Valuing primal groove, emotion and hooks over meticulous technicality and bombastic concepts, nu-metal is a genre that lends itself to the magic of the first attempt, which is why there are so many incredible debut albums in the movement's canon — and hence why nu-metal is so well-represented in Revolver's list of the 20 best debut LPs in heavy-music history. However, we wanted to see what our readers consider the best first attempts in the style's timeline. Below, are the top five vote-getters ranked accordingly.
Static-X got a perfect score on the first attempt, but were never able to fully replicate Wisconsin Death Trip's punchy, syncopated glory on later efforts. The band's 1999 debut has incredible cover art that played perfectly with frontman Wayne Static's finger-in-the-socket hairdo, and its industrialized take on nu-metal yielded danceable favorites like "Push It", "Bled for Days" and "Fix." We're glad to see it claiming a spot in this poll's coveted top five.
Anyone who didn't think nu-metal was capable of rivaling the heaviness of other Nineties metal genres shut the fuck up right quick when Slipknot came around. The Nine's scorching opening salvo remains a sonic assault of physically impaling percussion, scream-rap-holler-sung vocals, grinding death-metal guitars and nightmarish electronic embellishments that were more musically imposing than anything else in its class — at least until Slipknot's follow-up, Iowa, dropped two years later.
Deftones are the odd men out on this list in that their sound took a couple LPs to fully develop into the singular alt-metal/shoegaze sound they're known and loved for today. That said, their 1995 debut, Adrenaline, is a fantastic record in its own right and captures the band at their rawest and most confrontational, while also sending a clear message that Chino Moreno's gifted croon and his bandmates' knack for supreme melodies were unlike anything the other band under the nu-metal umbrella could offer.
No surprises here, but that's the way it should be. Korn's 1994 debut is the foundation that all of nu-metal is built upon. The emotional anguish, the funky grooves, the spastic rap-inflected deliveries, the equally crucial vicious growls, the moody riffage and the motherfuckin' swagger are the elements that every nu-metal band since has — consciously or unconsciously — borrowed from. Songs like "Blind," "Clown," "Shoots and Ladders" and "Faget" are all-timers.