Nu Metalcore: An Inventive Genre of Music is Blowing Up Right Behind Our Ears


Stefan Brending via Creative Commons

From Ashes to New is one of the more exciting examples of Nu Metalcore.

Matthew Pritz, Guest Writer

Music is something that brings a lot of us together. It can be relaxing, dreamy, energetic, or fun. We have pop, rap, alternative, R&B, and recently pop punk taking over the mainstream media today, but the focus of my article is going to be on a genre that doesn’t get that much attention: metal. Specifically, I will introduce most of you to a new subgenre of metal called nu metalcore, which got its start in 2009, but before I can talk about this relatively new genre, we need to talk about its parent genres nu metal and metalcore.

Nu metal is a genre of metal that mixes elements of 90s alternative metal, grunge, industrial, funk, and hardcore punk. It got its start in 1994 when the band Korn released its self-titled debut album. This caused a lot of bands to pop up and go mainstream by 1996. Deftones, Slipknot, System of a Down, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, and countless others followed Korn and ruled over the late 90s into the early 2000s. Nu metal declined in 2003 after a lot of bands started to change their sound and reject the label because it was starting to become too much. As of now, a lot of those bands from this genre are still going strong, even if their music is different from what it once was.

Listeners can expect bouncy guitar riffs like these that will make them get up out of their seats and start jumping like if they were at a hip hop show. This bounce is the driving force behind nu metal’s heaviness. Listeners can also expect a variety of different vocal styles including rapping, growling, screaming, whispering, or even melodic singing. For fans of the bass guitar, listeners get to hear the instrument finally shine through complex bass riffs or the use of slap bass, heard in the work of bands like Korn, Mudvayne, and Guano Apes. As for drums, you won’t expect anything crazy except for basic hip hop drum beats and double bass drumming. Other elements include industrial backgrounds (Static-X, Powerman 5000, and Spineshank) and the use of turntables heard from Slipknot, Linkin Park, and Limp Bizkit.

After nu metal moved away from the spotlight, metalcore stepped in as the biggest metal genre from the mid to late 2000s. Metalcore is a metal subgenre that takes influence from hardcore punk, crossover thrash, heavy hardcore, melodic death metal, and extreme metal. The style really kicked off with Hatebreed in 1997 but didn’t get popular until after the decline of nu metal in 2003. As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, All That Remains, and the early work Avenged Sevenfold are some of the most popular examples of 2000s metalcore. This was also popular alongside emo during the same era. Metalcore is still going on, but it’s changed a lot over the past 2 decades.

Music fans who listen to metalcore can expect aggression reminiscent of hardcore music. This aggression comes in the form of some melodic guitar riffs, breakdowns (the slow heavy parts in metalcore songs), and vocals that switch from screaming to clean singing. Clean singing in metalcore can be either really low, really high, or somewhere in the middle. Some bands don’t use clean singing and stick to screaming. Other elements include auto tuned singing, death metal growls, electronic backgrounds, samples, and blast beats.

Now for the juicy stuff. 

Back during the nu metal explosion, there were a few bands that mixed nu metal and metalcore together. Popular examples include Ill Nino, Chimaira, and Demon Hunter. These bands were ahead of their time and really changed the game when it comes to the future of metal. After the decline of nu metal, Maximum the Hormone from Japan and Bury Your Dead threw their hats into the ring with their nu metal influenced metalcore. These bands were only the beginning of what was to come.

In 2009, the deathcore Emmure started mixing in nu metal elements into their style, starting with their 3rd album, which earned them praise that called them “the next Limp Bizkit,” given to them by “Metal Injection.” Even though Emmure was hated for multiple reasons including using the same breakdown multiple times in a song, you have to admit, it’s this very element that makes them sick. After that, a lot of metalcore bands started to experiment with this nu metal influenced metalcore in the years from 2010-2013. These bands include Sucide Silence, Attila, In This Moment, Stray From The Path, and My Ticket Home. This was only the start of a big step in the evolution of metal.

