At the end of the 90’s, Nu Metal was still enjoying it’s high in popularity. The Family Values Tour of 1998 had established the connection between the Californian scene of Korn, Limp Bizkit and even Orgy and pushed the profile of Fred Durst’s gang of merry men over the one of the Bakersfield’s quintet. Roadrunner had not been able to secure any of these bands but they had found the next big thing with Slipknot in 1999, a growing phenomenon taking the Nu metal world by storm with their striking visuals and their mix of basically everything the genre had produced with an added touch of Extreme metal blasting for good measure. It was time for Roadrunner to find anything that could push the Nu metal agenda they had found with Slipknot. Ensued a series of albums that sparked a few carriers and mostly false starts.
The Workhorse Movement – Sons of the pioneers (2000)
Kid Rock‘s Devil without a cause had been a sleeper hit but the Rock Rapper was finally getting the success he so clearly wanted after a series of obscure albums such as Grits sandwich for breakfast (1990), The polyfuze method (1992) and Early mornin’ stoned pimp (1996). Maybe the time was right to release the album of another collection of songs with rapping white males using Hard Rock guitar riffs as a background? Guess not since the band did not release anything after this second album and some tours in Europe and in the US.
Downer – Downer (2000)
The inexplicable success of Creed might have given the idea to some Roadrunner executive that releasing a Nu metal version of Grunge would be a good idea? Like The Workhorse Movement, the band did not release anything after this album, a tradition for bands on Roadrunner who failed to secure at least a minor hit with their debut. A perfect method to break-up a band, no matter how derivative their sound might be.
Ill Nino – Revolution Revolucion (2001)
When you throw anything at the wall, inevitably some things tend to stick and Ill Nino was the chewing-gum Roadrunner was looking for. Proving that Nu metal can be associated with any cliché, Ill Nino added a few latin melodies and percussion to their down-tuned riffs and scored a few hit singles (God save us, What come’s around) but no musical revolution. Strangely, the band’s singer is also featured on the album Process of self-development from Brooklyn best, and only, Progressive Hardcore band, Candiria. Guitarist Marc Rizzo also proved he had more than a few tricks in the backpack he was carrying on-stage and released two solo albums displaying his guitar wizardry.
Dry Kill Logic – The Darker side of nonsense (2001)
After the success of Slipknot, maybe a slightly less melodic form of Nu metal would work? Sadly, one of the thing that made Slipknot the massive phenomenon it still lies in the masks and their ridiculous number of band members so having four band members with a bit of face paint was never going to be enough, and that’s without even talking about the derivative music Dry Kill Logic.Amazingly, the band still managed to release two more albums on two more labels (The dead and the dreaming in 2004 on Steamhammer and Of vengeance and violence in 2006 on Repossession Records). It’s also quite sad to think their most memorable tune is a cover of a Baseball chant coupled with a cringe-worthy video with very, very, very bad special effects.
Dislocated Styles – Pin the tail on the honkey (2001)
Dislocated Styles might have chosen the word honkey because of the first meaning found on Urban dictionary but it’s rather unfortunate for a band full of white male to also be associated with the second definition on the same website. As for the music, I recall the single being tolerable but that’s about it. Another Rap Rock band bites the dust after only one album.
Down the Sun – Down the sun (2001)
Signed to the label thanks to the help of Shawn « Clown » Crahan from Slipknot you would not be wrong to expect a clone of Slipknot. However, Down the Sun‘s music is far more groove oriented than the Iowian with no blast in sight and a lot of forced anger everywhere. Like Motograter, Down the Sun is a band that saw an opportunity to get famous with some pre-packaged music but never got anywhere.
36 Crazyfists – Bitterness the star (2002)
The only band worthy of your attention on this list and the only one with an interesting carrier, 36 Crazyfists probably got on Roadrunner’s radar because of their emotive vocals which put them in the same ballpark as the Deftones and Glassjaw (also signed around the same time). Just like the Deftones, they also proved to everyone they did not have much to do with Nu metal on their following album, the excellent A snow capped romance which positioned them closer to Poison the Well and other Emocore bands. The band’s latest album was released in 2015 and continued to prove their passion for the style.
Five Pointe O – Untitled (2002)
Going back to the roots of Nu metal, there was an opportunity here to make some money with a band inspired heavily by Faith no More. Too bad these Americans were not as capable to write catchy songs as their British counterparts, the infamous Lost Prophets. At least you cannot fault Five Pointe O for trying as their album had some decent tunes but none that struck instantly to make this a more memorable album. Like many on this list, they did not publish any other album afterwards and remained known only for this one but at least they have nothing to be ashamed of (well, except the « Chaka poum pam » at the beginning of Double X Minus).