Nu Metal

Secondary Stylistic Influences:

Nu-metal is essentially a mixture of several different genres (most notably Grunge, Hip-Hop, Alternative Metal, Rap Rock and Groove Metal). It is characterized by downtuned guitars with liberal use of palm muting, vocals that range from screaming to rapping (often in the same song), stop-and-start driving bass with a "funky"/slapped quality, hip hop-influenced drumming, varying degrees of electronic manipulation and roughly equal prominence of all instrumentation. Many songs fall into the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus format more typical of mainstream pop than standard heavy metal. The lyrics usually focus on personal crises and painful experience (though it's safe to say that not all songs are like this). Many (but not all) nu-metal bands also make use of the normally hip-hop oriented turntables as an instrument, which has had the effect of people assuming that any band that uses turntables is a nu-metal band.

Nu metal got its start when Korn released their debut Self-Titled Album Korn in 1994. While initially unnoticed by the mainstream media, many critics and fans who did listen to it noted that it had a "unique" sound. The album created a new type of metal with its wild interpretation of Alternative Metal, and got more-and-more noticed overtime. Naturally, others took note of this and started their own bands that were influenced by the sound of that album, which lead to an explosion of people following Korn's direction and creating what is now known as nu metal. They naturally hung a lampshade on this with their 1998 album Follow the Leader. Deftones and Sepultura (specifically Roots) were highly influential as well. The name comes from a review of Coal Chamber.

Its mainstream popularity lasted until the early-2000s, when Emo and Metalcore took its place. More recently, it seems to be better received outside of the United States, and in American underground music, rather than in mainstream popular music. While this may be changing with nu metal starting to make a return (see below), it's still better received by those not involved with the metal community, rather than by traditional metalheads. Some bands, including Disturbed, Korn, and Slipknot, generally kept and expanded their style, and remained popular, while other bands, like Linkin Park, Papa Roach, and the Deftones, abandoned the genre completely, and others, like System of a Down, still broke up and sometimes formed new bands (i.e. Motograter's Ivan Moody forming Five Finger Death Punch). Others, such as Evanescence, Limp Bizkit, Hoobastank, and Saliva saw massive declines in popularity as time went on.

Its up to debate whether or not the genre (as a whole) is metal but in the grand scheme of things it's difficult to classify. The bands that were called nu-metal did not really sound like each other. For example compare Limp Bizkit to Coal Chamber. Many nu-metal bands never quite hit mainstream success despite what some metalheads say. To be blunt, most of the hate comes from a very vocal group of metalheads/purists. The hatred runs deep though, so it will take some time until someone can say they like the genre without getting hit with Internet Backdraft by the Hate Dom / Hate Dumb. In any case there are fans of nu-metal just like any other genre and the genre was viewed as a revival of sorts, creating a whole new group of metalheads.

Nu metal has regained some popularity over the years in many circles, especially outside American scenes. Its niche in the metal world has been largely taken over by a similar genre: Avant-Garde Metal.

In the '10s it's seen something of a resurgence in popularity, or at least a return to social acceptability, in the US, perhaps because '90s culture has become back in vogue. Some bands that previously abandoned have returned to their roots (or at least integrated elements of their older sound). Other bands (most notably Bring Me The Horizon) have made nu metal a part of their sound. While it's still somewhat rare to see a newer band completely play the old style of nu metal, many bands draw upon nu metal elements to create their type of sound that is unique to them. To put it simply, nu metal music is a making return, but the culture surrounding is not.

A full list of Nu-metal bands would prove controversial, because the term is considered to be derogatory to the point where even the bands themselves and their fans fight it, though most modern nu metal bands openly admit to it (even if some of their fans don't), and the fact that, as mentioned above, many nu metal bands don't sound like each other, meaning there's not an entirely coherent sound to classify as 'pure' nu metal. Many bands will attempt to sidestep this classification by saying they never played the genre and instead played Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Groove Metal, or general rock music. Don't be fooled.

A fairly uncontroversial list would include the following:

Original nu metal bandsnote :

Modern nu metal bandsnote :

Not to be confused with Nu Gundam. And has nothing to do with the blue creatures from Chrono Trigger.

