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SYSTEM OF A DOWN's SERJ TANKIAN Offers His Definition Of Nü-Metal

His timeline feels a little off, but stylistically, he nails it.


In a recent chat with Revolver, System of a Down's Serj Tankian spoke on a wide range of topics, including how he would truly define nü-metal as a genre. Initially, Tankian was asked what he thought about bands that rose to fame in the 2000s recently being revisited by fans and the media. Tankian had this to say:

"Tool, Rage Against the Machine, Korn, Deftones – like those combination of bands, pretty much all from [the] Los Angeles area, were the heavy hitters of our peers coming up at that time…. Those are some of the bands that really changed the sound, the scene, and what was going on when we were coming up."

Then Tankian was asked how he would define nü-metal as a genre, and what he said was very interesting

"Nu metal would probably be… If I was to find a particular definition for it, it would be: Low bass, low tempo, dark, metal music that came out of LA in [the early 2000s]."

It's interesting that Tankian is time stamping the early 2000s as the time period of nü-metal's rise while placing Korn and Deftones squarely in the 90s LA scene. If anything, I typically think of the LA scene as being from the late 80s through the early 90s, with bands such as Tool and Rage Against the Machine like Tankian mentions, but also included White Zombie, Fishbone, Jane's Addiction, and several others. Nü-metal—in my mind, at least—really began to rise with Korn's first LP in 1995 and Deftones' Around the Fur in 1997. Still, regardless of timeline, stylistically, Tankian's description definitely hits the mark square.

System Of A Down, meanwhile, released two new songs in 2020 – "Protect The Land" and "Genocidal Humanoidz" – to benefit humanitarian efforts in Armenia. The two singles were System Of A Down's first new music since Mezmerize and Hypnotize in 2005, and were a shock to fans given their surprise release after years of the band's members publicly making known their disagreements over creating new material—something that seems, very, very unlikely at this point.

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