Don’t forget to check out albums #25-20 in the previous post before reading on!
19. Static-X – Wisconsin Death Trip
The one, the only, self described “evil disco” band in the world, Static-X was lead by Wayne Static (R.I.P.) and his two foot tall hair. When Wisconsin Death Trip was released, Static-X stood out not only because of Wayne’s unique and signature look, but also the sheer heaviness the album brought to the table. I remember being in Target, wandering about the music section when suddenly all the TVs on the wall started playing the music video for “Push It”. My young jaw fell to the floor. “I’m With Stupid”, “Bled For Days” and “Sweat Of The Bud” were all welcome headbanging jams while “Love Dump”, “Ostegolation” and “Stem” combined elements of industrial and trance which the band became known for. Check out the video for “Push It” below.
18. Spineshank – The Height Of Callousness
Spineshank’s debut Strictly Diesel was a band still trying to find its sound and identity but on sophomore album The Height Of Callousness they fucking nailed it. On the album Spineshank deliver a perfect mix of all out attack with carefully crafted melodic passages. More often than not nu metal bands delivered a crushing debut album only to then mellow out for more appeal with their sophomore releases but The Height Of Callousness not only opposed the majority, it completely shit all over the first album. “Synthetic” and “New Disease” were deserving of being singles, but it was deep cuts like “Play God”, “Transparent” and “Full Circle” (a track available only on the special edition version) where the band were at the top of their game. The band went on hiatus shortly after releasing follow-up Self Destructive Patterns in 2003. They reformed years later and released Anger Denial Acceptance in 2012 but failed to recreate the energy found on their previous albums. Check below for the “New Disease” video.
17. Mudvayne – L.D. 50
Among the many nu metal gimmicks, wearing masks/body paint was always one of the top choices for instant recognition. Try for a second to imagine Slipknot without their masks…it doesn’t really work. Mudvayne were in the same vein (though later on they ditched their body paint in favor of their everyday faces) and were instantly catapulted to nu metal stardom thanks in part to their image after the release of L.D. 50. My first taste of the band was seeing their music video for “Dig” on MTV and I fell in love immediately. There was a seething angst in Chad Grey’s vocals that were unmatched at the time, set against a backdrop of complex distortion. Nu metal is often noted for its simplistic nature and approach when it comes to songwriting and style but Mudvayne often used off-time signatures that demanded the listener to pay full attention to all that was going on. The album is held together with short interludes that present the music as one continuous motion, like a stream of conscious from a scattered mind. Each track offers its own treasures to discover with “Internal Primates Forever”, “Death Blooms” and “Nothing To Gein” being huge standouts for me. Click below to watch the video for “Death Blooms”.
16. Reveille – Laced
Limp Bizkit may be regarded as the undisputed kings of rap metal but Reveille’s Drew Simollardes spits a much better game than Fred Durst. Reveille, hailing from Worcester, Massachusetts, only released two albums in their career but their debut Laced is the far superior effort. “Permanent (Take A Look Around)” took airwaves by storm upon its release in 1999 and helped put Reveille in the spotlight, if only for a short span. The thing that separated Reveille from the slew of other rap nu metal bands is their ability to make everything sound natural and not a contrived gimmick used simply for show. Right off the bat “Butterfly” opens the album and punches you right in the face. “Perfect World” continues the fast pace and the album rarely slows down except for a short introduction on “Feel”. If you never listened to Reveille before or this album happened to pass you by, pick it up, put yourself back into a 1999 mindset and fucking enjoy. Click below for the “Permanent (Take A Look Around)” music video.
15. Kittie – Spit
With the metal world overrun by men, your mind was fucking blown when Kittie came out. They are, to my knowledge, the first all girl metal band to make it big. When I was in middle school the thought of a girl screaming never even crossed my mind. Sure, I’d seen girls in bands before like Rayna Foss in Coal Chamber but I’d never heard a girl scream like Morgan Lander. Spit isn’t, for all intents and purposes, a “great” album and it isn’t an album that really holds up today either. However what it did do was break down barriers in the music world and showed that the girls could be just as rough as the boys. That being said there were many awesome tracks on this record such as “Spit”, “Charlotte”, “Brackish” and album closer “Immortal” is an interesting instrumental that erupts into pure heaviness and then ends, leaving the listener hungry for more. Watch the video for “Brackish” below.
14. Disturbed – The Sickness
Disturbed’s The Sickness is one of the only albums I’ve ever purchased without hearing any of the music. All I knew was that the band was “heavy” from what friends had said and the album cover looked cool. The second I popped it in and “Voices” came blaring out of my CD player speakers, I knew I had made a good purchase. Say what you will about Disturbed, but you can’t deny the fact that they have made a sound that is totally their own. From guitarist Dan Donegan’s groove oriented playing to vocalist David Draiman’s signature barks and powerful melodies, their force is undeniable whether you’re a fan or not. The Sickness took over the world when it came out and has since gone 4X Platinum. “Stupify” lead the charge but was followed by the singles “Down With The Sickness”, “Voices” and “Fear”. Disturbed’s later output may have been a bit watered down and somewhat uninspired, but within context, The Sickness is a fantastic rock album and turned them into one of the biggest nu metal acts of all time. Watch the video for “Stupify” below and see where it all began.
Check back soon as we continue the countdown on the Top 25 Nu Metal albums of all time!