Paolo Gregoletto: Nu-Metal – Revered or Reviled? The Top Ten

Trivium‘s Paolo Gregoletto sat down with us to talk about the cult of nu-metal, how it affected him, and to find out which tracks made his “Nu-list.”


The summer of 1999, with its JNCO jeans, ball chain necklaces, candy bracelets, masked bands, fishnet shirts, and a “nu” sub genre in full bloom. There was a new guard posing on the magazine covers like Cirus or Hit Parade, pushing back against grunge and the hold outs from the 1980s. These dudes and chicks where about to “freak” and shit was gonna get real whether we wanted it or not – and MANY wanted it. This was the height of the almighty CD, Active Rock radio, and enough major press to push many of these bands into the stratosphere, where quite a few of them reside to this day.

I was skeptical at first. Gone were the solos and songs about nuclear winters that my beloved thrash bands expounded upon. “Nu” songs featured simplistic riffs detuned to foreign letters in the alphabet, a heavy focus on groove, and more introspective lyrics. Although these traits do not apply to every band from this era, they were more common than not.

Thankfully, the current nu-metal renaissance has left the misshapen clothing behind and allows us to view the music from a fresh perspective. What the hell was everyone thinking wearing that shit?

Since Slipknot, Linkin Park, and System of a Down have been rewarded greatly by the listicle gods, I have decided to exclude them from my own.

 

Paolo’s Top 10 Nu-metal Tracks (94-04)

1) Sepultura – “Roots Bloody Roots”

I discovered Chaos A.D. in the bargain bin of a flea market for a dollar. Not long after that discovery, Roots was released. The riff, drums, bass, and vocals are hypnotically heavy. JAM THIS SHIT LOUD!

2) Korn – “A.D.I.D.A.S.”

Trivium has played with Korn many times over the year and I’ve yet to hear this song live. Life is Peachy is my Korn album. It’s darker and at times more melancholic than the debut. “All Day I Dream About Sex, All Day I Dream About Fucking” – Only Korn could pull this off.

3) Limp Bizkit – “Counterfeit”

I LOVE the baseline in the verse. Sam Rivers lays it down over a great groove, before it all breaks down into one of the heaviest chorus lines of the 90s, “Fake! You’re a Counterfeit!”

4) Fear Factory – “Edgecrusher”

Mechanical. Punishing. Brutal. Not the typical words to describe bands from this era, but Fear Factory is unlike any other band. Classic song!

5) Stabbing Westward – “Save Yourself”

Here is one from left field. The goth-y dance intro and almost Nine Inch Nails-like use of electronics made this song stand out to me when I first heard it on the radio. The hook: “I can not save you, I can’t even save myself” is so catchy!

6) Sevendust – “Denial”

This tune has some epic grooves and harmonies, but it’s the ease in which the dynamics come and go that make it so infectious. Sevendust is one of the best live bands going too!

7) Static X – “Push It”

Tight metal guitar riffs over a driving 4/4 beat. #EvilDisco

8) Disturbed – “Down WIth The Sickness”

The first four songs on The Sickness are all favorites of mine, but I had to go with Down With The Sickness. A drum hook, a riff hook, and of course THE vocal hook. When I saw these dudes at a local radio fest in 2000 and heard this song, I was sold.

9) Mudvayne – “Dig”

Another amazing bass line! This song is intense as fuck and still holds up to this day.

10) Nonpoint – “What A Day”

My fellow south Floridians!  Nonpoint, a band deserving of recognition, are often overlooked by the constraints of a “Top 10” list. I recommend this song and album as a great starting point for anyone new to these dudes. This song always sets it off live!

Honorable Mention – Slayer – “Stain of Mind”

Slayer ain’t nu-metal at all! However, this song and album feature some detuned riffs over bouncy drumming at points, while retaining the hallmarks of Slayer: evil harmonies, maniacal yelling, and lyrical blood lust.


So, would you agree with Paolo’s toplist? Which tracks would make your top ten nu-metal cuts? Let us know in the comments!

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About Ken Barnes 120 Articles
Ken has been a gamer since 1986, and is a fan of all things retro. He's also a big fan of metal, and has clown hair.

6 Comments

  1. I never thought about Fear Factory as NU-metal, and I can’t stand Limp Bizkit, but for the rest I can only agree these are great songs that simply made an era!

  2. I thought “Down With The Sickness” was the worst song on that album. “Voices”, “Stupify”, and album cut “Dropping Plates” were the standouts on that one for me.

  3. This article is not about if a BAND is nu-metal or not, is about certain songs that actually were nu-metal at that time (of course Slayer, FF or Sepultura aren’t nu-metal but hey, they released albums in that line at the time)

    • Roots is completely nu metal. The guitar riffs are entirely Korn and Deftones influenced. Max even said so in his autobiography he was inspired by that sound. Diabolus is also a nu metal album. Fear Factory I agree, they were a key influence on nu metal but I don’t believe they played that style.

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