The Top 10 Nu-Metal Albums Of All-Time
Few if any genres have drawn quite the polarizing reaction that nu-metal has. A large portion of the metal audience has a great disdain for the nu-metal genre as a whole and some of these criticisms are certainly well-founded due to the over-the-top, often forced, edginess displayed by many of it's practitioner's along with cringe-educing fashion choices and music that left much to be desired as far as creativity is concerned. However, as much material as there is hang your head in shame over with this genre, there is also a plethora of fantastic, groundbreaking, innovative records that often don't receive their rightful measure of acclaim due to preconceived negative connotations and stereotypes. Here we'll shed light on what we believe are the best products ever spawned from the nu-metal genre.
1. Slipknot - Slipknot (1999) - The eponymous debut record from Des Moines, Iowa natives, Slipknot, is perhaps the most universally beloved album of this entire musical style and it is not without good reason. This genre-defining classic brought a level of extremity not before or since heard in nu-metal. The record is perhaps best known for it's organic and raw nature blending the frantic rapid fire delivery of frontman Corey Taylor along with his untrained, ferocious guttural screams and the clinic put on by then drummer, Joey Jordinson. Slipknot's self-titled debut is an easy pick for the top spot.
2. Korn - Korn (1994) - Combinations of funk grooves (and or rap) and metal existed well before Korn's self-titled debut record, however, Korn was the first to blend the two so seamlessly that it spawned a new sub-genre. This record would go on to pave the way for countless bands that followed and not only in nu-metal as we've seen in the recent craze of Korn-influenced hardcore bands. Perhaps the biggest contribution made by this album is it's popularization of down-tuned 7-string guitar, which went on to become an essential part of nearly all metal genres. Lead vocalists Jonathan Davis' unique raw vocal style and bassist, Fieldy, with his signature slap bass style, round out with album to make it a landmark that still holds up better than nearly anything else from it's time.
3. System of a Down - System of a Down (1998) - There was some debate as to whether this album belongs under the nu-metal banner or not but we feel it contains enough of the genres hallmarks to warrant a ranking. The first word that comes to mind when describing this record is 'weird' but in the best way possible. Hearing a vocalist with operatic capabilities, like Serj Tankian, backed by such chaotic instrumentation makes for a pleasantly wild and memorable record. While the group would hit their peak with 2001's "Toxicity, it was their 1998 debut that showed off what they could achieve, propelling them into stardom.
4. Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory (2000) - Linkin Park's first effort remains the highest-selling debut metal album of all-time, pushing over an astonishing 10,000,000 records sold in the United States alone. Rather than the impressive numbers this album is utterly stacked with hits. It was scoffed at for quite a long time to be a fan of this band in the underground metal scene but sometimes you have to give it to an artist for writing such a huge record that connects with millions upon millions of people, demolishing genre boundaries along the way. Hybrid Theory is packed with bangers that are made to be sung in unison in an arena.
5. Mudvayne - L.D. 50 (2000) - While perhaps admittedly possessing one of the cheesiest looks of the nu-metal era, Mudvayne also proved to be arguably the most progressive band in the scene. Progressive and nu-metal aren't words you often hear in the same sentence but Mudvayne made use of one of the most talented bassists in metal history, Ryan Martinie, who brought a level of depth and odd rhythmic shits not often heard in this genre. Instrumentally, L.D. 50 is a cut above most of it's peers.
6. Deftones - Around The Fur (1997) - The first record to make the list that's not a debut, however it is the album that truly launched Deftones into the mainstreams awareness. While their previous effort, Adrenaline, was very solid, the band came into their own here finding a signature style that helped them stand out as instantly recognizable band. Frontman, Chino Moreno often steals the show here with his bipolar vocal style. Ironically Deftones moved away from nu-metal after this release but still leaves a lasting legacy.
7. Sevendust - Animosity (2001) - Sevendust remains one of the most underrated bands of this era to this very day. While never feeling quite at home in the nu-metal category, it's still where they were placed, bringing a higher level of intelligence and integrity to an often needlessly edgy and juvenile genre. Animosity is packed with fun songs that are still a joy to listen to and many others felt this way as it is the band's highest selling and longest charting record.
8. Static-X - Wisconsin Deathtrip (1999) - Wayne Static's odd hairstyle choice aside, Wisconsin Deathtrip was a fantastic debut showcase. Static-X brought something very original to the table with their infusion of industrial and their self-coined "evil disco" into groovy nu-metal riffage. This record remains one of the oddest metal releases ever to go platinum in my opinion and that alone deserves a spot on this list.
9. Five Pointe O - Untitled (2002) - Five Pointe O is the least known band to make this list despite being signed to major label, Roadrunner Records. What separates this record from other contenders for the bottom half of the list is it's commitment to consistent heaviness. The band borrows some influences vocally from Rage Against The Machine blended with death metal growl passages and it makes for a unique standout moment for a band that sadly couldn't find a scene to be a part of as nu-metal was nearing it's demise in 2002. Untitled will go down as possibly the best metal release of the 2000's by a band that only had one record.
10. Boy Hits Car - Boy Hits Car (2001) - Another lesser-known group, California's Boy Hits Car brought influences ranging from System of a Down to Incubus to At The Drive-In to create a sound all their own. This album is packed with amazing soaring vocals and sonically incorporates elements of Eastern music, which they pull off significantly well. From front to back this is an easy and enjoyable listen and goes don as one of the best hidden gems of nu-metal.