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100 Best Nu Metal Bands

The nu metal era didn't last long, but its influence can still be heard in today's popular music.

The nu metal era didn't last long, but its influence can still be heard in today's popular music.

As grunge began to lose steam in the mid-'90s, a new brand of riff-based metal came to the forefront. Nu metal, a subgenre of alternative metal, floored listeners with its raw intensity and theatrical tonalities. Its heavily syncopated sound, built on layered guitar riffs, paved the way for a new generation of heavy metal.

While nu metal may have gone through a drastic change in recent years, the muffled warmth of distorted guitar riffs still remain the central element in this mesmerizing form of music.

The list below showcases a diverse number of nu metal bands. If you are a fan of this genre, you will definitely have something to say. Feel free to share your views and opinions in the comments section.

Top 10 Best Nu Metal Bands

  1. Korn
  2. Slipknot
  3. Linkin Park
  4. Papa Roach
  5. Limp Bizkit
  6. System of a Down
  7. Deftones
  8. Static X
  9. P.O.D.
  10. Mudvayne
Nu metal fashion is intentionally dark and dirty looking.

Nu metal fashion is intentionally dark and dirty looking.

What Is Nu Metal?

Nu metal, also known as agro-metal, is an alternative metal subgenre that combines an eclectic mix of heavy metal, alternative rock, hip-hop, industrial, grunge, and funk instrumentation. The sound is characterized by syncopation, built around layered guitar riffs, often played on down-tuned guitars. The heavy guitar creates an intense background for a variety of different vocal styles, including harmonious singing, rapping, growling, screaming, and shrieking. Alongside drums and bass, the instrumentation also incorporates turntable scratching, sampling, and electronics. The rhythmic structures in nu metal are sometimes influenced by funk and hip-hop. The power chord structures in this genre often revolve around the Phrygian, Aeolian, or Dorian modes.


11. Disturbed

12. Coal Chamber

13. Sevendust

14. Ill Nino

15. Godsmack

16. Stained

17. Adema

18. Mushroomhead

19. Drowning Pool

20. Soulfly

Nu metal concerts are truly riotous.

Nu metal concerts are truly riotous.

The Emergence of Nu Metal

The nu metal movement came into prominence in the late ‘90s. As the musical landscape changed, grunge began to fade away, making way for new forms of music. Early nu metal was largely influenced by alternative metal. This genre birthed many subgenres, including funk metal, rap metal, and groove metal. This genre also incorporated elements of hardcore punk, electronic, gothic rock, punk rock, new wave, dance music, post punk, symphonic rock, and synth pop.


21. Emmure

22. Rage Against the Machine

23. Issues

24. Fear Factory

25. Saliva

26. From Ashes to New

27. Incubus

28. Ded

29. Taproot

30. Hed PE

31. Islander

32. Evanescence

33. Crazy Town

34. Of Men & Mice

35. Dope

36. Alien Ant Farm

37. Motograter

38. Flaw

39. Cane Hill

40. Snot

Light shows at nu metal shows are extraordinary.

Light shows at nu metal shows are extraordinary.

Mainstream Success of Nu Metal: ‘90s and 2000s

While alternative metal had a cult following, nu metal reached a wider mainstream global audience. A number of nu metal bands had a great deal of commercial success in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. The smooth blending of different musical styles made this genre hugely popular among non-heavy metal audiences. The rap elements incorporated by certain metal bands appealed to hip-hop audiences.

Certain nu metal bands collaborated with hip-hop artists to create a funky mix of metal and hip-hop. Although certain bands faced flak from music critics for commercializing heavy metal, turning it into a mainstream commodity, it did not deter them from making their brand of music. A number of emerging acts signed major record deals with recording companies in the 2000s. Certain metal bands in the 2000s changed their musical direction by adopting nu metal influences in their music. Alongside alternative metal, industrial metal, groove metal, and metalcore, nu metal became a key genre of what became known as the new wave of American heavy metal.


41. Machine Head

42. Trapt

43. Otep

44. Nonpoint

45. Primer 55

46. Spineshank

47. Kittie

48. Nothingface

49. 311

50. Powerman 5000

51. The Union Underground

52. Chimaira

53. Hollywood Undead

54. Stray from the Path

55. American Head Charge

56. Orgy

57. Puddle of Mud

58. D’espairs Ray

59. Chevelle

60. 36 Crazyfists

Heavy metal bassists often play fast and loud.

Heavy metal bassists often play fast and loud.

Nu Metal Post 2010

Although nu metal faced a lull in the mid-2000s, the movement witnessed a revival post 2010. Many bands started to incorporate nu metal elements into their music, creating such genres as deathcore and metalcore. These bands found commercial success throughout the decade. Although modern nu metal comprises a wide variety of sounds from extreme genres, the riff-based structure remains true to its roots. A number of emerging metal bands incorporate progressive elements in their song structures as well. The success of nu metal has caused many older bands to evolve their sound.


