According to Kittie, people hate on nu metal because it's popular and a more "simplified" form of music: "Oftentimes it takes a little bit of growth and perhaps some years for some of the music fans to catch up"

A portrait of Kittie in 2024
(Image credit: Press)

All the way from its meteoric rise in the late 90s and early 2000s, nu metal continues to strum up mixed reactions from music fans. At its most hated, the genre is framed as an unfortunate footnote in musical history, but for many, it offers great nostalgia, marking a time where heavy music was at a peak in popularity and more accessible than ever. 

Heralded by a storm of bands who are still waving the flag for nu metal today on immensely successful tours (Korn, Limp Bizkit), nu metal has been ushered into the spotlight once again, helped by a swathe of scene newbies (Tetrarch, Wargasm, Tallah, Employed To Serve, Poppy, Nova Twins), channelling the genre's most recognisable characteristics of floor-filling, fiery riffs, high energy vocal hooks and rap and edm elements.

Canada-based metallers Kittie, who were one of the most promising bands to emerge in the nu metal era but unfortunately failed to reach greater success following lineup issues, label troubles and tragedy, have shared their thoughts on its renewed popularity, as well as why it might have been not taken seriously by some during its formative boom.

In a recent interview on the The Ex-Man Podcast hosted by Doc Coyle, guitarist Tara McLeod notes: "It just seems like every time there's a shift in music, everyone hates it at first. A big, popular shift, everyone has to hate it at first. 

"And I think with nu metal, it's like a simplified form of music, but that doesn't make it a lesser-than form of music. And I think that oftentimes it takes a little bit of growth and perhaps some years for some of the music fans to catch up and look back and realise, like, 'Wow, okay, that was super catchy. And actually writing those riffs and the hooks and the vocals, that's actually not simple.' They're, like, simplified; it's not simple."

Drummer Mercedes Lander adds: "Honestly, go and listen to any of [Limp Bizkit guitarist] Wes Borland's playing. That's not easy. Also, [Limp Bizkit drummer] John Otto, the GOAT. Have you ever watched John Otto play drums? He's amazing.

She continues: "I think a lot of people confuse busy playing with good music. 'Cause there's a lot of busy songs that I'm, like, 'This song sucks.' It doesn't have to be super busy or shreddy or whatever, it doesn't have to be like that to be good. 

"It's the same thing as I like to say — just 'cause you can play fast, it doesn't mean that you should… Giving yourself that space can provide you with so much more. Keeping your music kind of simplistic even, and giving yourself that space, you can do more vocally or whatever the case might be. Less is more sometimes."

In a recent interview with Metal Hammer, Kittie rejected the idea that the band's comeback was purposely launched in the wake of nu metal's renewed popularity. 

"We're not a nu metal band, and we never will be again," vocalist/guitarist Morgan Lander declared. "We're not trying to recapture something that is long gone for us. There might be a riff or an idea that harkens back to who we were in the past, but that is married with the more modern ideas of Kittie as well."

Kittie's new album, Fire, is due out on June 21 via Sumerian Records.

Watch the full The Ex-Man episode with Kittie below:

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.