Bare metal was more than music. The explosion of the genre in the mid-1990s led to a drastic overhaul of the way metal music was visually presented, and its commercial dominance in the early 2000s had an indelible influence on mainstream fashion trends and subcultural – an impact that is only defining itself over time, especially in this current era of year 2000 nostalgia.
When we think of nu-metal, we don’t just think of the most enduring songs on the scene, we think of outfits. Makeup. Hairstyles. Piercings. The big pants. The shit that gave renegade parents and teens nightmares the inspiration to be themselves aggressively in a way that reflected the growing anxieties of the time.
The influencers of the nu-metal cultural movement were the artists themselves, so we decided to commemorate the 11 most iconic looks sported by some of nu-metal’s biggest stars. From insane certified face paint and painful-looking facial piercings, to genre-leading hats and extravagant outerwear.
Mudvayne Video – Dig (Video Version)
Mudvayne to ‘LD 50’
It’s hard to decipher the creative intentions behind Mudvayne DL 50– the accoutrements of the time, but making it impossible to look away was certainly one of them. Guitarist Greg Tribbett looked like Darth Maul being electrocuted, Chad Gray’s silver head and tattered overalls made him look like a hillbilly who blew out a whole can of paint, and the other two members, often shirtless – bassist Ryan Martinie and drummer Matthew McDonough – wore makeup that made them look like demonic aliens radiated from the planet Brbr Deng. They stopped dressing that way once the outfits drew too many comparisons to Slipknot’s outfits, but the way Mudvayne looked in the unforgettable “Dig” music video is how many fans still visualize them.
Shavo Odadjian’s braided beard
All the guys on System of a Down had unique styles when the band started out. They did make up around the time of the “Sugar” music video, Serj Tankian wore a shiny rainbow jacket for a brief period in the late ’90s, and all of their photos highlighted their bulging eyes and expressions. wacky facials. As Tankian, Daron Malakian, and John Dolmayan experimented with new hairstyles and outfits throughout the 2000s, the one constant was bassist Shavo Odadjian’s long, braided beard. Oh, the stories Shavo’s braided beard could tell. He wasn’t the only guy in nude-metal with unique facial hair – and many other artists on this list rocked the braid as well – but no one made him as cool as Shavo.
Wayne Static’s Electric Hair
Wayne Static lived and breathed the mystical powers that electro currents have on the human body. The late Static-X frontman constantly personified his nickname by vertically bristling all the hair on his head like a Looney Tunes character who just stuck a quarter in a socket. The process would have taken at least 20 minutes to complete, so the “Push It” singer really made her commitment clear by rarely – if ever – showing her face in public without her distinctive headdress. Musically, Static-X has landed somewhere between industrial and nu-metal, but the influence Static has had on spiky-haired teens wearing Slipknot shirts across the world is incredibly vast.
Noose circa 1999
For as eye-catching as many of the nu-metal era outfits, hairstyles, and body modifications are, most of these aesthetic choices were meant to showcase the shocking and / or playful aspects of the genre with a campy nod. . Slipknot, on the other hand, was trying to fuck scary – and they were. The Iowa Maniacs stepped onto the scene in 1999 dressed in bright red prison suits and nightmarish DIY masks, and the gang of nine carried each other with a menacing, unpredictable energy that was truly intimidating compared to it. what their peers were doing. You could try to steal their look, but no one can really replicate their singularly menacing aura of the late ’90s.
David Draiman’s double labret piercing
Disturbed leader David Draiman is a man of many faces. Throughout his 20-plus-year career, the “Down With the Sickness” singer has rocked various trench coats, dresses, vests, mesh shirts and more. However, his most distinctive feature was his double labret piercing – the pair of giant spiked crescents that, until he took them off a few years ago, protruded from his lower lip and curled up. at the base of his chin. They looked a bit like a shiny metallic goatee and are as iconic of early 2000s nu-metal as its infamous “oo-ah-ah-ah-ah” monkey noise.
Wes Borland’s increasingly elaborate costumes
For most bands, if anyone in the lineup is going to put on a jaw-dropping ensemble, it’s the leader. This is not the case, Limp Bizkit. Fred Durst certainly had his signature costume (read more), but guitarist Wes Borland has always been the most eccentric performer in the band – and quite possibly his genre – clad. Although he started out with only black eye contact, his outfits have grown more and more elaborate over the years – full face makeup and a chest full of alien goop in the late ’90s; full body painting with disco ball material over her eyes in the 2000s; and assorted costumes that would take entire paragraphs to describe throughout the past decade. We love this one from 2010 where he’s wearing … who even knows.
Jonathan Davis’ kilt
Jonathan Davis is the Gianni Versace of nu-metal. The Korn frontman should be widely recognized for spearheading many of the genre’s more typical fashion choices, like adidas tracksuits, dreadlocks, ostentatious pimp jackets and more. The “Freak on a Leash” scatter has never been afraid to wear something loud and quirky, and perhaps his most infamous clothing choice are the Irish kilts he’s been wearing on stage for decades. The skirts are a nice addition to the bagpipes he releases for songs like “Shoots and Ladders” and “Dead”, but they are also representative of how nu-metal has overturned the macho norms of the broader genre for the presentation of the masculine gender.
Kid Rock fur coat
Korn’s Joanthan Davis certainly immersed himself in the pompous luxury of ’70s con artist outfit, but Kid Rock made it a lifestyle. The controversial nu-metal “bullgod” is arguably better known for his absurd outfits than any of his actual songs, and the fur coats he wore to almost every red carpet event he attended. have become his trademark. He frequently paired them with a line of cartoonish headgear – fedoras, bowler caps, cowboy hats – and douchey sunglasses that added a Bud Light-swiggin touch to his smiley appropriation of hip-hop style. You might not like the way it looks, but you certainly remember it.
Video of the charcoal chamber – Loco [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
Coal chamber to “Loco”
Since nu-metal is, both musically and aesthetically, a convergence of metal and hip-hop that largely reacted to the heavy music tropes of the 70s, 80s, and early 90s, it wasn’t there weren’t a lot of goths in the scene. Bands like Kittie and Dope borrowed all-black industrial clubs in fashion, but it was the “spookycore” suppliers Coal Chamber who first introduced Halloween outfits into the collective nu-metal wardrobe. Smeared eyeshadow, red hair dye, chain piercings, leather bracelets, multiple rings on one hand – and all presented with sassy facial expressions and shy poses rather than brutal schoolyard bully positions. . The music video for their 1997 single “Loco” says it all.
Chester Bennington’s Blue Flame Tattoos
For all the wacky body modifications, hairstyles, and clothes that defined the style of the nu-metal era, surprisingly, there weren’t many artists immediately recognizable by their tattoos. The tattoo industry exploded in the late ’90s and most of today’s biggest musical renegades – whether in rock, rap, or pop – have notable ink, but of all the great stars of the nu-metal movement, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington stood out with his blue flame tattoos that flared from his wrists to his forearms. Compared to many other artists on this list, the late Bennington was gentle and didn’t beg to call attention to himself, but the ink that showed whenever he did his famous two-handed mic clasp was a signature look.
Fred Durst’s red hat
Fred Durst practically broke the internet earlier this summer when he waltzed on stage at Lollapalooza with mutton chops, a head full of wavy gray hair and bittersweet colored aviators. The Limp frontman Bizkit looked completely unrecognizable in his new outfit, especially since most people identify him by his upside down red Yankees cap. The fitted baseball cap was glued to his head during the band’s “Break Stuff” era, and although he actually wore a black version of the cap during his band’s infamous Woodstock ’99 set, the iteration red is synonymous with bare metal just as flannels are with grunge.