10 Underrated Nu-Metal Songs That Need to Be Heard

2023-06-18

Christian rock band Skillet press photo.

Skillet has one of Audio Ink Radio’s top underrated nu-metal songs – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Audio Ink Radio presents its list of 10 underrated nu-metal songs that need to be heard

Nu-metal blossomed in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s, and the genre is here to stay. Even more than two decades later, new bands continue to pop up that mix hip-hop, rock and industrial metal in the nu-metal fashion. Sure, people joke about certain rap-rock bands that seemed to only fit their era. But, nobody’s laughing when it comes to the kind of influence these bands had on the evolution of popular music. That’s even true of underrated nu-metal songs and bands.

While nu-metal had a bevy of chart-topping hits, there are plenty of nu-metal songs that didn’t get the attention they deserved. While some of these songs did make it on the airwaves, they never broke big enough to become mainstays in the genre. In turn, most of these bands didn’t get the attention they deserved, either. Audio Ink Radio is digging those lesser-known gems out of hiding with this list of the 10 most underrated nu-metal songs. Send us your picks on Facebook here.

10. Flybanger, “Blind World” (2000)

Nu-metal die-hards will likely remember Canada’s Flybanger. The band’s 2001 album, “Headtrip to Nowhere,” stood out thanks to its allegience to the true heavy metal sounds of bands such as Pantera, during a time when metal was getting a bit watered down. The album’s track “Blind World” is a snapshot in time. The song comments on people’s fanatical response to Y2K at the turn of the century.

9. Dry Kill Logic, “Paper Tiger” (2004)

Dry Kill Logic came on the scene in the mid-1990s and released their debut full-length, “The Darker Side of Nonsense,” in 2001. The single “”Paper Tiger” off their follow-up album, 2004’s “The Dead and Dreaming,” is a beast of a nu-metal track.

8. Islander, “Coconut Dracula” (2014)

Who says nu-metal is dead? Just look at Islander. The high-powered rock band out of Greenville, South Carolina, formed in the early 2010s. Their modern brand of nu-metal has earned them great fanfare, especially with their 2014 single, “”Coconut Dracula.” A bonus is that the band is buddies with P.O.D., as vocalist Mikey Carvajal is a part of the non-profit outreach organization known as The Whosoevers, among which Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D. is also a member.

7. 40 Below Summer, “Falling Down” (2000)

40 Below Summer got cred in the nu-metal world early on by partnering with No Name Management, the same group behind kingpins of the genre such as Mudvayne and Slipknot. The New Jersey guys crafted innovative, multi-layered nu-metal. That music is all over their major label debut, 2001’s “Invitation to the Dance,” and the dynamic track “Falling Down.”

6. Otep, “Warhead” (2004)

Otep Shamaya and her band, Otep, have wowed heavy music fans since the early-2000s. More than anything, Otep stood out for their high-octane, riveting live shows. The song “Warhead” off 2004’s “House of Secrets” is a gem. MTV’s “Headbanger’s Ball” played the music video incessantly.

5. Skillet, “Whispers in the Dark” (2006)

Skillet blend a slew of different genres into their Christian hard rock sound. The nu-metal presence is there, with the band’s combination of metal, alternative rock and pop. “Whispers in the Dark” off the group’s sixth studio album, 2006’s “Comatose,” saw them incorporating more orchestral elements and heavier guitars than in previous releases, marking a new chapter for the band. Of course, unlike some of the bands on this list, Skillet went on to become huge radio stars, but this song never quite got the airplay it warranted.

4. Rev Theory, “Light It Up” (2008)

Rev Theory came on the scene in the early 2000s, bringing a heavy, modern rock sound with elements of nu-metal and post-grunge. The title track off the band’s sophomore 2008 album, “Lit It Up,” is a banger, and it landed the honor of being the official theme song of WrestleMania XXIV.

3. 12 Stones, “Broken” (2002)

12 Stones formed just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana. They signed to Wind-Up Records, alongside bands such as Creed and Evanescence. Of course, frontman Paul McCoy appears on the omnipresent Evanescence track “Bring Me to Life.” But, 12 Stones have an arsenal of hits in their catalog outside of that guest appearance. One of their hidden gems is the heartfelt “Broken” off the band’s 2002 self-titled debut.

2. Mushroomhead, “Kill Tomorrow” (2003)

The look and style of a band simply mattered in the nu-metal era, and masked groups such as Mushroomhead were a landmark of the time. Mushroomhead married nu-metal with grunge and thrash on “XIII,” and nowhere is that more apparent than on the album’s lead track, “Kill Tomorrow.” Sure, Mushroomhead might look like Slipknot, but they had a sound all their own.

1. Taproot, “Poem” (2002)

One of the defining albums from the nu-metal movement, hands down, is the 2000 debut album from Taproot, “Gift.” Mixing the best of Korn, Deftones and Linkin Park, Taproot caught the attention of the greater music community with “Gift” and soon became the pride of their hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their next album, 2002’s “Welcome,” Taproot landed major rock fanfare with the hit single “Poem” and, later, “Mine.” Sure, “Poem” became a radio hit. But, it never became as big as Linkin Park’s “Crawling” or Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff.” We think it had all the characteristics to make it a pillar of the genre. For that, we’re putting Taproot with “Poem” at the top of our list of the 10 most underrated nu-metal songs of all time.

Read Audio Ink Radio’s list of 10 post-grunge songs that should have been huge here.

Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Music, Rock