When Dope came onto the scene in the late Nineties, the New York band operated in the liminal space between druggy industrial-metal and swaggering nu-metal. Their contributions to that era of music shouldn't go undersung, but Dope (whose new album, Blood Money Part Zer0, drops early next year, and fans can get free downloads of here) were always just left of nu-metal's amorphous center — which makes frontman Edsel Dope the perfect candidate to reflect on the genre's greatest songs.
With the perspective of having been there, embedded in the scene at the time, but also just outside enough to judge with clear eyes, Edsel has a unique perspective on nu-metal. Below, he picks and ranks what he believes are the 10 greatest songs in the genre's canon.
10. Fear Factory - "Edgecrusher"
Considering Fear Factory hit the scene a few years before the nu-metal craze took place, its probably not the correct moniker for defining their sound. However, they did peak during the nu-metal movement and "Edgecrusher" fit perfectly with the times. The band absolutely nailed the machine-driven, industrial-metal sound, combining Dino Cazares' ridiculous right hand with Raymond Herrera's fast and furious footwork, creating some of the most memorable, militant, metal mayhem we've ever heard.
9. Sevendust - "Black"
You can't have a list of the best nu-metal songs without including one of the best and most underrated bands of the time period. This band is incredible and this song crushes. The guitars, bass, and drums work as one thick rhythmic machine, while Lajon sings like nobody else in the genre. A-plus band! A-plus dudes! I feel blessed to have toured with them and seen them live so many times. They are also one of the very few bands that you can still see perform with their original lineup.
8. Static-X - "I'm With Stupid"
This song and this band are just plain fun! Wayne's voice was so unique and the chemistry of the four original members combined to create the awesome unmistakable recipe that we would all come to know as "evil disco." Another band that I feel incredibly blessed to have toured with and watched so many times. In my opinion, there is no album that translates better in a live room than Wisconsin Death Trip.
7. Mudvayne - "Dig"
Pure insanity with a sick twist of technical musicianship, which was missing from most bands of the time. This song is such a deliberately dry and disgusting masterpiece. To this day, it still hits like a freight train.
6. Rob Zombie - "Dragula"
Nasty, fun, and evil like only Zombie can do. This song was a sledgehammer to inform the world that the sound and spirit of White Zombie was going to live on and evolve into something even darker and more entertaining than any of us would have thought possible. What an unbelievable career this man has had.
5. Coal Chamber - "Loco"
Deliberately messy drums combined with psychedelic, chunky guitars and a disgustingly awesome vocal delivery. Coal Chamber were one of the earliest bands to the sludge party, which is why I put them so high on this list. This song has stood the test of time and is one that people still love to lose their minds to.
4. Slipknot - "Wait and Bleed"
I could have picked several songs off of their debut masterpiece, but chose this one for its commercial popularity. Where do I even start? Nine mental patients from Iowa, donning terrifying masks and wearing red jumpsuits. Who would have imagined that these nine savages would also happen to be some of the most talented and creative musicians on earth?The combination of insane musicianship, along with Corey Taylor's unbelievable voice was just a taste of what would become arguably the most influential and entertaining band to come out of the time period.
3. Korn - "Blind"
This is as nu-metal as it gets. In many ways, these dudes invented the genre. The sludge, the grooves, the 808s and the rhythmic vocals. They were committed to doing something nasty and experimental that was also incredibly original. They deserve everything good that has ever happened to them. "Blind" was the track that really set the whole movement off.
2. Linkin Park - "In the End"
The band's willingness to focus on their vulnerability and allow their incredible vocals to carry them is commendable all by itself. They didn't care about being heavy or ripping your face off with their riffs. They just wanted to make you feel what they were feeling and it was undeniably human. As successful as they were, It's sad to think that they were never fully able to realize their maximum potential. If Chester were still with us, I believe that they would have continued to evolve, and to this day, would likely remain one of the biggest bands in the world.
1. Limp Bizkit - "Break Stuff"
Another genre-defining masterpiece.. Nobody did Limp Bizkit better than Limp Bizkit and so many failed trying. They took what Korn was doing and made it even more accessible to the masses, by placing Fred's unapologetic white trash rap-rock delivery at the forefront. People loved them, people hated them and others loved to hate them, but in the end, nobody could ignore them. In my opinion, this song is a perfect combination of all the things that made Limp Bizkit the unstoppable nu-metal machine that they became.