Nu-Metal provides the following examples of tropes:

  • Alternative Metal: Nu-metal started off as a subgenre of this, though grew in popularity to the point of it being counted as a separate genre. Several alt-metal bands, such as Faith No More and Primus served as huge influences to Nu-metal.
  • Approval of God: The "Godfather of Heavy Metal" himself Ozzy Osbourne supported many of the bands considered nu metal, many of them getting their big break after playing at Ozzfest. In fact, Ozzfest itself during the late-'90s and early-'00s was practically an entire festival of the genre.
  • Avant-Garde Metal: Nu metal is also considered an offshoot of this; in fact some of the early nu metal acts (such as Korn and Deftones began as avant-garde/experimental outfits. Also, in recent years, the few nu metal bands that have had continuous success have been reclassified as this.
  • Angrish: Some Nu-metal singers can become so intensely enraged that they start losing coherence and spitting into the mic (bonus points if they sound out of breath by the end of it). Overlaps with Singing Simlish below (something Jonathan Davis has broken down into an art-form).
  • Ban on Politics: Both the Metal Archives and Shreddit have banned nu metal from being featured on their sites. The former doesn't list any bands who've played this genre at one point (with a few exceptions, namely DevilDriver and Damageplan) and refer to it exclusively by its detractor name "mallcore". The latter doesn't allow any discussion of it whatsoever, and any topic about it will quickly be deleted.
  • Careful with That Axe: Many nu-metal songs consist of wild, throat-cracking, usually pissed-off screaming.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Very, very common, especially with the more aggressive acts.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: A number of bands frequently covered 80's pop songs for some reason, often making them tougher and more aggressive. This was probably popularized by Limp Bizkit's cover of "Faith" by George Michael. Other examples include "Shock the Monkey" by Coal Chamber, "Shout" by Disturbed, "Blue Monday" by Orgy, and probably the definitive example, "Smooth Criminal" by Alien Ant Farm.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Frequently coming into play, considering the common lyrical themes associated with the genre
  • Darker and Edgier The genre can be viewed as a darker and heavier late 90s replacement for Grunge in the mainstream.
  • Dead Horse Genre / Deader Than Disco: Many previous Nu-metal bands have moved away from the genre and into other styles such as Alternative Rock, Groove Metal, Electronic Music and Industrial Metal. Generally perceived as being "dead" in the eyes of mainstream American media, although it has a level of popularity overseas, where there was never a prejudice toward the genre, and in the American underground music scene. The death of nu metal could have been easily avoided, however, if it weren't for the music industry capitalizing on it and bands straying away from its original premise. Consequently, a few bands have learned from this and began rediscovering the genre's original concept, leading to some bands transitioning into experimental metal. It's starting to resurface a little in the form of revival acts (and various deathcore bands who proudly took influence from the genre before that; Suicide Silence and Emmure are some of the more obvious examples, and Whitechapel has also joined the party as of the self-titled), but those are still nowhere near as big as many of the acts in the genre got in their heyday, and aside from a few acts that simply got too big to disappear (Slipknot, Korn, and Linkin Park, primarily), most of the bands that still exist are playing to far smaller crowds in far smaller venues than they used to.
  • Dead Unicorn Trope: Looking at the list of qualities that are and aren't nu-metal mean that a completely pure nu-metal band probably doesn't exist outside of parody, which makes nu-metal either the widest or most narrow genre of all time:
    • "Nu-metal bands never have guitar solos, but some do" (This is actually only true of a handful of bands who just happen to be labeled nu-metal. Many famous nu-metal bands do feature guitar solos, abiet somewhat short ones. Even Limp Bizkit had a couple of brief guitar solos.)
    • "All nu-metal bands rap, but some don't" (Korn, most obviously with a few exceptions, as well as Disturbed, System of a Down, Taproot, Mudvayne, Trapt, and Evanescence among others)
    • "Every nu-metal band whines about something, but not all of them" (Deftones, Guano Apes, 311)
    • "Nu-metal bassists play slap technique, some play other styles, and some rarely, if ever, use the slap technique" (The Gazette)
    • "All nu-metal bands use seven-string guitars (Korn, Deftones, early Limp Bizkit), except when they don't (most nu-metal bands use downtuned six-strings).