As that was going on, some of the earliest examples of nu metalcore popped up. Sworn In, Infected Rain, Dangerkids, Yuth Forever, and Butcher Babies are some of these early examples of nu metalcore.I would personally call this proto nu metalcore because this was only the beginning of the genre. But even though it’s only the beginning, this stuff goes hard.

Things really kicked into high gear when Of Mice & Men released “Restoring Force.” This album saw a turning point for the band from having an emo metalcore sound to having more of a nu metal influenced metalcore sound. A month later, Issues entered the ring with their self-titled debut album. Issues was the first band to fully embrace nu metalcore with their pop and R&B influenced sound similar to that of the math rock band Dance Gavin Dance. Issues also used turntables just like some of those early nu metal bands previously mentioned.

Starting in 2014, the underground scene exploded with hundreds of nu metalcore bands. This new genre mixes in elements of pop, rap, alternative, R&B, indie, nu metal, metalcore, deathcore, trap metal, emo, and djent (the d is silent) all into this untamed heaviness that is nu metalcore. From this genre, you can expect some heavy breakdowns, untamed screaming, spine tingling singing, heavy guitar riffs, distorted bass, rap beats, and electronic backgrounds. These bands are all available to listen to on Spotify, Soundcloud, and more.

If you have no idea where to start on your nu metalcore journey. Here are 6 bands I recommend checking out.


Ocean Grove: This band from Australia was heavily influenced by a more hardcore punk sound in their earlier works but ever since the departure of their first singer, they took a more alternative rock and rap influence which I like a lot. They also give off a summer vibe and that’s what I like about them.

Songs to check out: “Intimate Alien,” “JUNKIE$,” “Ask For the Anthem,” “DREAM”

Fans might also like: My Enemies & I, Sylar, Islander, My Ticket Home


Void of Vision: This Australian band is one of my favorites out of this subgenre. Their riffs, breakdowns, vocals, everything about them screams heavy. So if you’re having a bad day, I definitely recommend listening to them.

Songs to check out: “Decay,” “If Only,” “Year of the Rat,” “//”, “Kill All My Friends”

Fans might also like: Sleep Waker, Polaris, Aviana, Thornhill


Alpha Wolf: Another band from Australia, this band is one of the heavier bands from this genre. Their glitchiness, brutal vocals, crushing breakdowns, and overall aesthetic make them one of the heaviest bands in this genre and just like Void of Vision, I recommend listening to them on a bad day.

Songs to check out: “Akudama,” “Sub-Zero,” “Golden Fate; Gut Ache,” “Nail Biter”

Fans might also like: Sworn In, “Dealer, The Gloom in the Corner, VCTMS, Lotus Eater


Loathe: This band from the UK gives off a Deftones vibe. They have light songs and they have heavy songs. When it’s a light song, the guitars sound their very best, the vocals are calming and relaxed, and they have an overall ambient sound. When it’s a heavy song, the vocals are cranked up to an 11 in brutality, they have crushing guitar tone, brutal riffs, and a nightmare like aesthetic.

Songs to check out: “Gored”, “Is it Really You,” “White Hot,” “Two-Way Mirror”

Fans might also like: Darko US, Vein.FM


From Ashes To New: This band from Lancaster are one of the best Linkin Park clones out there. Their electronic background music, riffing, use of 2 vocalists that sound eerily similar to Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda, and relatable song topics make them an awesome band. They’re also local so that’s a win.

Songs to check out: “Panic,” “The Scars That I’m Hiding,” “Crazy,” “Through It All”

Fans might also like: Dangerkids, Dropout Kings, Fever 333, Ded


Cane Hill: This band from New Orleans features a distinctive sound reminiscent of Korn and Slipknot. Their industrial backgrounds, creepy nature, chilling vocals, brutal screaming, and crazy riffs make them one of the heaviest nu core bands up there with Alpha Wolf.

Songs to check out: “Too Far Gone,” “Kill Me,” “It Follows,” “Blood & Honey”

Fans might also like: Blood Youth, Tallah, Darke Complex, Varials, Tetrarch, King 810

If anyone’s hungry for more, the link to my playlist that’s full of this stuff is right here. Just a little explicit content warning, some of this stuff gets dark and brutal. So do some of the music videos. Listener and viewer discretion is advised.