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The 50 best nu metal albums of all time

30. Soulfly - Soulfly (1998)

Forged in the wake of turmoil – Max Cavalera had not only left Sepultura, but had also recently lost his son – the emotional charge of this album is huge and overpowering in places. The Brazilian world music experiments of Sepultura’s Roots era are taken to their logical conclusion and with the ubiquitous Ross Robinson producing, the speaker-trashing low-end rumble is so earth-shakingly heavy it feels like you’re listening to the metal equivalent of shifting plate tectonics. 


29. Snot - Get Some (1997)

In 1997 nu-metal was barely out of infancy, and was yet to produce the cavalcade of characters that it became known for, which makes the fact that we only had a brief moment with Snot all the more galling. Debut album Get Some is full of funk rock perfection, punk attitude and the kind of riffs Wes Borland would sell his granny for. It was all tied together by the imperious presence of frontman Lynn Strait, and those in the know knew he was a star in the making: sadly his death from a traffic collision a year later meant it never happened.


28. Staind - Break The Cycle (2001)

Nu metal might have replaced grunge at the top of the rock/metal totem pole after 1995, but the flannel influences remained well into the new millennium. Staind bridged the gap between Nickelback and Deftones, melding down-tuned riffs with emotionally-charged choruses with platinum-selling results. Outside and Its Been Awhile remain absolute bangers.


27. Disturbed - Ten Thousand Fists (2005)

Disturbed had already toyed with covers of Tears For Fears' Shout and Metallica's Fade To Black, but arguably it was their pounding rendition of Genesis's Land Of Confusion on Ten Thousand Fists that really saw them hit their stride, setting the stage for their later smash-success with Sound Of Silence. Ten Thousand Fists also marked the last time Disturbed properly inhabited nu metal territory, producing some top-tier songs in the form of the title-track, Forgiven and Stricken


26. Drowning Pool - Sinner (2001)

Drowning Pool had been toiling away in Texas and the American South for five years by the time they put out Sinner. That time wasn't wasted; most of the material on their debut album Sinner had been extensively road-tested and the resulting material sizzles with urgent energy. The crown jewel was their breakout radio hit Bodies, which remains one of metal's most iconic post-2000 anthems. Concurrent appearances at Ozzfest spelled great things for Drowning Pool, but the untimely death of singer Dave Williams all-but halted their momentum before they'd truly got started. 


25. P.O.D. - Satellite (2001)

Devout Christians P.O.D. were outliers in the musical Sodom and Gomorrah that was the turn-of-the-millennium nu metal scene. But the San Diego four-piece’s fourth album – release, inauspiciously, on September 11. 2001 – wore its faith lightly. The depth-charge boom of opener Rise and soaring single Alive proved they could mix it up with the godless heathens around them, but it was stirring, kids’ choir-assisted anthem Youth Of The Nation that turned them into a beacon of hope in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.


24. Incubus – S.C.I.E.N.C.E (1997)

Surely one of the most diverse-sounding bands in nu metal, Incubus owe a great deal to the pioneering spirit of Faith No More, not least in the silky vocal stylings of Brandon Boyd and the left-field inventiveness with a high premium placed on strong melodies and instant hooks. S.C.I.E.N.C.E. was the sound of a band clearly developing into a world-class act, and includes a number of tunes that still pop up in Incubus’s live shows nearly two decades on: Vitamin, Idiot Box and A Certain Shade Of Green. For real feel-good innovation and a distinctly weird sense of humour, this record is pretty hard to beat.


23. Coal Chamber - Coal Chamber (1997)

With their churning, primal debut album Coal Chamber captured the nu metal zeitgeist almost perfectly. The thick, grinding riffage was an ideal foil to Dez Fafara’s sometimes whispered, sometimes shrieked psycho-dramas, and ensured that with the likes of the hypnotic Sway and scorching trump card Loco they cornered the market in heavy music for spooky kids.


22. Static X – Wisconsin Death Trip (1999)

Maverick of hair and extravagant of beard, Static-X were a cartoon Ministry for the nu metal generation. Lacking both Korn’s self-lacerating angst and Limp Bizkit’s obnoxious bro-dom, the Chicagoans’ debut album was never designed to be taken seriously. But Wisconsin Death Trip was a blast all the same - a glorious rush of grinding riffs and squelching electronics, with the much-missed Wayne Static howling about losers and serial killers like a swarm of hornets trapped in a wind tunnel. 


21. Deftones - Adrenaline (1995)

One of the great debuts of the 90s. Nu metal wasn’t a thing until Korn and Deftones arrived on the scene and changed everything. Whilst both bands were responsible for shifting metal’s aesthetics, Korn dealt purely in nihilism, pain and brutality. With Adrenaline, Deftones showcased influences from gangster rap to skate punk. Songs like Bored and 7 Words became anthems of youthful alienation for a whole new group of kids, who were bored of grunge and wanted their own sound. They soon got it.

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