10 Albums That Remind Us Why Nü Metal F*cking Sucked
Depending on what year you start counting, we’re about 25 years removed from the start of the nü metal boom. With that comes nostalgia, which is understandable—albums like Slipknot, Hybrid Theory and Life is Peachy are all valuable inclusions in the canon and worthy of revisiting.
The problem with nü metal is that it created a feeding frenzy for artists and labels who all wanted to tap in to the next big thing. While a few of those bands did actually find a foothold, most of them didn’t and we were left with one of the most controversial heavy music genres of all time, which is why we’re celebrating the albums that remind you exactly why nü metal fucking sucked.
Diabolus in Musica (1998)
Diabolus is definitely not in the top 10 worst nü metal albums to come out, even if it is a pretty terrible release by thrash legends, surpassed only by Lulu, Risk, Super Collider and Catharsis. Still, Diabolus is a perfect example of why nü metal fucking sucked: one of the greatest thrash metal bands of all time lowered themselves to this level in order to try to stay relevant with the times and not lose out to the Slipknot wave. At least they’d figure out those influences in a more compelling way on their next two albums, God Hates Us All and Christ Illusion.
The Gift of Game (1999)
As much as it’s easy to decry the entire genre of nü metal, it’s important to note that the genre did have some good ideas and it did push heavy music forward into its next iterations. Crazy Town had none of those good ideas on The Gift of Game, a half-baked collection of shitty rapping over generic beats and “Jumpdafukup!” riffs. The only thing The Gift of Game has going for it is the inclusion of the single “Butterfly,” which has over 300 million plays on Spotify today.
The Path of Totality (2011)
How do you show the cracks in your songwriting and aging band most effectively? By making a combination nü metal and dubstep album. Despite Jonathan Davis’ claims that they “didn’t make a dubstep album. We made a Korn album,” they totally made a dubstep album. They featured Skrillex, Excision, Noisia and other prominent names, but the combination of sounds just never worked. The most frustrating thing about The Path of Totality is that Korn have the ability to make innovative, compelling music but their 2011 effort just feels like a bid for relevancy as EDM rose in mainstream popularity.
Felons & Revolutionaries (1999)
Despite its state as a nascent genre in 1999, Dope‘s Felons & Revolutionaries embodies most of nü metal’s worst qualities, from bad scratching to mumble rapping to nasally vocals and muddy, aimless guitars. Felons & Revolutionaries is marred by a bad production job and even the upbeat, Godflesh-esque parts have a lethargic pacing.
Swan Songs (2008)
Swan Songs, and Hollywood Undead in general, is like the logical conclusion to kids growing up with nü metal and trying to make their own. The six-man crew had some of the most obnoxious personalities to grace the scene at the time, combining ridiculous tracks like “Everywhere I Go” with not-hard-at-all songs like “Undead” and “California.” “Young” was probably your AIM away message if you were a teen in the 2010s.
Devil Without a Cause (1998)
After talking about some of the modern atrocities, it’s important to think of our founding fathers. Devil Without a Cause is Kid Rock’s nü-metal opus and it really calls the taste of the American public into question since the record sold a whopping 15-million copies.
Here’s the problem: Who was this for? Combining fake redneck swag with the attitude of a rockstar and the bars of a rapper might have seemed a novel idea at the time but it’s aged like sour milk. One listen to Devil Without a Cause will give you a pretty good idea how we got the country Kid Rock we have today.
Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (2000)
Before you send me death threats for this one, go back and listen to Chocolate Starfish front to back. There are a few solid moments on the album, but by and large it serves as a reminder of how corny nü metal got: tons of stupid musical and lyrical references to more talented artists, lifted Nine Inch Nails lyrics and even a wasted DJ Premier feature. How are you a rap-metal band that features the best producer of all time on a track and STILL make it bad?
It’s hard to think of a reason that anyone cared about Deadsy beyond the fact that frontman Elijah Blue Allman is the son of Greg Allman and Cher, which makes him a nepo baby before we abused that word on Twitter. The band’s album, Commencement, was released via Jonathan Davis‘ label Elementree Records and distributed via Dreamworks, so there were high hopes for the band but they never materialized and the band broke up after a few appearances on the Family Values Tour and a Deftones co-headliner. They reformed in 2018, stylizing their name as DÆDSY, but they haven’t actually done anything since.
Methods of Mayhem
Methods of Mayhem (1999)
There’s no question that Tommy Lee is a talented musician, like the rest of his Mötley Crüe bandmates, but he doesn’t always use his creativity for good. That goes for the dick pics but also for Methods of Mayhem, who released their first album in 1999. Lee brought in an impressive team of rappers to feature on the album: U-God, Snoop Dogg, Lil’ Kim, plus features from Fred Durst, Kid Rock, George Clinton and numerous others. You probably remember the hit song “Get Naked” but the rest of Lee’s post-divorce therapy project is better left unremembered. They were supposed to make a new album in 2019, but no progress has been shared.
Only in Amerika (2005)
“Foreplay,” the opening track to Hed(P.E.)‘s Only in Amerika, is one of the most absurd album openers of the genre, jumping into an explicit sexual tale. Unfortunately, that’s preferable to what comes next, which includes lyrics like “You’re not punk rock / You’re more like a punk trik / You corporate motherfuckers all suck a dick / I’m an anti-motherfuckin social independent.”
Who know that there was something worse than Hed(P.E.)’s 9/11 truther era?