All Hail the Nu Flesh
One of our idiots has gone a bit peculiar, and developed a liking for Limp Bizkit. Why? Read on...
by: Daniel Cairns
Something strange has happened to me recently, and I haven't the foggiest idea what's caused it. It's something that the 16 year old me would have balked at.

I've been listening to lots and lots of nu metal.

I can't explain it. Maybe this is an early onset midlife crisis. My hair's receding and a belly is forming where a lithe stomach once sat. Maybe I am actually genuinely retarded, and a gibbering frothing dunderhead has been hiding behind a fa├žade of intelligence all along.

Maybe the answer's simpler. Maybe I like it.

Yeah. That's probably it.

I think my re-acquaintance with the subgenre was ignited by my attendance of the Bloodstock festival. I had a good time, but I'd be lying if I said the music had anything to do with it. I'd never heard such regressive bollocks in all my life. Wolf, Saxon, Girlschool, Apocalyptica, Equilibrium... VOMIT.

Save a few bands, it was the least musically enriching experience of my life. It was like school assembly, but with more swearing and booze. I remember mooching about, wishing I could hear something that sounded like it actually came from the 21st century. I don't normally think like that, but three days filled with retro pish does that to a man.

The seeds were definitely sown at that exact moment.

Anyway, a few days after the festival ended, I was doing some writing (for once), and was flitting through iTunes looking for something to give me a kick up the proverbial. What was I going to listen to though? Nile? Nah. Cryptopsy? Can't be arsed. Emperor? Emper-urgh. I like all that stuff, but that wasn't going to do it for me.

Out of the corner of my eye though, it hits me.

Static X. _Machine_.

This album is about eight years old, and has parked itself in iTunes being ignored for about three of them. It's as nu metal as you can probably get, although there's no rapping. I probably gave it about three listens at the time before moving on to something else. So I thought sod it. Let's see what it's like.

It was dumb. The music was simple. On some songs they're just thudding away at an open string. The lyrics were corny. The guy has atrocious hair.

Basically, it was brilliant.

In my head I knew it was pretty much arse, but in my heart I was banging my head, roaring along like a spastic. "THIS IS NOT MY WORLD, THIS IS NOT MY LIFE, THIS IS NOT ME... I HATE THIS!" It was loud, dumb and catchy nonsense.

Loud, dumb and catchy... why, that sounds like all the '80s inspired crap that went down well at Bloodstock, doesn't it?

Nu metal is roundly derided, and for the most part that's fair enough. Christ, some of it was diabolical. Taproot? Staind? Linkin Park? Yeah OK, they're shite. However, every genre has smeg collated on its bellend. You just need to wipe the smeg away in order to enjoy the rest of it.

Besides, a lot of it is fun. Let's take Limp Bizkit, probably the most despised band in the history of the universe. There's plenty to hate about them, and I utterly loathed them at the time. However, ten years later, ten years in which I have grown up and become more philosophical about life, the universe and my surroundings (though I'm still playing video games in my fucking pants) I can look back at Limp Bizkit and think, "Christ, they were quite good fun, really."

I certainly think they hold up favourably to, ooh, let's say Trivium or Shadows Fall, bands that consistently bore the buggering fuck out of me. Seriously. Limp Bizkit are awful, but my Lord they're fucking funny. Take "Rollin'", for goodness sakes. There's a bit where Mr Durst opines about the amount of bands that want to be as successful as Limp Bizkit, but they can't because "they need to get some better beats and, uh, get some better rhymes." And then he goes "Doh!"

It's so funny I shat.

Thing is, nu metal isn't just good for comedy value. Some genuinely excellent bands came out of the genre. Deftones, for instance. They're a band that've consistently released fantastic records. Even Korn had their moments earlier on. Some bands that were excellent in their own right arguably suffered under the label. Remember American Head Charge? Their album _The War of Art_ was mostly bloody excellent, if a bit long. If they weren't labelled nu metal they'd have done brilliantly. Then there's the aforementioned _Machine_ by Static X, which is insanely fun.

