Nu-Metal Resurgence in Gen Z

With the influence of social media platforms, a lot of music genres and subgenres like Nu-Metal have reared their head to generations that may have never discovered them otherwise. Nu-metal has made a resurgence within Gen Z influenced by social media.

Nu Metal is a subgenre of Metal that incorporates other musical elements into it. The most popular of these are hip-hop and electronic. The rise and popularity of Nu Metal was primarily evident in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Some of the most popular bands of that time include Korn, System of a Down, Slipknot, Linkin Park, Evanescence, Limp Bizkit, and Deftones.

Many EHHS teachers who were in middle school or high school during the peak of Metal music listened to that genre. EHHS Video and Media teacher, Ms. Jessica Spinelli, is one of those teachers who grew up listening to Metal. She states that her brother introduced her to the genre when she was 11 years old. EHHS History teacher Mr. Adam Gardner is also one of those teachers, saying he was introduced to the genre through television stations like MTV and VH1. Both teachers are drawn to the genre because of its open community and their connection to the music. It has influenced both of them in positive ways. Ms. Spinelli states that the bands and music in that genre got her out of a dark place in her life and has introduced her to important people in her life through a shared connection to the music. Mr. Gardner said that the Nu-Metal genre introduced him to other genres and reminded him that there is no one “model” or “norm” in music. To them, Nu-Metal means something important; freedom of expression, a place to release your feelings, and a community of high energy people.

Both Ms. Spinelli and Mr. Gardner were made aware of the resurgence of Nu Metal. Ms. Spinelli thinks that the newer releases from Nu Metal bands like Korn, who released “Requiem” in February 2022, Limp Bizkit, who released “Still Sucks” in October 2021, and Evanescence, who released “The Bitter Truth” in March 2021, use more electronic and hip hop sounds than they did before. She also thinks that the songs are not as heavy as they used to be. Ms. Spinelli believes that the evolution has introduced more people into the genre, but it may sound a little too like the pop-genre music sometimes. Mr. Gardner believes the genre is making a comeback because “people need to express themselves and relate to a similar situation as their own.” Ms. Spinelli’s reasoning was similar, stating, “People are experiencing more angst and frustration with everything going on in the world.” Along with those feelings of belonging and community, there are also newer artists that are collaborating with those in the Nu-Metal genre, making more people aware and intriguing them. The common fashion within the Nu-Metal community, including, but not limited to, baggy pants and wallet chains, is also intriguing to those who want to change things up.

Some students at EHHS are aware of this resurgence and evolution as well. While not everyone may know it or listen to it, they are aware that it exists. A survey was conducted to get the opinions and thoughts of students at EHHS.

Many students knew that Nu-Metal was at least a genre of music. One student stated that Nu-Metal is, “A specific genre that incorporates other genres like hip hop.” A majority of the students who took the survey, though, had never listened to Nu Metal: 45.5%, as opposed to the 18.2% who have listened to it for their entire life, 27.3% for 1-5 years, and 9.1% for less than a year. Of the students who do listen to Nu-Metal, 45.5% of them were introduced to it by family and friends, while 18.2% discovered it through social media. When asked what drew them to Nu-Metal, students stated that it was “catchy,” or it gave them a “nostalgic feeling.” Others appreciated the meaning behind the words and the mix of different types of music. The influence that Nu-Metal presented to those students was positive as well. For some, it inspired them to play music. For others, it exposed them to other genres and reminded them to keep an open mind with music.

Of the bands mentioned in the survey, the most recognizable one was Linkin Park, with 63.6% of students checking off the box. Dry Kill Logic was the least recognizable at 0%. Along with the resurgence and positive influence of Nu-Metal, comes stereotypes. Ms. Spinelli said that the most common stereotype she could think of was the overall image of those that listen to the genre; that they are all “angry and on drugs,” and only look a certain way with certain fashion. She added that those people are also commonly mislabeled under the “emo” genre. But, she also said that those stereotypes will want to “make kids hide the music they listen to,” and “parents won’t want their kids listening to that music.” On the contrary, those Nu-Metal artists don’t care what you look like, and neither does the community.