We asked some of our writers to help us get to know them by sharing their favorite lesser known songs— the ones that might not have made it onto the airwaves—and they delivered! Here are eleven obscure heavy hitters, presented in no particular order, by The Nu-Metal Agenda staff.
American Head Charge — "Pushing the Envelope"
American Head Charge’s The War of Art is a singularly relentless assault, a 67-minute road trip strapped to the back of a tractor-trailer careening out of control down the interstate. “Pushing The Envelope” kicks in just after the band has accelerated to full speed, opening with frenetic, choppy riffing and a keyboard part that sounds like a malfunctioning air raid siren. The verses keep up the pace with an absolutely feral double-bass drum pattern, but Cameron Heacock’s vocals are what really push this track over the edge. He delivers his lines with the same unrelenting high roar, holding the listener in a practiced guillotine choke on the bleeding edge between tightly-controlled aggression and pure unrestrained violence. You could always tap out, but you won’t want to.
Bushido — "Sangre en el Camino"
Uncovering long since forgotten music is similar to amateur archeology. The more you unearth, the more treasures you may happen upon, whether it's uncut gems or dark artifacts. In my case, enter the Chilean Nu Metal outfit, Bushido, with their album Infierno 666. The song “Sangre en el Camino” perfectly represents the band’s brutal and pummeling blend of death and nu metal. The song begins with an echoing choral chant, bringing to mind an orthodox church. The hymn gives way to pure dissonance, chugging, double kicks and roaring growls, taking you on a violent rampage through the hill of impaled bodies on the album cover.
I ask you, dear reader, how deep have you gone down the musical iceberg? Though be forewarned; be careful down in the dark depths of the underground, lest ye stumble upon something that, just maybe, you shouldn’t have uncovered…
Disembodied — "7 Stitches"
“7 Stitches” opens with, a fleet of panic chords that drops into a bulldozer riff and Aaron Weseman’s overwhelming “WOAHH”, is so massive and replayable you’ll listen to “7 Stitches” five times before truly listening to it once. Play at your own risk, you might end up crowd killing your local gym.
The GazettE — "Filth in the Beauty"
Veterans of the Japanese Visual Kei scene The GazettE are known for crafting some heavy hitters, with tight song structure, matching vocals, and some iconic looks to follow suit. Think flashy outfits, dyed hair, and cinematic visuals. Visual kei is defined by its aesthetic, so bands don't limit themselves to one genre, with sounds ranging from pop star production to metal, and everything in between. "Filth In The Beauty is an eclectic mix of both squeaky clean pop with brutal riffs, and bonus points for a breakdown! At times the band's frontman Ruki is accompanied by a dynamic female vocalist — let's be real, who doesn't love that? The song perfectly encompasses what nu metal is, while at the same time having a fresh sound. All in all, this is a track any fan of the genre won't want to miss out on, language barrier be damned.
Limp Bizkit — "Crack Addict"
A track that featured heavily in the promotion of WrestleMania XIX, the Al Jourgensen-produced “Crack Addict” is reminiscent of “Break Stuff” in its raw intensity and ruthless aggression. At the time it was billed as a single off Limp Bizkit's upcoming album, Results May Vary. Yet, when that album came and went with nary a trace of being addicted to cracking skulls when punks start static, it was as if the last few months were a fever dream to wrestling fans and Limpers alike. Ever since then, there’s been no official release, not even as a single on streaming services, and one of the most hyped songs of the album simply faded into obscurity, only popping up on low-quality YouTube rips and in our most absurd dreams.
Neck — "Three Crosses"
Before Michael Dafferner and Greg Kubacki went on to form the revered mathcore band Car Bomb, they and a few others were in a far lesser known act called Neck. With their 1999 album Should My Fist Eye, the band showcases a blistering array of face-melting grooves, lightning quick harmonics, and less than conventional chord choices. They blended elements of early metalcore, hardcore punk, mathcore, and even nu metal.
