The 40 best nu metal songs of all time

20) Adema – Giving In

Adema frontman Marky Chavez was vaguely related to Jonathan Davis and suffered with Korn comparisons for years. In truth, though, Giving In actually bears more resemblance to an angrier, depressed Linkin Park than it does the Bakersfield boys.

19) Hoobastank – Crawling In The Dark

Crawling In The Dark has tempo changes so killer that they’d make System Of A Down jelly. The band may have a name that sounds a bit like ‘whose balls shrank?’ but there’s no doubt that this is a serious tune.

18) Crazy Town – Butterfly

The moment nu-metal jumped the shark so hard that it ended up in orbit. Nu-metal was a genre that had its tongue buried in its cheek and was prepared to never take itself too seriously, but when Crazy Town scored a number one single with the kind of cringe worthy shit that could be a Robin Thicke song, everyone was offended. People that liked nu-metal and people that hated nu-metal could agree that this joke wasn’t funny anymore but Crazy Town’s number one lives long in the memory for all the wrong reasons… kind of like the way people still talk about David Arquette winning the WCW title. A surprising one-hit wonder, Butterfly was a mellow, oddly sensitive, RHCP-sampling smash for Crazy Town that could have turned them into stars… if they hadn’t followed it up with the dire Revolving Door. Still, its place in nu-metal history can be neither ignored nor denied.

17) Limp Bizkit – Rollin’

If there was an image that springs to mind for Christmas, it’d probably be Father Christmas chilling with some elves and snowmen and living the life on milk and cookies. If nu-metal had an image, it’d be Fred Durst in his backwards red baseball cap, doing the Rollin’ dance and surrounded by dancers doing it like we’ve all done a million times after too many double vodkas. Gloriously and wilfully obnoxious at all times and with a Greatest Hits selection that will take the party challenge with any band you want to mention, Limp Bizkit will always be the jewel in the nu-metal crown.

16) Korn – Freak On A Leash

By the time this single dropped, Korn had gone from underground darlings to million-selling rock stars and delivered an all-time classic video that once again raised the bar for every other nu-metal act.

15) Coal Chamber – Loco

This track is still a rock-club floor-filler to this very day. Juddering guitars, propulsive groove and Dez’s signature Cookie Monster growl are the order of the day as Coal Chamber’s standout moment made them overnight heroes.

14) Slipknot – Wait And Bleed

Slipknot were far heavier than the average nu-metal band but they still had an ear for a chorus, thanks to Corey Taylor’s then‑unheard melodic vocals. It still scared the shit out of TFI Friday viewers, mind.

13) Kid Rock – American Badass

Pretty much the perfect encapsulation of the nu-metal ideology. Yeah, a white redneck guy can rap over the top of one of the most iconic riffs of the biggest metal band of all time. And what?!

12) Mudvayne – Dig

Melding Slipknot heaviness with Tool’s polyrhythmic musical proficiency, Mudvayne carved a name for themselves with this banger. Add in the slappiest bass this side of a Primus jam session and you’re looking at a pit‑starter of the highest order.

11) American Head Charge – Just So You Know

With nu-metal reaching its commercial and most sanitised zenith, a group of loonies named American Head Charge arrived and threw everything sinister into this dark, creepy, synth-heavy pounder.

10) Disturbed – Down With The Sickness

One of nu metal’s most unique voices, David Draiman didn’t really do rapping or much singing. He did sound a bit like an angry monkey though, and his primate call on this stormer resulted in a truly iconic moment.

9) Drowning Pool – Bodies

Bringing a touch of whisky-slurping redneck to the table, Drowning Pool delivered an aural DDT of a track for those fans who were craving something a little more old-school with their nu-metal.

8) Alien Ant Farm – Movies

Best remembered for ruining Michael Jackson songs and having a foolishly gurning bass player, it’s a shame people forget AAF could craft perfect and intelligent poppy nu-metal killers such as Movies.

7) Deftones – Back To School

They may distance themselves from the term ‘nu metal’ but they were undoubtedly so here. This is all thick grooves and hip hop lyrical flow, showing that when they did go nu-metal, they could mix it with the best of them.

6) Linkin Park – Points Of Authority

Nu-metal’s biggest-selling band proved they had the balls to go with their platinum discs by smashing out this big-riffing banger. Their heaviest tune, without doubt.

5) P.O.D. – Alive

So nu metal was all about ‘woe is me’ self-loathing, was it? Try telling that to the Jah-worshipping, positive rockers who proved that the devil doesn’t have all the best tunes with this all-time classic.

4) Papa Roach – Last Resort

Nu-metal had a penchant for talking about having a fucked up childhood and living in a world that seemed to be devoid of all hope. If there was a soundtrack for that narrative, Papa Roach had them in their droves on their breakthrough album, Infest. Last Resort is not only one of the best club tracks of all time that is powered by the best Iron Maiden riff not accredited to Iron Maiden, it captured everything that bands in the post-Cobain world were tapping into.

3) System Of A Down – Chop Suey!

Those who consider nu-metal formulaic or one dimensional obviously weren’t exposed to the schizoid bonkerness of System Of A Down. Even on their biggest hit and at their most anthemic, they sound like a loony bin running riot in a guitar shop. The video is one of the top 10 most-viewed rock music videos of all time, fact fans.

2) Korn – Blind

That ride cymbal setting an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach, those sudden and abrasive guitars scything into your ears and heightening your paranoia levels, the second guitar bringing the brawn to let you know all hell is about to break loose and then “ARRRRE YOU READYYYYYYYY?!” The opening track on Korn’s debut album is the Black Sabbath of nu metal, a song so huge it didn’t just change this band’s career but the trajectory of heavy music for an entire generation.

1) Limp Bizkit – Break Stuff

Has any other song in history ever been taken so literally? This three minutes of beautifully belligerent, bouncy, ballsy, bawling continues to destroy dancefloors and festivals to this day, and rightfully lives on as nu metal’s greatest moment.

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