Nu metal will never die. In fact, if an asteroid ploughed into Earth tomorrow, we’re sure a few copies of Infest, Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavoured Water and Korn’s self-titled would survive as the only proof humanity ever existed. The feverish response to Limp Bizkit’s recent announcement that they would be playing UK shows in 2022 (Manchester and London sold out in minutes) is proof that the nu metal resurgence is in rude health, but the path to baggy jorts immortality is littered with bands that didn’t quite make it. Here are 10 nu metal bands who aren’t, erm, still rollin’ in 2021.
As nu metal’s biggest one-hit wonders, Crazy Town made the most of their 15 minutes of fame. Despite being mauled by critics and fans alike for jumping on the nu metal bandwagon, they managed to shift over a million copies of their debut 1999 album, The Gift of Game, mostly off the back of their worldwide, Red Hot Chili Peppers-sampling hit Butterfly. In comparison, the band’s second album, Darkhorse, bombed, selling a fraction of its predecessor. The video for Butterfly is still peak nu metal though: a vision of ripped torsos, frosted tips and star tattoos that peeled off vocalist Shifty Shellshock’s chest and zoomed about in the air. What a time to be alive.
The Union Underground
Of all the bands on this list, The Union Underground should probably have broken bigger than they did. Their track Across The Nation was the official WWE Raw theme from 2002 to 2006, while the Texans’ only album to date, 2000’s …An Education In Rebellion, had its fair share of bangers. South Texas Deathride merges corrosive guitars with a Nine Inch Nails industrial churn, while Turn Me On Mr Deadman is a nu metal classic that melds Rob Zombie bounce with twisted euphoria and still tears up dance floors today.
Five Pointe O
As another band who signed to Roadrunner Records in 2001 with big dreams of replicating Limp Bizkit or Linkin Park’s success, Five Pointe O were actually one of nu metal’s more interesting propositions. The Illinois septet would only release one album, 2002’s Untitled, but it’s one of nu metal’s lost gems, recalling influences as wide-ranging as At The Drive-In, Rage Against The Machine, System Of A Down and Jane's Addiction. They could teach some of the other bands here a little something about legacy.
By early 2001, nu metal had peaked. Unlucky then for Floridan metallers Skrape, who were snapped up by major label RCA in the nu goldrush, only to release their debut New Killer America in March 2001 to disappointing sales. A shame really, had it been released a few years earlier, single Waste could have become one of the era’s biggest anthems. After the band disbanded, drummer Will Hunt went on to join Evanescence, while frontman Billy Keeton formed grunge-tinged metallers Audiotopsy.
At one point, things were looking pretty good for Amen. At the height of nu metal, the LA metallers were signed to I Am Recordings, the label founded by Korn, Limp Bizkit and Slipknot producer and all-round Godfather of Nu Metal, Ross Robinson, who produced their 1999 self-titled Roadrunner Records debut. Robinson described them as “the most extreme band” he had ever worked with, and returned to helm their third album, We Have Come For Your Parents, which received rave reviews from the metal press. But all the buzz for was for nothing and despite the hype, Amen never really got out of the blocks.
Dry Kill Logic
This New York-based band started life as Hinge, before they were forced to change their name for legal reasons. After switching their moniker to Dry Kill Logic, a phrase they plucked out of the manual for an effects processor, they released their debut, The Darker Side Of Nonsense, which traced the line between Slipknot-esque brutality and Mudvayne’s scattershot penchant for melody. The band would release two more albums and head out on the road with big guns like Fear Factory and Slayer in the noughties, before camp DKL cap went silent. They’re one of the few bands on this list who are still active though, returning in 2019 with single, Vices, their first song in 13 years and releasing the melodic, Don’t See Ghosts last year.
By the end of 2003, the writing was on the wall for nu metal. Limp Bizkit had been chased off stage by a pitchfork-waving Chicago crowd chanting, “Fuck Fred Durst!” and most of the bands who you know aren’t on this list had started putting in the prep to make sure they would survive the genre’s inevitable demise. Still, Florida’s Nonpoint somehow managed to buck the trend. They formed in 1997 but had their biggest success in the mid-late noughties when their single Bullet With A Name was used on the game WWE SmackDown vs Raw 2007, while their cover of Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight has been streamed over 32 million times on Spotify.
After forming in 1998 in Harvard, Massachusetts, Reveille snagged the attention of Metallica’s former label, Elektra Records, and the band released their debut Laced in 1999. Their Rage Against The Machine-influenced sonic assault won them some friends in high places. Cyprus Hill’s B Real turned up on Laced track, Splitt (Coming Out Swingin’), while the band’s follow-up, Bleed The Sky, featured guest spots from fellow nu metal alumni Taproot vocalist Stephen Richards and Cold’s Scooter Ward. Fun fact: Hellraiser director and Candyman visual artist Clive Barker did the Laced cover artwork.
Slaves On Dope
Quebec’s Slaves On Dope had the worst band name in a genre drowning in them, but you can’t fault their enthusiasm. In the mid 90s, when Canada was still immune to nu metal’s charms, then-bassist Frank Salvaggio and drummer Rob Urbani boarded a Greyhound bus for a six-day journey to LA to drum up interest in the band. It paid off. A year later the band signed a deal with Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne’s Divine Recordings, and released 2000’s, Inches From The Mainline. Taking their inspirations from Faith No More and Fear Factory, two influences you can hear in vocalist Jason Rockman’s scatty, jagged vocal approach, they had the potential to mark them out in an oversaturated genre, but it wasn’t to be.
Ill Nino have been around for so long that nu metal has died and been resurrected while the Latino metallers have continued to pump out their Soulfly-lite jams. In that time, the band have been through several line-up changes. Most recently, in 2019, the remaining band members splintered into two bands, both attempting to operate under the Il Nino name and eventually hashing it out in court. Last year it was determined that drummer Dave Chavarri and bassist Laz Pina would be permitted to continue under the Il Nino moniker, and the band’s eighth album, IllMortals, is due for release later this year. Recent single All Or Nothing features fellow nu metal alumnus, Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D..