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In the early 2000s, as metalcore and skinny jeans seized the spotlight, nü-metal – once synonymous with tracksuits, baggy jeans, and chain wallets – found itself pushed aside in favor of the next big thing. The demise of nü-metal wasn’t solely a result of external forces; internal factors also played a significant role.

While iconic bands like Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, and Korn enjoyed success, the genre faced challenges. A flood of copycat bands saturated the market, diluting its appeal. Major labels pressured bands to conform to commercial norms, stifling creativity. Moreover, tales of excess and dysfunction among nü-metal musicians tarnished the genre’s reputation.

SOiL guitarist Adam Zadel believes that the tragic death of Drowning Pool‘s vocalist, Dave Williams cast a long shadow over nü-metal’s heyday. With hits like “Bodies,” Drowning Pool seemed destined for greatness until Williams‘ untimely demise from an undiagnosed heart condition in 2002. Despite efforts to carry on, Drowning Pool struggled to recapture their former glory, signaling a downturn for the genre as a whole.

In a recent appearance on the Nu Pod, SOiL bassist/vocalist Tim King shared Zadel‘s sentiment, noting how the genre seemed to lose momentum following Williams‘ death.

“It’s kind of crazy how different sort of genres kinda come in and come out. It’s like hair metal was a very dirty word for a long time. But now people love it, you know with the Mötley Crüe Dirt record coming out; Steel Panther making kind of a mockumentary Spinal Tap out of it—all these bands doing that.”

“Metalcore was huge for a while. That’s what kinda took over where nü-metal left off and that kinda just went down into a slump and nobody really talks about it anymore. Now you have nü-metal coming back and probably after that wears out metalcore will be back. It kinda comes back in these full swings and stuff, it’s pretty exciting.”

“Our SOiL guitarist Adam had told me after we left Dave Williams from Drowning Pool‘s funeral he goes, ‘I hate to say it, man, but I think nü-metal might have died with Dave Williams.’ And he was kind of on to something on that because it kind of started to take a downturn after that, and then just kind of went away.”

“And metalcore and white belts and all that stuff kind of took over. But it’s cool to see it all back now, we’re pretty excited. We rode out the wave, we haven’t stopped.”

In the grand scheme of music’s cyclical nature, nü-metal’s comeback, simply proves that trends have a way of coming full circle.

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