Of Mine's Curtain Call

more

B-Side Stories
Jimmy Page Feud Reignited By Robbie Williams

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne 'Back On Track'

KISS, Eminem, Linkin Park Team Up for NFL Team T-shirt Line

Backstreet Boys Announce Las Vegas Residency

3 Doors Down Complete Lineup For Charlie Daniels' Volunteer Jam

Thomas Rhett Announces His First Headline Tour

Andrew W.K. Releases New App, Guests On MAKJ Single

Ed Sheeran Wins Auction For Pig Statue of Himself

Miranda Lambert's Pink Pistol Block Party Announced

DJ Khaled Releasing A Book Entitled 'The Keys'

Dierks Bentley and Maren Morris Duet At Red Rocks

Korn's Jonathan Davis Answers Alice Cooper's Life's Greatest Questions

Solange Releasing New Album 'A Seat At the Table' This Week

Vogue Gives George Michael's 'Freedom '90' Video A Facelift

Meek Mill and Drake's Feud Sparked Over Nicki Minaj?

more



Follow Us:

Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2016 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved.

Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.