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Nu metal

Nu metal (aggro metal) is a type of heavy metal which combines traditional screaming vocals and heavy guitars with hip-hop influenced vocals and often the use of samples[?] and/or DJ techniques. In addition, the guitar is usually less focused on solos than earlier metal bands, and the rhythm guitar is prominent.

The resulting sound owes much to bands like Faith No More, but the roots of nu metal can be traced much further. While the genre is generally held to have begun with Rage Against the Machine and Korn, bands like Fear Factory, Skid Row and Cubanate[?] began expanding the scope of metal music long before -- in the late eighties and early nineties -- by exhibiting techno influences. The genre experienced an explosion in popularity after 1996, notably through the bands Korn and Limp Bizkit.

The stage acts and video clips of some of the more commercially successful of these groups owe much to some of metal's more pompous traditions, without any of the real menace that such stylings used to represent. When combined with the perceived unoriginality of their music and the commercialisation of the genre, the style is derided by many older metal fans.

The commercialisation and populisation of the genre is largely a result of the increased availability of alternative music in mainstream outlets such as MTV. However, many would contest that rock and metal have grown and become popular of their own accord, perhaps with the aid of the hip-hop association.

Recently, the term "nü-metal" has been used to describe nu-metal with added heavy metal umlautness.

Table of contents

Style

Vocals

In the 1990s, many bands began to mix raps as well as other techniques and styles with traditional heavy metal guitar and drum sounds. As a result, fans and music journalists needed to differentiate between the more traditional heavy metal music and this "new breed" of bands who were using samples[?], DJs, raps and drum machines in a way that made their music distinct. "New metal" evolved into the trendier spelling "nu metal," and a genre was vaguely defined.

Having said this, the differences between rap metal, rapcore and nu metal must be stated. Rap metal is normally considered to be metal with primarily rap vocals -- with a minimum of other styles. Rapcore and nu metal are basically the same thing; heavy metal guitar and drums with rap influenced vocals. This means that it can sound somewhat like older metal vocals, but also with a hint of rap in it -- some bands more than others.

Guitar

While traditional heavy metal was very much guitar-based, with intricate guitar solos and complex riffs forming an important part of most songs, nu metal groups tend to place more emphasis on other aspects of the music; the guitar is often much simplier, using harmonics and a downtuned sound to create an effect without necessarily using complex patterns. Machine Head, on their 1994 debut album, Burn My Eyes, were one of the first bands to begin using this style of guitar, although they still incorporated guitar solos into their songs.

Bass

In general, metal bass lines are fairly simple affairs, often following the root note of the guitar riff. (There have been a few notable exceptions, such as Cliff Burton of Metallica, whose bass lines tended to be much more complicated.) In nu metal, however, bassists tend to use more complex lines, often taking much influence from jazz. A good example is Limp Bizkit's Sam Rivers[?], who, along with their drummer, used to play jazz.

Some notable nu-metal bands include:

There are many other bands who became popular at the same time as nu metal, but are not generally counted as nu metal. However, they are associated with it, particularly with the commercial and popular aspect of it. For example:



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