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what exactly is nu metal? metalcore? grunge?

Posted in: Forum Home >> Non-Metal Music Discussion >> what exactly is nu metal? metalcore? grunge?

Displaying 20 posts
Displaying 20 posts
Mar 24, 2011 4:32 PM ET #1 (permalink)

we all know what these genres are, and we categorize bands as such. but can someone explain how a genre can contain bands like...

linkin park
limp bizkit
rage against the machine
system of a down
ill niño

as i lay dying
bullet for my valentine
darkest hour
august burns red
killswitch engage
shadows fall
all that remains

alice in chains
stone temple pilots
smashing pumpkins
pearl jam

each of those bands are completely different from one another in their own respective "genre". we've basically just created a genre and slapped the label onto bands from more or less the same era. i understand the catergorizing of death metal bands, black metal, power, folk, even deathcore and melodic death metal (my fav). but just not these. also, emo, but i think that has to do with lyrical content like viking imo at least.

(This post was last edited on March 24, 2011 at 4:33 PM ET.)

Mar 24, 2011 4:44 PM ET #2 (permalink)

I don't really think so... describing genre's takes a lot of effort, and a lot of words, and I'm lacking in the effort. Think a chapter in a very pretentious book. Yet conversely we're talking about describing bands with one word, which generally works really well. A simple test for most things is this, line up the most generic sounding song from 5 bands in one category. Then throw into that playlist one generic song from another category. It, obviously, stands out like a sore thumb.

Mar 24, 2011 4:53 PM ET #3 (permalink)

Also another good way to listen to the distilled elements of a genre is not to look at the best bands associated with it (as they will of course be the most original) but look at the worst/most boring bands of the genre. Listen to 100 boring myspace metalcore bands and by the end of it I'm sure you'll be able to write that pretentious chapter :)

Mar 25, 2011 9:07 AM ET #4 (permalink)

totally get what u mean cynic lmao BUT the said technique can't be said about nu metal and grunge. those bands in those categories do NOT sound alike.

Mar 25, 2011 11:53 AM ET #5 (permalink)

@Cynic : I disagree with your "distilled elements" theory. So according to you, in order to understand genre classifications, you have to listen to the worst bands in a genre even if they aren't good representations of what they're placed under? Which in turn makes it so that only the worst bands define that particular genre? If that's the case then, Metalcore should be defined only by bands like Asking Alexandria rather than Earth Crisis or Vision of Disorder.

Genre classification is a tricky thing, but if you ask me it's simple. Start from scratch and find out what bands created the genre in question and if you like what you're hearing, explore the sub-genres. Keep hopping from sub-genre to sub-genre and later, genre to genre. Pretty soon, you'll be listening to some random band and you can hear yourself saying "Hmm..sounds a bit like X band with elements of Y, but definitely influenced by Z". Take the genres of X,Y and Z and mash em' together. Whaddaya get? THAT is the band's genre.

And nu-metal? Used to dig the shit out of it. Hell, some of those bands are way better than most of the crap that's out there today (Crunkcore? Really?). And that's probably the only genre where I can understand why so many different sounding bands get placed together. The reason being that they all have that common moody, brooding sound and that cathartic adolescent rage. And as the genre progressed, lots of new (nu? haha) elements were incorporated. The evolution was great, trust me, people might say otherwise, but to go from Korn's self-titled to 36 Crazyfists' Bitterness The Star was pretty great. Don't get me wrong, there were lots of shitty, derivative bands in nu-metal but the bands that actually were original were just phenomenal. Early Korn? Can't touch that shit. Deftones? Favorite band. Amen, SOAD, Nothingface, Ultraspank and a whole bunch of awesome bands. Early 90's post hardcore like Helmet, Jawbox and Quicksand had lots of things in common with these bands. Especially the Deftones. In fact, that's what nu-metal should've been : Post-Hardcore with the introspective elements of Grunge mixed with the street stylings of Hip-Hop. But naturally, it's success was manipulated and the sound was commercialised and bands like Limp Wristed and Stinkin Fart were born. Rapping in nu-metal (the REAL nu-metal) was actually very rare. All the fake nu-metal bands tried to do it in an attempt to come across as "Urban" and it became more of a fashion statement. Towards the end, there were a few Tool-influenced nu-metal bands like From Zero and Pulse Ultra that showed a lot of promise and it got heavier and more experimental like Dog Fashion Disco, but ultimately they just faded. I'd like to see it make a comeback and by that I mean, the real, original, minimalistic sound (not this lame new Lump Dipshit album) and progress from where it left off. I'm just so burnt out on traditional metal right now that anything else could be great. Post-Metal is great and It'd be great to have more bands like Intronaut. So yeah, in conclusion, the innovators/creators should be the basis by which a genre is judged. The world would be a better place.

