TOP SHELF TUESDAY focuses on ten key artists from a different genre each week, including an extra five Aussie acts, that are worth chugging a VB and throwing a snag on the barbie to, cos that’s what us Aussies do. For our first lengthy edition, there are ten honourable mentions thrown in for good measure.
Kicking things off with the genre many turn the other way to, Nu-Metal. The genre owes a lot to rap metal pioneers such as Rage against the Machine, Stuck Mojo, and the Anthrax/Public Enemy collaboration. Funk metal acts such as early Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, Fishbone, Living Colour, Primus and Janes Addiction also play a major role, making a massive impact on the movement.
Some say it destroyed metal, although metal never went away.
Call it what you will, Nu-Metal, Rap Metal or Alternative there were a few standouts growing up in the 90’s. Check them out here. There may be one band you have never heard of or memories may return from your childhood as a delinquent.
Enjoy the nostalgia!
One Minute Silence
The four-piece from London were around for eight years before splitting up. The debut “Available in All Colors” (1998) showed the bands anti-capitalist views. Lead by the distinct voice of frontman Brian ‘Yap’ Barry, the bass groove of Glen ‘Wingnut’ Diani, guitarist Massimo Fiocco and drummer Martin Davies.
It was the second album, “Buy Now… Saved Later” (2000) which got the band noticed due to coverage on music video programs such as MTV’s Headbangers Ball and Channel V’s The Heavy Shift, notably, the first single ” Holyman.” The album was a lot more guitar driven than the debut which leaned more towards hip-hop.
“One Lie Fits All” (2003) was the final LP for One Minute Silence before they split in 2003. Barry sang a lot more on the record, with “Revolution” as the first single and title track of the new EP.
Voted for ‘Best British Live Act’ for Kerrang Magazine due to their intense live shows it was hoped by many fans that there would be some sort of reunion with band members remaining close friends.
Come 2012 and new material was in the works. “Fragmented Armageddon” (2013) was released with the EP being the first contribution to the OMS discography in ten years. For the sake of the old-school fans let’s hope OMS brings out a new full-length LP and world tour.
(1995–1998, 2008–2011, 2014–present)
The short-lived career came after the demise of frontman James Lynn Strait, who died alongside his beloved boxer Dobbs in 1998. “Get Some” (1997) brought punk fury, funk and rap metal to the table. Dobbs is featured on the album cover.
Ozzfest ’98 saw Snot on the bill with the iconic System of a Down among others. The remaining members of Snot; guitarists, Mike Doling (Channel Zero, Soulfly) and Sonny Mayo (Ugly Kid Joe, Amen, Hed PE), bassist John Fahnestock (Amen, Lo-Pro) and drummer Jamie Miller; composed music from 1998 till 2000 with numerous peers, releasing the tribute album “Strait Up” (2000).
Serj Tankian (System of a Down, Jonathan Davis (Korn), Jahred (Hed PE), Max Cavalera (Soulfly), Brandon Boyd (Incubus), among others collaborated for the cause. Strait himself is featured on Absent his last recording and spoken word, Sad Air. Lajon Witherspoon (Sevendust) released Angel’s Son as a single from the album.
“Alive!” (2002) was a live album, recorded at The Palace in Hollywood, California in May 1998. A bonus track Choose What? featured the music featured on Starlit Eyes, Serj Tankian’s contribution on “Strait Up”. The band reformed in 2008 with Tommy Vext (Divine Heresy) on vocals and reunited again in 2014. Vext left in 2015 and was replaced by Carl Bensley on vocals.
More of a tribute these days Snot will always be known for the legacy left behind by James Lynn Strait. R.i.p.
Formed in Gothenburg, Sweden, a country most famous for its melodic death metal scene, there was one band that stood out as a quirky alternative band of misfits. Lead by frontman Markus Jaan, guitarist Carlos Sepulveda, bassist Hansi Baumgartner and drummer Hans Wilholm.
The debut “Your Problem” (1998) saw singles for I Go Solo, Medication, and Fullblood Freak. A 7″ EP of “I Go Solo” (1997) was the first to drop with an animated clip which featured on music video programs such as MTV’s Super rock.
“Future is Fact” (1997) was the second EP and featured an edit of the soon to be single, Medication.
“I’m Not One of Us” (1999) was the final LP for Psycore. It featured Tairrie B (My Ruin, Manhole) on the bonus track, End you, which coincidently ended the album. The Zoo was the only single released from the record.
After the disbandment of Psycore, Jaan and Sepulveda formed the hard-rocking Sweden’s Finest who sadly split after releasing two albums.
The debut, “Feel Like Magnum, Look Like Higgins” (2003) saw a video released for the thumping, Peek-A-Boo, while the final LP, “Love Bomb” (2005) featured a video for the quirky, Real Men Dance.
Sepulveda and Jaan also created the alternative electronica group Mikrotone, collaborating with Swedish actor and singer, Freddie Wadling. “Spraylove” (2003) was the only LP released by the group.
40 Below Summer
(1998–2005, 2006, 2010, 2011–present)
Forming in New Jersey in 1998 and breaking up seven years after, a number of memorable albums shed the light of day. The debut “Side Show Freaks” (1999) was re-released in 2008, with the EP, “Rain” (2000) re-released in 2007.
“Invitation to the Dance” (2001) was the debut LP on a major label, at the time signed to Reprise/Warner Brothers through London-Sire. The follow-up “The Mourning After” (2003), was released via Razor & Tie. Videos from the singles Self-Medicate and Taxi Cab Confession got heavy rotation on MTV.
