10 essential nu core bands you need to hear right now

(Image credit: Max Schladen)

Nu core is the sound of nu metal 20 years on. A wave of young bands who were barely even born when Korn, Limp Bizkit emerged are taking this equally loved and reviled genre and turning into something fresh and new. From Tallah and Tetrarch to Ocean Grove and Guerrilla Warfare, here are 10 nu core bands you need to hear right now.


Though Tallah are notable for featuring Mike Portnoy’s son Max on drums, it’s Korn and not Dream Theater that spring to mind when you hear the Pennsylvanian quartet. There’s plenty of Korn-esque seven-string trickery in Derrick Schneider’s playing, while singer Justin Bonitz’ homages to Jonathan Davis’ histrionics are strongly evident. Their debut album Matriphagy is out in October via Earache.



Bouncy rhythms? Check. Eerie harmonies? Check. Songs about self-loathing? Three out of three. The Atlanta natives have been around for some time, but it’s their latest singles, I’m Not Right and Freak, off their upcoming second album Unstable that show an unmistakable adoration for the likes of Hybrid Theory and Issues. And in guitarist Diamond Rowe, they have a guitar hero for the nu core generation.

Ocean Grove

The Melbourne, Australia quartet have two albums under their belts, with 2020’s Flip Phone Fantasy an obnoxious, brash celebration of various turn-of-the-millennium-rock and metal bands. The likes of Junkie$, Ask For The Anthem and Thousand Golden People are chock-full of nu metal’s most successful, outlandish tropes, and are guaranteed to annoy and entertain. 

Guerrilla Warfare

Honoured with being the first band signed to Jason Aalon Butler’s 333 Wreckords Crew, this Kentucky trio are equal parts hardcore bite and nu metal bounce. Check out last year’s C O N S U M E EP for some short blasts of noisy rap metal with enough serrated edge to conjure the nastiest of pits. 


An anonymous Tokyo collective who live up to their mysterious moniker, Darknet’s debut album Morally Flexible acts as a roadmap of heavy music over the last two decades, with elements of metalcore, djent, deathcore and underground noise all making their mark. However, it’s the unmistakable bounce and bullishness on the likes of Bleached and Nos that sees the masked Japanese group join the nu-core ranks. 

Dirty Machine

Proclaiming themselves ‘LA’s Most Hated Band’, Dirty Machine not only revel in the derision that nu metal brought, but boast masks, a prominent DJ and a truckload of belligerent rapping too. Check out Self Made Hero and Against The World to observe their full nu metal swagger, while a cover of Miley Cyrus’ Party In The USA has all the necessary bravado. 


There are a bunch of bands called Omerta but make sure you go looking for these Houston noiseinks. Just one listen to their debut EP Hyperviolence (it’s only 19 minutes long) and you’ll be transported back to the halcyon days of 1999 when Slipknot’s self-titled album blasted through our ears for the first time. It’s frantic, urgent and fairly ridiculous in equal measure.


Part of nu metal’s charm was that many acts were so comically ridiculous you were unsure whether or not they were serious. Take balaclava and bandana-sporting Israeli rap metallers HotBox for example, who tiptoe along the fine line between honouring and satirising the aggro styles of the late 90s. Most of their videos look like a cheap knock off of Nookie, with at least one person being punched in each. 


These Polish rap metallers have been flying the nu metal standard proudly over the last decade, even dropping a ludicrous cover of Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby. Last year’s album Name It could easily have been released in 1999 , kicking off with Most Bida Muzik – a song that namechecks all their favourites from back in the day while sounding uncannily like Hed(PE) and Fred Durst having a frat party. 


While there are hints of Deftones among many bands on this list, Varials are clearly extremely indebted to the Sacramento pioneers. Last year’s second full-length In Darkness is overflowing with floating vocals Chino Moreno made his hallmark on White Pony, backed by the textures and thud of Stephen Carpenter-esque riffs on an eclectic record that elsewhere veers between deathcore and industrial crunch. 

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.