Mar 25, 2011 5:10 PM ET #6 (permalink)

@nothinghead - I'm guessing you're meaning my first post? I tried to rectify that in the second saying that the biggest bands are usually the most original, hence you get that. Secondly you've cheated by including RATM (rap-rock), Radiohead (only 1st album counts-ish), SOAD (obviously highly experimental with elements of nu-metal) :P The aim here would be to a) find the core things they do the same and b) the things that no other bands were doing up until then. I can see part of your post is skeptical of the fact that people label might be predisposed to label bands of a certain time period into that periods boom genre which is fair, but i's probably balanced out by the fact if your doing something even slightly like the genre that's only just come about chances are you've been influenced in the same way the other bands have.

@Banana - damn cuz I think the theory is the shit haha - because it only took three lines!

"So according to you, in order to understand genre classifications, you have to listen to the worst bands in a genre even if they aren't good representations of what they're placed under?"

No this is off base from what I meant, mostly my fault because I used the words "boring/worst". I should have said unoriginal - (which is also better as originality being an element of a genre is a near impossible sell). Perhaps I could side-step this issue by changing the argument to say "listen to a high volume" of bands self described as being of the said genre in large doses, because the higher the volume, the smaller the bands you're listening to and the more chance they'll be unoriginal. I don't know those bands so I can't comment.

...I just read the rest of your post to and you're pretty much saying the same thing haha.

Mar 25, 2011 11:33 PM ET #7 (permalink)

Grunge is one that I never really identified the core components to very well. I thought AIC was grunge for sure, but lots of people say no. Most people just lump everything from Seattle from that era into the pot and I don't think that's a legit way to categorize anything.

And I never considered Slipknot to be nu-metal. They rose to popularity during that same time and I think that's why they got grouped with them. Their guitars don't have the distinctive downtuned nu-metal feel, nor the slappy bass particularly turned up, or the vocals other than some radio-friendly verses. (altho I haven't listened to them in years, so I could have forgotten... I pray I have).

Mar 26, 2011 1:20 AM ET #8 (permalink)

^Slipknot are definitely nu-metal. I've always thought of them as an angrier Korn with turntables and better drumming. They have all the elements : The syncopated tin-can drumming, the tortured vocals and the downtuned, grindy guitar tone. Just listen to 'Diluted' off their s/t and tell me that couldn't have been written by Korn. Granted they're better at their instruments, but there's no denying that they blatantly ripped off all the basic Korn-y(heh) characteristics. They lack the soul and raw honesty of early Korn. Iowa was actually pretty good but it still retained the Korny-ness (just listen to 'The Shape' or 'Skin Ticket') and they unabashedly copied the emotionally-intense-album-closer idea too ('Scissors' and 'Iowa' owe a lot to 'Daddy' and 'Kill You'). Or maybe it was all Ross Robinson's fault lol. In any case, I just realized I know way too much about nu-metal for my own good haha.

@Cynic : Lol, you're right. I was pretty baked yesterday, so... And great minds think alike, let's just leave it at that shall we? Haha

Mar 27, 2011 6:45 PM ET #9 (permalink)

When classifying bands into genres, you go by common traits that they share. Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Death, and obituary sound nothing alike, but theyre all definitely old-school death metal.

Deicide has extremely intense guitar passages heavily distorted, with accompanying majestic solos and a usually dual-pronged vocal attack.
Cannibal Corpse has a very streamlined speed approach to almost all their instrumental passages, with a mix of occasional complexity on the string section with very straightforward but modified, sped-up thrash drumming.
Obituary is the epitomic example of how thrash turned into death metal; a deeper yell, once again modified thrash snare drumming, and an emphasis on riffage and occasional groove.
Death, has always been about increased musicianship. Even when the songs were more thrash stylized in the early days, their structures would be far more grandiose than the average anthrax song. Especially in the later years, they were more or less the founders of, most obviously death metal, but especially progressive death metal, with rediculously structured 8-minute songs with smatterings of jazz bass. For anyone into death metal, this was the musicians band.

But what did they have in common? Heavily distorted, strong guitar riffs over speed drumming and backed by extreme, deep vocal stylings. So theyre all death metal. Apply the same thing to any of these sets of metalcore, Nu-metal, or grunge, and you have your answer. Point out what makes them different, and then look at whats left, and their similarities enable them to be classified.

Believe me, I went through the same argument with myself years back when I wondered how the hell SOAD, Slipknot, and Limp Bizkit were in the same genre. Nu-metal is kinda tricky though because all it takes to classify a band as nu-metal is to realize theyre a mutt of styles. They dont all have all the same characteristics, but it's the clusterfuck of generally non-metal genres onto a metal platform that wins them the nametag.

Now Playing- Amon Amarth- Destroyer of the Universe (FUCKING CHARLIE SHEEN)

Mar 28, 2011 12:37 AM ET #10 (permalink)

. . . 0.0 . . . . . i feel like neo in the matix when he finally "frees his mind" after morpheus had been telling him to do so thru out the film.

