In Defense of Nu-Metal
Welcome to ‘Overground,’ our new semi-regular column in which our friend Angus Jung will argue in favor of the most hated bands in metal: the most successful bands in metal. Hopefully, his blogs will help you appreciate some of the music that routinely gets trounced here at MetalSucks. And if nothing else, they should give you yet another excuse to mouth off in the comments section. Enjoy!
Yesterday, Korn’s Jonathan Davis revealed that the band is planning to play their landmark 1994 self-titled debut in its entirety at some upcoming festivals. This news wasn’t just great, it was historic, because Davis claimed that the band will even play “Daddy,” a song they’ve never performed before on account of the severe emotional toll doing so would take on the singer (the lyrics are as dark as anything Cannibal Corpse have ever written, if not as explicit).
But MetalSucks’ stance on nu-metal has predominantly been one of militant hatred. And so it wasn’t surprising that MS’ own co-EiC, Axl Rosenberg, did not view Korn’s announcement as “great” or “historic.” Instead, he compared the release of Korn to 9/11, and insinuated that the length of “Daddy” would induce a mass-suicide.
I’ve known Axl for awhile now, and I know he loves to exaggerate for the sake of comedic effect, but, surely, this marked the nadir of MetalSucks’ attack on nu-metal.
Of what crime, I wonder, is nu-metal so guilty? I mean, what really makes it SO much worse than any other genre of metal?
Is it the way the bands look? Because as their pen names would suggest, Axl and Vince are fans of Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue, who they’ve often referred to as their “gateway bands” — the bands whose music eventually led them to the heavier stuff they now love so very much (Pig Destroyer, Gojira, etc.). But are these fashion choices…
When you get right down to it, all bands adopt some kind of look. And it’s all an affectation to some extent or another. Every metallic subgenre has its own “uniform.” See?
And it’s not even unique to metal!
And it’s okay that this is all an affectation! You know why? Because musical is theatrical! And music has always been theatrical!
…but this is considered lame?
Okay, so it can’t be the way nu-metal bands dress that disgusts Vince and Axl so very much. Is it the music itself? Well, what about the music is SO terrible? I might believe it were the rapping alone, if not for the fact that the same people who hate Limp Bizkit love this band:
I’ve heard Axl argue that the difference between Rage Against the Machine and Saliva is that Zack de la Rocha has superior flow to Josey Scott. But Mike Patton’s flow isn’t superior to anyone’s. You cannot argue that Fred Durst and Corey Taylor are bad rappers but argue that Mike Patton is a good rapper. They are all at an equal level of rapping ability. So it can’t be the rapping.
Is the screaming not growly enough for nu-metal’s detractors? Because they always seem to ignore the fact that Suicide Silence are basically just Korn with Cookie Monster vocals and more double kick-drums.
Is it because nu-metal musicians are (allegedly) bad at playing their instruments, or because their music is (allegedly) too simple? For one thing, that’s an unfairly broad generalization. There are plenty of nu-metal musicians who are masters of their instrument (Ray Luzier from Korn, Morgan Rose from Sevendust, Ryan Martinie from Mudvayne, every member of System of a Down, etc.) and plenty of non-nu-metal musicians who are not masters of their instrument (Lars Ulrich from Metallica, Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue, Trivium’s first drummer, every member of Poison, etc.). And as Vince and Axl love to point out, we now live in an era where technology can give the appearance of musical skill where there is none… and that technology is being abused by bands in ALL subgenres of heavy metal, not just nu-metal.
And for another thing… so what if the music is simple? You know what other pieces of music were fairly simple?
I think I’ve made my point. You don’t have to like Korn, Limp Bizkit, or any nu-metal band. But you can’t argue that nu-metal is any sillier or stupider than any other form of metal. Dope and P.O.D. have every bit as much validity as gateway bands as Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue. Maybe it’s time for the metal community to find a new punching bag.