All of the above can be heard on the absolute stomper of a track "Three Crosses." The groove riffs are fun to bounce to ,but where this bares its teeth is in the drumming and song structure which changes on a dime from palm-muted riffs to screeching ascending extended chords and some of the most intense harsh vocals to come out of the late 90s.
Neurotica — "Ride of Your Life"
There was a specific point in time when a very specific fanbase in the WWF audience thought they were listening to the next big thing when “Ride of your Life” played over all the promotional materials for 2002’s King of the Ring. Recently signed to WWF’s label, SmackDown Records, Neurotica were given the star treatment from the Connecticut wrestling company, beating out far more established stars such as Our Lady Peace, Disturbed, and Monster Magnet for the lead single on the entrance theme compilation album, Forceable Entry.
With crushing riffs blending their previous influences of heavy metal, death metal, and hard rock, their sound was rife with things we now see as tropes, but were fresh in the early aughts. And yet, months later, they were dropped from their label and disbanded. It was a quick death for a flame that seemed to have plenty of fuel left. Lead singer Kelly Shaefer went on to audition for Drowning Pool and Velvet Revolver before reforming his old death metal band, Atheist. But nothing hits like the riffs of “Ride of Your Life” did then, and still do today.
OTEP — "Rise, Rebel, Resist"
If there’s one thing OTEP doesn’t shy away from, it’s high levels of aggression and anger, both instrumentally and lyrically. Released in 2009, their 4th studio album Smash The Control Machine brought about one of the most unrelenting songs in the band’s catalog: “Rise, Rebel, Resist.” As the first track on the album, if opening with slowly creeping whispers already puts you at the edge of your seat, then lead singer Otep Shamaya’s roars of fury—and a definite call to action—in the chorus might just shove you right off it. From beginning to end, the song is an onslaught of venom packed into quickfire verses and neck-breaking riffs that’ll leave nobody time to breathe. Shamaya also refuses to let the song’s message shy away from you as she, an LGBTQ artist herself, calls to the downtrodden of society, one by one, to stand in a battle cry that still hits close to home today.
Pleymo — "Muck"
Hailing from France, Pleymo answers the question “Are songs even allowed to be this heavy?!” The answer my friend, is a resounding YES. Scooped mids? I hardly know her! “Muck” is a masterclass in nu metal mixing, taking the sub and bass frequencies and plopping them on top of the mix like a scoop of ice cream on a tasty waffle cone. Even better yet, the group takes a play straight out of Meshuggah’s book, incorporating heavy syncopated riffage into the breakdown. This track is tasteful, it’s just right, and it’s one of the heaviest nu metal songs you can feast your ears on.
Психея — "Убей Мента"
Russian nu-metal band Психея (Psychea) opens the track "Убей Мента" ("Kill the Cops") from their self-titled album using a Nirvana sample– before switching it up with powerfully abrasive vocals and music. Carrying a nearly frantic feeling to it, "Убей Мента" is upfront and clear about the message it hopes to convey. The lyrics don’t shy away from making a point, and together with the instrumentation, it creates a type of in-your-face, knock-your-socks-off heaviness that is more than appropriate for this anti-cop anthem. In short? It fucks. Severely.
Reveille — "Judas"
Reveille is an often written off band from the heyday of nu metal. Emerging with their first EP in 1997, these heavily RATM inspired nu metallers unleashed themselves with the first song off their self titled EP "Judas"— a heavy and groovy piece fitting everything a nu metal song should be. The guitars call back to Adrenaline by Deftones as Drew Simollardes spits combative bars on top of nonstop bouncy riffs. The track builds up to a bass lick and the nastiest breakdown those strings can pull off, followed by a one-minute intermission reminiscent of Korn's "Blind." To close out, "Judas" then has another breakdown, rife with the loudest screams in the entire song. Reveille have always been forgotten by even the most astute nu metal scholars, so hearing this devastating track is a must for any fan who wants to bounce AND headbang.