    • "Culturally, nu-metal lives on the gritty aggression of American machismo and yet some bands are influenced by foreign musical styles" (P.O.D., Ill Nino, Sepultura and Soulfly throw in Latino influences, while Dir en grey draw inspiration from traditional Japanese music)
    • "All nu-metal bands have turntables (Slipknot, Deftones, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park), except the ones that don't (Korn, Papa Roach, System of a Down, Evanescence. In fact probably a majority of bands labeled nu metal don't use turntables)"
      • As you can tell, nu metal isn't really a coherent genre but rather a basic skeleton for other bands to build off of. The idea that nu metal is "metal with some rapping in it" only describes a handful of bands, and even those bands sound different from each other. Under the umbrella of nu metal, it's produced styles as diverse as:
      • groovy alternative metal (Korn)
      • experimental shoe-gazing (Deftones)
      • funky hip-hop-influenced rap metal (Limp Bizkit)
      • pop-punk-rap-grunge-comedy-rock (Guano Apes)
      • death metal-influenced groove metal (Slipknot)
      • industrial-bent hard rock (Disturbed)
      • dancehall-influenced reggae metal (Skindred)
      • electronic rap rock (Linkin Park)
      • alt metal-influenced post-grunge (Trapt)
      • gothic/symphonic/alternative rock (Evanescence)
  • Doing It for the Art: The nu metal revival bands of The New Tens are exactly this. Unlike bands at the height of nu metal's popularity, who were cashing in on a fad and/or using it to achieve mainstream success, the revival bands play nu metal because they genuinely like the music, even though they don't get much attention (though Issues, Butcher Babies, and King 810 have all seen some success, and In This Moment, Hollywood Undead, and Bring Me the Horizon got significantly bigger when they switched to it) and are often derided for the kind of music they play.
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: Nu-metal music videos tend to take place in dark rooms (probably a dangerous-looking factory or Abandoned Warehouse) with this sort of lighting. May have been inspired by the video to Unsung by Helmetnote .
  • Estrogen Brigade: Nu metal was noted for its ability to draw in large crowds of women, due to mixing various genres and styles while presenting a modern aesthetic, something that other metal genres could not do (and still aren't able to).
  • Follow the Leader: How the genre was formed. Korn released their debut album to unexpected success, and many others took note of their Signature Style. After the first bands (largely local Southern California bands) emulated it, the style was later expanded to include other genres and influences (such as Deftones, Faith No More, and Rage Against the Machine).
  • Gateway Music: If you're into metal and are about to graduate college, you probably got into it through one of the bands above. How many metalheads will admit that, is a different story.
  • Genre Shift: After nu-metal fell, many bands released New Sound Albums to rid themselves of the title. The heavier bands often switched to Groove Metal, Industrial Metal, or Avant-Garde Metal, while the lighter ones often switched to either Post-Grunge or Alternative Rock (or both).
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The genre is even much more popular in Latin America and East Asia than it was in the USA, most notably in Chile, where it was known as "Aggro-Metal" (From aggression, not agriculture); Japan, where it was partly responsible for bringing Visual Kei back in vogue; and the Philippines, where it influenced legions of indie OPM acts, and became a well respected and valid musical option among metalheads and rockers in general. Over there it didn't face much of the criticism it encountered in the USA, as most non-American Nu-Metal bands were independent acts that weren't profiting on a commercially viable fad, but rather exploring a new interesting sound that was the sound of a transitional generation and was worth paying attention to.
    • Although the fad and most of the bands faded into obscurity, it still has a considerable fanbase and some bands are still active. Outside the US, the genre is mostly free of the stigma that it once faced, and it is not rare to find music purists that give recognition to at least the most notable examples of the genre. Korn, Slipknot and Deftones are very popular in the countries mentioned above.
  • Guilty Pleasure: It's not unheard of for hardcore metalheads who like some nu metal bands to regard them as this.
  • Harsh Vocals: The genre is filled with throaty pseudo-growls.note 
  • Heavy Metal: Although a lot of metalheads claim otherwise. It's probably not something you should bring up if you don't want to risk a Flame War.
