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What's Next?: The Age of Post Nu-Metal is Upon Us
After we posted our "Decade of Metal In Review," there were a number of people who asked "what's next?" At first this sounds like a tough task - predicting the future of metal - but then I got thinking and it dawned on me: The age of post nu-metal is upon us.
In its death throes, nu-metal was summarily replaced in the mid 2000's by metalcore. Initially metalcore did not have the commerical appeal, with its harsh vocals and crunchy/choppy guitars. But bands soon began mixing post hardcore with the metalcore, fashioning melodic choruses and more accessible music. While reviled by the metal crowd and labeled "emo" (in what would become the term's new prejorative definition), the combination gave metalcore the hook it needed to enter the mainstream and overrun Hot Topics everywhere.
While a few of the cream of the crop nu-metal bands have survived and carried on, most have disbanded and fallen back under the radar in recent years. But in the underground and outside of the spotlight, the creative juices are swirling into new recipes being called "post nu-metal." This post nu-metal emerging from the underground is an interesting combination of nu-metal and progressive rock and metal, combining the simplicity and hooks of nu-metal with progressive and experimental sensibilities of late. Like other "post"-labeled subgenres, post nu-metal is a derivative of nu-metal, but mutated in various directions by those progressive and experimental sounds, not being constrained by hard boundaries and only recognizable by the old trademark heavy bass and downtuned guitars. And even that may change over time.
"Wait a mintute," I hear you say, "what about this thrash revival?" But the thrash revival does not have the traction or hooks to penetrate the mainstream (i.e. Hot Topic). Post nu-metal will take the scene by storm, reminding us of what made nu-metal so popular, but leaving the simple-minded
jackass hip-hop attitudes behind for real musicianship.
The charge will likely be spearheaded by a re-formed and reborn System of a Down, who have been reportedly secretly working on a new album that was described by as insider as a "very progressive version of Toxicity." Think The Dillinger Escape Plan meets Tool meets "Toxicity"-era System of a Down, with a bit of polka thrown in for good measure.
With its progressive and experimental trappings, expect post nu-metal to branch out in all directions. One variation referred to as "viking nu-metal," is being lead by none other than Viking death metal stalwarts Amon Amarth. They've downtuned their guitars another stepping and cranked up the bass guitar. They'll be showcasing their new sound on an upcoming digital single soon. Metal Blade owner Brian Slagel is reportedly "very excited" to be working with such a band breaking new trends.
By this time next year, the momentum of this new genre will be apparent, with many of the bands being signed by big labels, and the thrash revival will likely be gone as fast as it came.
In the meantime, check out some of the latest post nu-metal bands that Last.fm recommends. That page will be filling up quickly as the word gets out. The future of metal has never looked so bright. In coming week's we'll focus on some of these underground post nu-metal bands in our Unearthing The Metal Underground columns. But for now, check out this video from a hot up-and-comer of the genre:
There you have it - I've put myself out there with my prediction. What do you think the future of metal looks like?
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