Love it or hate it, Nu-Metal was one of the most popular genres of music in the late 90s and early 2000s, featuring heavy down tuned guitar, aggressive vocals and lyrics and a lot of attitude. While the genre has largely faded away with the times, there were plenty of iconic artists and songs that are still beloved today.
Here are the top 10 best Nu-Metal bands of all time.
One of the most important yet largely forgotten bands. Static-X was the epitome of Nu-Metal, unfortunately, they didn’t seem to evolve with the times as much as other acts on this list so sadly got left behind with the genre. Lead singer and guitarist Wayne Static sadly passed away in 2014, which meant the end of the band. But, in 2018 the band was reformed as a tribute to Wayne, releasing an album called Project Regeneration Vol. 1 which featured many unfinished songs by Wayne Static, which were then finished by the band and guest vocalists. The band embarked on a tribute tour with a singer called Xer0 filling in for Wayne, wearing a mask that resembled him which some critics called a “creepy Wayne Static cosplay”. The band plans on releasing more music in the future so it will be interesting to see where this project heads in the coming years.
It is hard to think of Nu-Metal without thinking of Disturbed. “Oh wa ah ah ah” has become synonymous with the genre and the sound of it will instantly transport anyone back to the good ol’ days. Disturbed also stayed true to their roots, with their style never really shifting away from what brought them to the dance in the first place. The band is still performing today, with their latest album Evolution releasing in 2018.
At the back end of the Nu-Metal era, Evanescence became instant mega-stars with their song Bring Me To Life. Despite still releasing music today, their latest album was released earlier this year, their popularity seemed to just come and go. Evanescence hit the scene as one of the largest bands, performing in front of tens of thousands of people, and then they just seemed to disappear from the mainstream, which is a shame because they are a fantastic band.
Deftones have become one of the most legendary bands from the era, with influences of the Nu-Metal genre still being seen in their music today, the band even went on to win a Grammy in 2000 for Best Metal Performance. To date, the band has released nine studio albums with their latest Ohms releasing in 2020.
6. Papa Roach
Cut my life into pieces, this is my last resort! Hearing those words will instantly take any fan back to 2001 when Papa Roach first became a household name. Their debut album Infest became one of the most popular albums of the year and that popularity is still seen today, with their song Last Resort currently standing at 632 million plays on Spotify. While the band has largely abandoned their Nu-Metal roots in favour of a more modern and contemporary style, they still remember where they came from and their old music still plays a key role in any live performance that they do.
5. Limp Bizkit
Fred Durst became the poster boy for the Nu-Metal genre, fronting legendary band Limp Bizkit. The band is one of those Marmite bands, you either love them or hate them, but millions certainly loved Limp Bizkit in the early 2000s, with songs such as Rollin’, Break Stuff, and My Generation becoming key tracks in the rise of Nu-Metal. Keep on Rollin’ baby.
When you think of Nu-Metal, Korn is likely to be a band that you think of immediately, with songs such as Freak On A Leash and Blind becoming cult classics in the Nu-Metal genre. Despite the genre largely losing popularity since the mid-2000s, Korn has continued to be influenced by their roots and hints of the genre still appear in every song that they write.
3. System Of A Down
Despite not releasing an album since 2005, System Of A Down remains one of the most popular bands from the Nu-Metal era, with songs such as Chop Suey and Toxicity becoming part of the online meme culture in recent years. The band did surprise fans with some new songs in late-2020 which became instant hits amongst the community, showing that despite the fact no new music has been released in 15 years, they still have millions of fans who are eager to hear them blasting from their speakers again.
2. Linkin Park
When it came to the top spot on this list, Linkin Park could have easily taken that spot too, only placed at second due to them evolving beyond the Nu-Metal and overall Metal style in later years. During the early 2000s Linkin Park rose to prominence with their debut album Hybrid Theory, featuring hit after hit including Papercut, One Step Closer, Point Of Authority, Crawling, and In The End. Hybrid Theory reached number 2 in the Billboard 200 chart, later going on to be certified 12x Platinum in the US, and 5x Platinum in the UK, which shows how influential and popular the album was not only at the time but its lasting legacy and importance.
The band followed on from Hybrid Theory with Platinum album after album, becoming one of the largest touring acts in the world before singer Chester Bennington’s tragic death in 2017. Whether Linkin Park ever performs again with Chester remains to be seen, but even if their time as a band ended in 2017, the legacy they left behind will stand the test of time.
Slipknot was one of the most influential bands of the Nu-Metal era, with songs such as Wait And Bleed, Left Behind, and Spit It Out becoming anthems of the era. The Nu-Metal aggression never left the band as they continued to fly the flag for the next 20+ years, becoming one of the few bands from the era that continue to tour the world and sell out arenas and stadium any time they come to town.
As of 2021, the band is hard at work writing their next studio album, following on from the 2019 smash-hit We Are Not Your Kind. Slipknot show no sign of slowing down any time soon.