    • The main argument against it is that the riffing styles and song structures bear very little similarity to actual metal and that the roots of the genre were more in alternative rock and grunge and carried very little connection to the metal scene, and that shouted vocals and downtuned guitars do not automatically equal metal; as far as they're concerned, it was called "metal" only because of clueless marketing departments and music journalists who had very little familiarity with the metal genre and were calling it "metal" because it fit in with their preconceived notions of what the genre was based on cultural stereotypes and very limited exposure.
    • On the other hand, three of Nu Metal's biggest influences (Alternative Metal, Groove Metal and Industrial Metal) are unquestionably metal, it's just that some of the more metal elements get kind of blurred in with the other less metal influences (like hip-hop and electronica). But even then, due to the wide range in bands, some of which barely resemble each other, its pretty much impossible to judge the true nature of the genre as a whole. Some bands that are labeled Nu Metal are clearly metal bands (Like Slipknot, Disturbed, or System of a Down) and they barely resemble the sound of bands like Linkin Park or Evanescence. It would probably be a much better idea to discuss a Nu Metal band's 'metalness' on a case by case basis
  • Internet Backdraft: Talking about these bands on metal music forums.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks: Perception of the genre from Metalheads. It's very slowly dying down, but it might be too early to tell.
    • It's the Same, so It Sucks: Another common perception, owing to the lack of actual experimentation in the genre (though this has died down in recent years)
  • Lampshade Hangings/Parodies
    "She likes the Godsmack and I like Agent Orange,
    Her CD-changer's full of singers that are mad at their dad."
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The lyrics are generally angsty, and the music itself generally tries to create an aura of toughness.
  • Madness Mantra: A trope popular with the genre, though not always used effectively. Singers will often repeat phrases in a Perishing Alt Rock Voice while getting louder and angrier, sounding as if they're becoming progressively unhinged before finally exploding. Frequently (and derisively) referred to as the "watch out man 'cuz I'm CRAZY!!" part.
    Adam Rafalovich: Jonathan Davis, he had this interesting way of kind like whispering[...] he would bring his voice down really, really low[...] making you think he's in a mental institution. That you're seeing inside of his own head when he would offer these really whispery little discussions, and then to actually explode would take those songs to a whole other emotional level.
    Metal Evolution, Episode 8, "Nu-Metal". This scene is played beside "Blind's distinctive bridge."
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Certain bands, such as Slipknot, use this trope.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Most bands are a 6 or a 7, with the softer ones and post-grunge crossover acts going into 4-5 and some of the harder ones going into an 8. Bands that go up to 9 (e.g. Ill Nino note , Deftones, Nonpoint, Skindred), 10 (e.g. Celldweller, SikTh, Maximum The Hormone, Slipknot, DevilDriver) or 11 (e.g. Dir en grey, The Gazette, Enmure) are not unheard of, though.
  • Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Most bands range from a 7 to 9, with some examples going down to at least a 2. The most profane and explicit bands can go up to 10 or 11, but this is very rare, though bands such as Slipknot and The Gazette have written songs that would easily make it to those levels.
  • Mugging the Monster: A fairly common thematic element, usually invoked at the song's bridge ("Break Stuff" by Limp Bizkit and "Down With The Sickness" by Disturbed are examples of this).
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Scroll back up and look at the salad of genres that influenced Nu-metal.note 
  • Never Live It Down: The few Nu-metal bands that survived the fall of the genre are still being called this, except in a small few cases (see Rescued from the Scrappy Heap below).
    • In fact, this trope is so strong, that when Dez Fafara of Coal Chamber went on to start the band DevilDriver, the band instantly became the new target for metalheads, which for the most part was not based on their music, but on Dez Fafara's past. This has often resulted in the band getting labeled as metalcore (see Spiritual Successor below), despite having little connection to the genre, being Groove Metal with a few elements of Melodic Death Metal. Dez stated that he created DevilDriver because he was disappointed on the direction his band was taking. That being said, their self-titled debut still fell within the perimeters of nu-metal, although it did have hints of the groove/melodeath fusion that would later become their signature; once Evan Pitts (who wrote the vast majority of the album) left, they made a Genre Shift to their current sound.