Apr 3, 2011 12:31 AM ET #11 (permalink)

n0thinghead, you've made a good point. Many people do generalize a lot, even me. And in some cases, its inaccurate.

Nu Metal is an umbrella term for any band that incorporates elements of Hip-hop, Alternative or Industrial such as:

Slipknot (Rapcore)
Mushroomhead (Rapcore)
Linkin Park (Nu Metal)
Korn (aka Krap, if anyone remembers Lord Agony's crazy arse...I wonder how he's holding up in prison...But yeah, original Nu Metal)
Limp Bizkit (Nu Metal)
Rage Against the Machine (I really don't see them as Metal, they're more like Funkcore)
System of a Down (I don't know what they are...Hard Rock?)
Ill Niño
Cypress Hill

Metalcore incorporates elements of Hardcore (mainly breakdowns) such as:

As I Lay Crying
Bullet for my Faggotry
Darkest Hour (I actually like them)
August Burns Red
Killswitch Engage (I actually respect them, and I like that one song they did that EVERYONE knows)
Shadows Fall
All that Remains

Grunge is really a form of Alternative Rock, but with heavier elements of Punk and/or Heavy Metal such as:

Alice in Chains (I don't care what anyone says, they are awesome.)
Stone Temple Pilots
Radiohead (I didn't know people considered them Grunge, but I guess "Creep" was a hard enough song. Most of their material is Alternative)
Smashing Pumpkins
Pearl Jam

Apr 3, 2011 5:22 PM ET #12 (permalink)

i do get where ur coming from gore and totally understand, but i'll just have to say that i disagree with quite a bit of how u classified some of those bands, BUT i do understand why u would tho.

May 15, 2011 6:20 AM ET #13 (permalink)

I'm going on the best of my knowledge of the whole thing. Obivously I don't listen to much of these bands so I will come off as inaccurate.

Jun 14, 2011 7:29 PM ET #14 (permalink)

Why so many categories anyway? I guess its all a personal preference. I am a guitarist with heavy roots in prog metsl (dream theater, rush etc.) but I play in a industrial metal band.. as a musician I prefer to do stuff thats outside of the box and not in it.. fuck the box ya know :) Our band has numetal and even hard trance electronic. We have a site on reverbnation if your curious. Music needs to progress.. i think catagories help keep it stagnant.

Jun 14, 2011 9:51 PM ET #15 (permalink)

industrialguitarguy. Here's why we have subgenres:

You can't compare Korn or Marilyn Manson to Cannibal Corpse or Behemoth. If I'm in a car or at a party, shit, even a gathering and I say "I want to hear some Metal" thats way too broad. Lets say we just made it official and made Heavy Metal the main and only term to use to describe our music. Now you say to a dude at a record store, "I want to hear a band that sounds like Mayhem" and they give you a Manson CD you won't be satisfied.

Jun 15, 2011 2:32 PM ET #16 (permalink)
ZMA's avatar


There's a lot to read here, and I'm only going by the original post n0thing. But I think that most of the bands put into those 3 genres do have similar sounds and similar influences so I can see most of those bands being labeled that way. But there are some stand out bands on those lists to me that I don't think should exactly be labeled that way.

Jun 15, 2011 5:58 PM ET #17 (permalink)

^^^ exactly my thing tho, yet they still just get lumped into that labeling.

Jun 15, 2011 7:20 PM ET #18 (permalink)
ZMA's avatar


Yea man, and even now some of those bands have branched out of those genres and explored new things.
Here are the bands from that list I don't think should be labeled the way they are.

Slipknot, more modern metal now.
Korn, more alternative now in my opinion
Mushroomhead seems more industrial
System Of A Down seems more alternative
Disturbed is modern metal now.

I'm sort of satisfied with the metalcore list with the exception of Chimaira and Hatebreed.
But like..... what seperates Killswitch Engage from Slipknot, or say....Five Finger Death Punch. These 3 bands essentially do the same thing. Death growls, and clean singing, which is what metalcore sort of is for me. But Killswitch is metalcore and Knot isn't. The best I can word this is these bands are the same......but they aren't lol. If anyone gets what I'm sayin'.

I'm also pretty satisfied with the grunge list except for Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins. They more alternative rock to me.

I guess it really comes down to opinion. How you think theses bands should be labeled. Bands are only labeled the way they are because the majority decided and making "this" band "this" genre and then those left out of that, that come along and question it are told wrong by the majority. That's why I hate genre talking. Because there's way too many opinions abotu what people think is what.
I mean even I could be wrong, like I said those were just my opinions ya know?

Felt like I wrote an essay here lol.

Jun 18, 2011 12:37 AM ET #19 (permalink)

lmfao!! yeah zman. we could just go on and on about "genre talk" lol but fuggit. leave it as it is. no point in poking a dying person since it is alive, but eventually it's time will come to an end, so just leave it be.

Jun 19, 2011 3:07 PM ET #20 (permalink)
ZMA's avatar


^ Yea basically lol.

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