So why am I wittering on about it?

Well, when I was at Bloodstock, nu metal was still perceived as some sort of naughty word. When I expressed my guilty admiration for Limp Bizkit to a bunch I'd met, I was largely humiliated. Fair enough, I can take a giggle, but I was largely perturbed by one lad's anti Bizkit argument: "They're fookin shite. They cannae fookin seulo" (that is garbled northern speak for "they are musically unsatisfying, and lacking in the proficiency department, I do believe").

Eh? Since when did the ability to solo denote a band was actually any good? Hell, since when did being technically proficient mean a band was good? Steve Vai can shred like a mother and can do some astonishing stuff with a guitar, but a lump of manure could write a better song than him. Same goes for Dream Theater, a band that consistently redefines the phrase 'fuckawful'. 'But they can play amazing, technical stuff!', I hear you cry. Somehow that exonerates them from the fact they're as pleasurable to listen to as your parents fucking.

There's some serious musical snobbery when it comes to metal, and it fucking stinks. I met folks at the festival who listened to nothing but metal. In fact, some of them listened to nothing but certain metal subgenres. I met a few people who said they listened to nothing but thrash, and a few who listened to nothing but the blackest of black.

Seriously, I don't get it. Doesn't it get a bit boring, trudging through the same type of metal all the time? It's more than likely that some of you are aspiring musicians as well. If you're into nothing but thrash metal, you're going to make nothing but knockoff thrash metal. Human nature, innit? Listen to black metal, you make knockoff black metal.

Chaps. I won't beat around the beard. It probably explains why the majority of demos you send to us are shite. We've listened to Emperor and Iron Maiden enough, man. You really think we want to hear you bunch of fannys ripping them off?

To that end people, I implore you; stop being so fucking snobby and single minded. Don't dismiss something because there's rapping in it, or there are no solos, or it isn't fast and heavy enough. I will admit, I've been guilty of such nonsense before. Every time I heard a breakdown I would be like 'blergh, fuck off', but you know, once I took the stick out of my arse, I realised some of that stuff was actually pretty good. I mean, look at Suicide Silence. Seriously, they're brutal as fucking fuck, but I wouldn't have bothered with them if I let myself be swayed by my innate hatred of breakdowns.

I guess this boils down to one thing: classifying music by genre is bollocks. When you're getting to the stage that you need an entire sentence to describe a band's sound (progressive blackened hardcore thrash death crunk) you know it's time to back right off. It does more harm than good. Case in point, I received a demo a while ago from a band that described themselves as "dark progressive metal", but I listened to it and it sounded like Maroon 5 on crabby pills. Cue me ripping the piss out of it, and a hilariously butthurt email from them. If there wasn't the weight of prog metal expectation on it, it would have been given a fairer trial. I'd have still said it was pish in its own right, but there you go.

Think of all the excellent music you've missed out on because you've let a stupid label knocked up by some underpaid dick of a journalist put you off. Something could be utterly life changing for you, but you wouldn't bother with it because it's branded nu metal or post hardcore. It's a shitty, retarded state of affairs, and bands suffer from such lazy descriptions. There's nothing more boring than a pleb getting arsey because you've accidentally described a band 'wrongly' in their eyes. 'Actually I think you'll find they're nu thrash, because they incorporate elemeSHUT THE FUCK UP! SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP!'

Face it, your parents were right. The majority of this metal stuff goes in one ear and comes straight out the other. You seriously think you'll be listening to something shitty like Asphyx or Kreator when you're sucking your breakfast up through your toothless gums in fifty years time? Of course not. And if you do, you're a fucking nob who should grow up. And get a haircut.

So! Before that happens, my firm friends, start opening up a bit. Give something a try that you hadn't before. Chances are you'll be a better person for it. You may not like most of it but you're bound to like something that you wouldn't normally bother with, whether it be nu, thrash, post, acoustic, glitch, dance or even pop.

Apart from Saxon. No-one should have to suffer them.

(article submitted 8/10/2009)

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