    • More than a few of the musicians from bands who heavily influenced the genre have slammed it as well, particularly Page Hamilton, Maynard James Keenan, Trent Reznor, and Mike Patton.
    • Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park said they never carried a flag for nu metal to begin with. Which is pretty Blatant Lies since they were quite possibly the face of the genre when it fell.
  • One-Hit Wonder: One of the most commonly mocked things about the genre was the sheer amount of bands who would get snatched up by a label and release one charting hit (two if they were very lucky) before falling off the map. Many of these hits were 80s pop covers.
  • Periphery Demographic: If the sheer amount of AMVs using nu metal songs that were made well after nu metal died out are any indication, the genre has a sizable following with anime fans.
  • Periphery Hatedom: Even at the genre's peak popularity (where it was utterly massive), it was despised by traditional metalheads across the world who viewed it as an abomination to the genre. Naturally, the backlash became too much to withstand and it eventually died out. Even a decade later, where it's starting to make a return and regain cultural acceptance, there are still a sizable number of metalheads who wished the genre would've stayed dead.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Nu metal vocalists have been accused of this. Some bands avert this either by being competent rappers or by not rapping at all.
  • Popularity Polynomial: Now that 90s culture is once again in vogue, this is starting to take shape, between revival acts (Issues, King 810, Butcher Babies, Hollywood Undead, Saint Asonia, Of Mice & Men from Restoring Force onwards, In This Moment from Blood onward, Bring Me the Horizon from That's the Spirit onward) being met with success and established acts releasing albums that hark back to their old sound (Slipknot, Linkin Park, Papa Roach, Staind). Korn, the creator of the genre, is far more respected now than they were in the mid-to-late '00s, and even scored their first #1 on mainstream rock in 2013. Furthermore, several deathcore acts (Emmure, Attila, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, Upon a Burning Body) started infusing nu metal elements around the end of the 2000s and beginning of the 2010s, potentially foreshadowing this. It will probably never be half as popular as it was at the peak of its original run (and it didn't work out too well for Linkin Park), but it is slowly beginning to claw its way back from "trailer park music" to something approaching a culturally accepted genre once again, not that it hasn't been met with a fair amount of opprobrium as well. The fact that a band like From Ashes To New is having any success at all when a decade ago they'd be seen as a joke further proves this.
    • The reason might be simple: the "nu metal kids" back in the old days have grown up, and the ones that didn't become "true" metalheads are now implementing the music they know into the music of today. Meanwhile, younger crowds who weren't around during the genre's rise and fall don't feel the stigma associated with the genre, hence there's a renewed interest in the genre and a return to cultural acceptance.
  • Public Medium Ignorance: Explaining which bands are and aren't Nu-metal can be frustrating to genre fanatics. Most people lump Alternative Metal, Funk Metal, Rap Metal, Industrial Metal, Hard Rock and, occasionally, Post-Grunge, Gothic Metal and Emo (the last thanks to a combination of the Hate Dumb's stereotypical views on the Visual Kei trend and vitriolic attitudes towards anything that can be seen as "overtly emotional" and "damaging to the real image of metal") under the genre (in many ways, Nu-metal has become the catch-all term for modern pop-metal and hard rock). Whether it's because the genre is ill-defined or just contradicts its own characteristics, this may be one of the reasons why the tag is so controversial (see Dead Unicorn Trope above). In other words, many of the bands listed on this page probably aren't Nu-metal on a conventional level, but with how often they get tossed onto the pile, they may as well be.