61. A.N.I.M.A.L.

62. Damageplan

63. Cold

64. Suicide Silence

65. Apartment 26

66. Hacktivist

67. Bring Me the Horizon

68. Ocean Grove

69. Blindside

70. Family Force 5

71. The Gazette

72. Project 86

73. Demon Hunter

74. H-Blockx

75. Sworn In

76. Lifer

77. Karnivool

78. Eldrine

79. Hoobastank

80. Clawfinger

Nu metal vocalists often growl and scream into the microphone.

Nu metal vocalists often growl and scream into the microphone.

Nu Metal Fashion

Aside from changing the musical landscape in the late ‘90s, nu metal also started a fashion trend. The genre's clothing became a way of life for many young people in the early 2000s. The typical nu-metal outfit consists of baggy pants, baggy hoodies, shorts, shirts, JNCO jeans, cargo pants, sports jerseys, Adidas tracksuits, sweatpants, canvas shoes, and baseball caps. Hairstyles and facial hairstyles common amongst fans of this genre include spiky hair, shaved heads, dreadlocks, frosted tips, chin beards, goatees, bleached hair, and dyed hair. Some of the popular accessories in nu metal fashion are piercings, tattoos, wallet chains, masks, face paint, body paint, costumes, and jumpsuits.


81. Dry Kill Logic

82. Skillet

83. Ra

84. Man With a Mission

85. Seether

86. Deadsy

87. Pleymo

88. Finger Eleven

89. Three Days Grace

90. Rev Theory

91. Flyleaf

92. Amen

93. Zebrahead

94. Maximum the Hormone

95. 40 Below Summer

96. Guano Apes

97. Hamlet

98. Saint Asonia

99. 3rd Strike

100. Skindred

Lyrics and Themes in Nu Metal

The lyrics and themes in nu metal songs are often associated with anger, nihilism, and rejection. It's common for lyrics in this genre to revolve around angst, pain, trauma, suffering, bullying, personal alienation, betrayal, and emotional issues. The lyrics tend to be direct, emphasizing the importance of brutal honesty.

While most bands in this genre sing about pain and agony, certain bands use positive lyrics to create a sense of hope in their music. While the themes and imagery used in the lyrics of this genre are often dark, this darkness is used to convey a sense of connection and a need to overcome our shared hardships.

Other Notable Nu Metal Bands

  • 12 Stones
  • Skrape
  • Carajo
  • Dangerkids
  • Earshot
  • SugarComa
  • Oficina G3
  • Beartooth
  • Sick Puppies
  • My Ticket Home
  • Exilia
  • Factory 81
  • Depswa
  • Slot
  • Justifide
  • From Zero
  • Since October
  • Darwins Waiting Room
  • Blacklist
  • Soil
  • Unloco
  • Index Case
  • Rootwater
  • Gizmachi
  • Sylar
  • Manga
  • Bloodsimple
  • Fury of Five
  • Story of the Year
  • Godhead
  • Psychostick
  • Black Snake Moan
  • Trust Company
  • Invidia
  • Superheist
  • Headkase
  • Eths
  • Stuck Mojo
  • One Minute Silence
  • 38th Parallel
  • Sugar Ray
  • FreshFabrik
  • Ultraspank
  • Flymore
  • Mass Hysteria
  • Spoken
  • Professional Murder Music
  • Skinlab
  • Pressure 4-5
  • Nocturne
  • Five Foot Thick
  • Twelvestep
  • Slapshock
  • Mad at Gravity
  • Project Wyze
  • Wicked Wisdom
  • Sub Dub Micromachine
  • Kells
  • Thebandwithnoname
  • Methods of Mayhem
  • Red
  • Five Pointe O
  • Switched
  • Pitchshifter
  • 6Gig
  • Five Bolt Main
  • Dry Cell
  • Genuflect
  • Element Eighty
  • Blindspott
  • Pulse Ultra
  • Moltov
  • Crossfade
  • Anew Revolution
  • Segression
  • Flou
  • Twin Method
  • Human Waste Project
  • Rize
  • Intwine
  • No One
  • Boiler Room
  • Slaves on Dope
  • Linea 77
  • Peace of Mind
  • Velcra
  • Raging Speedhorn
  • Cradle of Thorns
  • Sev
  • The Blank Theory
  • East West
  • Terror Universal
  • Love and Death
  • Testeagles
  • Fire From the Gods
  • Downthesun
  • Bionic Jive
  • Mayfly
  • Shuvel
  • Nokturnal
  • Amatory
  • Headplate
  • Reveille
  • E-Town Concrete
  • Defenestration
  • Lofofora
  • Vegastar
  • Grade 8
  • Kill 2 This
  • A Killer’s Confession
  • Infected Rain
  • Mt.Helium
  • Thousand Foot Krutch
  • Pillar
  • FreakMind
  • 2Cents
  • Crossbreed
  • 4Lyn
  • Stereomud
  • The Letter Black
  • Dir En Grey
  • Mnemic
  • Endo
  • Twisted Method
  • Panik
  • Ektomorf
  • In This Moment
  • Lostprophets
  • Crossfaith
  • Fingertight

© 2020 Ansel Pereira