"Nu metal content makes people feel a part of a community": How TikTok is helping nu metal's comeback

Limp Bizkit Gunnersbury Park 2023
(Image credit: Press/Jake Owens)

Nu metal had been threatening to return for years. Limp Bizkit’s 2009 reunion was a catalyst, spawning a huge wave of nostalgia. Over the following decade, bands such as Cane Hill, Ocean Grove, Tetrarch and Tallah began to emerge, while well-known metalcore acts like Of Mice & Men and Stray From The Path turned to the often-reviled music of their youth. 

The genre that dared not speak its name huffed and puffed in the background, but it was in 2023 that it truly broke again. The Sick New World Festival in Las Vegas was a pivotal moment, the line-up reading like a Who’s Who of OG Nu Metal: Korn, System Of A Down, Incubus, Evanescence, Papa Roach. 

“There’s definitely a resurgence of it,” said Kittie’s Morgan Lander, whose band also played. “It didn’t really go away… it just took a bunch of kids whose parents grew up listening to that music to get old enough to like it.” 

While the festival did attract Gen Xers and elder millennials who’d been there the first time round, it also brought hordes of teens and 20-somethings, often watching bands who’d peaked before they were born. 

Social media, and especially TikTok, has played a major role in this Nu Metal 2.0 resurgence. Kriss Krypt from Toronto is 19 and has 90K followers. Her TikTok bio declares that ‘nu metal isn’t a phase, it’s a lifestyle’. 

“TikTok is incredibly important for fandoms because it is a space to connect with likeminded individuals,” she says. “Nu metal content that’s posted is usually relatable, which makes people feel a part of a community. I’m so lucky to have been able to find a community of nu metal-loving mall goths online.” 

Mad Kelly agrees: “TikTok is a very strange place but it gets everything out there that you don’t see anywhere else, especially nu metal,” he says. 

The Floridian multi-instrumentalist is one of a new breed of nu metal-influenced artists using social media and home recording tech to create and connect without the lumbering mechanisms of the recording industry getting in the way. 

“You’ve got to move on with the best genre in the world. Check out people like Deijuvhs and Kim Dracula. It isn’t just hip hop and metal mixed together, with nu metal you can literally add anything.” 

And this rush of fresh blood and ideas is vital if a nu metal resurgence is to be anything other than vicarious nostalgia. In the UK, the likes of Wargasm are also mixing elements of nu metal with different ingredients, making something new and exciting – and winning the approval of Fred Durst in the process. 

Others like the masked Blackgold are more overt in their influences, and scene daddies like Limp Bizkit and Korn still loom large. So is nu metal in 2023 an exercise in nostalgia, an ironic trend or something genuinely inspiring? Probably a mix of all three… 

“It’s funny because it was such a hated scene back in the day,” Mad Kelly reflects. “Then it became cool and now it’s already coming back to being hated again. But that’s what gives it its power and propels it for a lot of people.”

The second Sick New World is due to take place April 27 2024. For the full line-up and tickets, visit the official website

Paul Travers has spent the best part of three decades writing about punk rock, heavy metal, and every associated sub-genre for the UK's biggest rock magazines, including Kerrang! and Metal Hammer