    • This, in turn, is the most likely reason why the genre was tagged as metal in the first place despite its very thin ties to the rest of the metal genre, as it fit in nicely with established cultural stereotypes of what metal supposedly was.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: A few bands, particularly Deftones and Slipknot are well-respected by critics, some of which argue that they were never a part of the genre to begin with. In other countries, where the prejudice never existed, bands are proud to claim they were influenced by Korn, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot and other Nu Metal bands. A few bands have been saved by leaving the nu metal scene and shifting to more technical music styles. The genre itself has received this somewhat in the '10s, where a more real and authentic style of nu metal emerged and has gained ground, avoiding the mistakes that killed it in the first place and becoming a recognized genre in it's own right (though still not without detractors).
    • The fact that it became a Dead Horse Genre in the first place might be the reason why modern nu metal bands don't face nearly as much persecution from listeners as bands who played to the nu metal trend back during its peak. Bands like Issues, In This Moment, Emmure, Of Mice & Men, From Ashes to New, Bring Me the Horizon, Islander, Hacktivist, and the like are exploring genre by its own merits, rather than trying to cash in on a trend or being pressured by their labels to make them money off of a phenomenon. Since nu metal currently isn't an "in" trend, these bands are playing the genre (or at least integrating elements of it) because they genuinely like it, not just for a paycheck. They're aren't completely free from persecution, but people who dislike the bands have little to-do with the fact that it's nu metal.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: Very common.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Songs and bands important to Nu-metal will probably never receive much respect after how their concepts were driven into the ground. Outside the U.S. however, they are much more respected.
  • Sensory Abuse: It's everywhere in the genre; instruments drowned in a sea of effects, to the typically deranged singing, to the seizure-inducing visuals used in many nu metal videos and lives, and so on.
  • Singing Simlish: Jonathan Davis popularized scat-singing in Nu-metal, which David Draiman took to its natural evolution (Ooh-wa-ah-ah-ah!).
  • Sixth Ranger: Many, but far from all (despite the stereotype), had an additional member in the form of the DJ. They were there to provide samples and scratches, either to increase their range of sound (Deftones) or to further the hip-hop element (Limp Bizkit).
  • Song Association: Many nu metal bands owe their popularity to being associated with certain TV shows/video games/movies in which their songs have appeared.
  • Spiritual Successor: Metalcore, at least in terms of it being The Scrappy of the metal world. However, metalcore is more respected than Nu-metal was - it is almost universally agreed to at least be metal. This would take an even more literal meaning, as nu-metalcore (a hybrid of nu metal and metalcore, obviously enough) has become a fairly popular trend in the '10s within the metalcore scene, to divisive reception by metalheads.
    • Deathcore seems to be even more of a spiritual successor to Nu-metal. It's even more hated than metalcore (though most metalheads still agree it's metal), and is starting to become as hated as Nu-metal, largely for the same reasons that nu-metal was hated (bands worming their way onto otherwise solid bills, obnoxious ubiquity of them in local metal scenes, frequent reliance on obnoxious gimmicks, exceedingly juvenile lyrical content, tendency for once-respected acts to go in this direction in the interest of sales, fans primarily consisting of annoying and immature wiggers). Quite a few deathcore bands have even been acknowledging nu-metal acts as influences.
    • Experimental metal is also considered as a spiritual successor; at least this is what nu metal was supposed to have been (Genre-Busting metal). If only it weren't horribly exploited by the industry as a marketable musical formula, it could have developed into this and opened up many creative opportunities for metal artists. Possibly justified by the fact that many well-respected nu metal bands have gotten more experimental as they matured, which can be chalked up to their no longer having to please industry heads or the Ozzfest second stage crowd; when they're not fighting for the allowance dollar, there's a lot more room to do what they actually want to do.
    • The Alternative Metal/Post-Grunge crossover was a successor to nu metal in the mid-to-late '00s. The variation largely took its place on mainstream rock radio, it was highly popular with teens and young adults like nu metal was, and many of them drew upon angst. In fact, some bands actually took influence from nu metal bands without being a full-fledged example of the genre. Similarly, it was commonly rejected by metalheads as not being "true metal".
    • Djent has been seen like this to the metal community, right down to endless debates as to whether or not it actually is metal.
    • Dubstep has become even more of a spiritual successor to nu metal than any other heavy music genre. Critics have expressed disdain over it for being an apparent disgrace to music due to its frequent use of extremely formulaic compositions, exceedingly simplistic and obnoxious sound, and over-reliance on sheer volume, as well as the near-ubiquity of dubstep songs in various forms of media and the tendency of competing artists to copy each others' styles. As of The New Tens, the genre is perceived as being about nothing but super-filthy basslines, extreme loudness and repetitive wobble riffs, and it's only starting to get worse.
  • Squick: Squick is a popular subject of Nu-metal. Singing about cuts, bleeding, and illnesses is standard. The overuse of "under my skin" (and variants thereof) is easy to spot.
  • Strictly Formula: Nu metal had commonly been criticized for being overly-formulaic despite the Genre-Busting premise. This, combined with oversaturation on the market, led to people getting burnt out on it. More-or-less averted with modern acts, who draw upon a wide variety of influences, and are exploring the genre on its own merits, rather than to cash in on a commercially viable fad.
  • Stylistic Suck: Some nu metal bands deliberately cash in on being hated by metalheads by putting out material that seemingly serve no purpose other than pissing off listeners. Common signs of this trope in the genre include unintelligibly screaming/singing vocalists, strong tendencies towards Three Chords and the Truth, excessive use of electronics and/or other forms of Sensory Abuse (dubstep, industrial and noise sounds are popular choices for electronic sounds), immature and/or nonsensical lyric writing, and so on)
  • Suddenly Shouting: A commonplace practice, mainly due to the fusion of softer vocals with vicious screams.
  • Taking You with Me: An unfortunate example, but Rap Rock, it's metal variation, and Funk Metal largely died out alongside nu metal due to the overlap being ingrained in public consciousness. Additionally, the use of turntables died out as well.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Syncopated, rhythmically-driven power chord riffs are common. A few bands (most notably Deftones) use Meshuggah-influenced riffs consisting of only two or three notes. Lead guitar work isn't too complicated either - most solos are just high-pitched droning notes drenched in effects. Bass and drum work, however, avert this trope for the most part, as bass solos and heavily syncopated drum beats are fairly common.
  • Trope Codifier: Limp Bizkit or Slipknot.
  • Trope Makers: Korn, even though they deny it.
  • Ur-Example: Before Korn created the genre, the first proto-bands that were influential to the development include Faith No More, Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Helmet, Alice in Chains, Rage Against the Machine, Stuck Mojo, "Bring the Noize" by Anthrax and Public Enemy, Biohazard, Beastie Boys, and Living Colour. It's generally agreed that none of them are considered nu metal bands themselves, but without them the genre wouldn't exist.
  • Visual Kei: The Japanese Visual scene is pretty much populated by nu metal bands, though said bands have also begun moving away from the genre and into more metallic styles.note 
  • Vocal Tag Team: Some bands, such as Linkin Park, utilized this. It seems to be especially common with nu-metalcore bands.
  • Wangst: Most of the attempts by bands to write personal or emotional lyrics turned out like this.
  • What Could Have Been: If it weren't for Nu-metal's genre salad being perceived as a marketable formula, Alternative metal and metal as a whole could've seen the kind of pan-cultural experimentalism only enjoyed by Progressive Metal becoming a cultural phenomenon (Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly at a major level). Sadly, most metal purists were scared for life at the idea of even touching Nu-metal's wackiness. Nearly an entire decade passed before it regained any cultural acceptance.
    "Why didn't Nu-metal sound like this?"
    -Metal Hammer Magazine on Pain by Dub War.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Several band names, including (but not limited to) Korn (which spells its name with a backwards "R"), Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park.

Nu metal songs:

Essential nu metal albums:
  • Korn — Korn
  • Deftones — Around the Fur
  • Sepultura — Roots
  • Slipknot — Slipknot
  • Limp Bizkit — Significant Other
  • Kid Rock — Devil Without a Cause
  • Sevendust — Sevendust
  • Papa Roach — Infest
  • Disturbed — The Sickness
  • Mudvayne — L.D. 50
  • Linkin Park — Hybrid Theory
  • Saliva — Every Six Seconds
  • System of a Down — Toxicity
  • P.O.D. — Satellite
  • Evanescence — Fallen

Alternative Title(s): Nu-Metal

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NuMetal