Although the band split in 2005 they reformed to release “The Last Dance” (2006) and wouldn’t reunite until 2010 on stage. Vocalist, Max Illidge and rhythm guitarist Joey D’Amico were the only remaining members and were joined by bassist Derrick Klybish and drummer Anthony Devizio in 2012. They were both featured on “Fire at Zero Gravity” (2013) and lead guitarist David Mondragon joined in 2014, recording on “Transmission Infrared”(2015).
(Hed ) PE
Hailing from Orange County, frontman Jared Gomes (M.C.U.D.) refers to the style of music as G-Punk or Gangsta Punk as opposed to Gangsta Rap. The only original member these days, Gomes continues to carry the (Hed) PE name, with nine albums under his belt.
“(Hed )PE” (1997) was the debut LP released via Jive Records and featured the classic line-up of guitarists Wesstyle, Chizad, bassist Mawk. drummer B.C and DJ Product ©1969. It was the follow-up to the ” Church of Realities” (1995) EP.
“Broke” (2000) featured appearances by guitarist East Bay Ray (Dead Kennedys) and vocalists Serj Tankian (System of a Down) and Morgan Lander (Kittie). Killing Time was featured on “3000 Miles to Graceland” (2001), starring Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner, with a music video to accompany it. The first single, Bartender was the most successful for the record.
“Blackout” (2003) was the third release and it saw Sonny Mayo (Snot, Ugly Kid Joe, Amen) replace Chizad on guitar. Mayo would join Sevendust and recorded three albums with them between 2005 and 2008.
“Only in Amerika” (2004) was released on independent label, Koch Records and featured new guitarist Jason Benge and Mark “Moke” Bistany (Otep) on drums.
From “Back 2 Base X” (2006), to the most recent “Forever” (2016) show front-man Gomes is one of the busiest musicians on the planet when it comes to the genre of rap metal.
Now a four-piece, including drummer Trauma, bassist Kurtis, and guitarist Gregzilla, alongside Gomes, (Hed) PE continue to kick ass on and off tour having brought the reformed Snot to Australia, it is only a matter of time before they make their return Down Under.
Forming in Washington D.C. in 1993, with the original line-up of vocalist David Gabbard, guitarist Tom Maxwell, bassist Bill Gaal and drummer Chris Houck, Nothingface would get together to jam Alice in Chains, Jane’s Addiction, and Soundgarden songs. Demos were produced with a hard rock and grunge-influenced sound.
Gabbard left due to the heavier sound in which the band had moved towards and Matt Holt (Ingredient 7) took over vocal duties. The debut, “Pacifier” (1996) was a re-release of their self-titled album, “Nothingface” (1995) which was self-released.
The follow-up, “An Audio Guide to Everyday Atrocity” (1998) was supported touring the U.S. with Stuck Mojo, Sam Black Church, Helmet, and Ministry.
After the recording of the third album ”Violence” (2000), Houck left the band due to medical issues and was replaced by Tommy Sickles on drums. Sickles had a history with Holt, as they were bandmates in Ingredient 7. “Violence” was the band’s most successful album and the first on the semi-major label, TVT Records.
Nothingface almost broke up due to personal issues involving Gaals’ divorce, Holt losing his house due to fire and Maxwell facing the death of his mother. “Skeletons” (2003) would be the final album, also released via TVT records.
Nothingface reformed, supporting Disturbed in 2006, with bassist Jerry Montano (The Deadlights), who had briefly played bass during 2001 for the band. Montano and Maxwell joined Hellyeah later that year and due to a number of issues, Nothingface split for good in 2009.
Maxwell and Montano had a fall-out after the album launch of “Hellyeah” (2007) and Montano was replaced by Bob Zilla.
Holt passed away recently in April 2017, after battling with years of degenerative illness. Sadly he was only 39 years old. Rip.
Hailing from Newport, South Wales, UK, the ragga-infused Alternative metal band Dub War stepped onto the scene lead by the heavily dreaded front man, Clive “Benji” Webbe.
The self-produced debut,“Words of Dubwarning” (1994) was followed by the EP “Mental” (1994) with the title track the main single.
“Pain” (1995) was the first of two albums released via Earache records, with the follow-up “Wrong Side of Beautiful” (1996) before the band split.
Webbe formed Mass Mental?, briefly joining now Metallica bassist, Robert Trujillo (Suicidal Tendencies, Infectious Grooves). Webbe formed Skindred in 1999, being his present band. Dub War made a return however with two new tracks Making a Monster and released a 7” vinyl for “Fun Done-Fun Dubby Dozy” (2016)
(1993–2003, 2011–2016) (Hiatus)
The signing of Coal Chamber to Roadrunner Records is all thanks to Dino Cazares (Fear Factory) who was given a demo by frontman Dez Fafara. Cazares influenced Roadrunner to offer the band a contract and the debut “Coal Chamber” (1997) was produced by Ross Robinson who had also worked with Fear Factory.
The follow-up “Chamber Music” (1999) had more of a goth feel to certain songs like My Mercy and an odd choice of cover with Peter Gabriels’ Shock the monkey. Metal icon, Ozzy Osbourne featured as guest vocals on the song.
Bassist Rayna Foss-Rose left the band after recording on “Dark Days” (2002), with Nadja Peulen as the replacement, joining guitarist Meegs Rascón and drummer Mike “Bug” Cox.
The band split in 2003 and Fafara concentrated on his groove metal band, Devildriver. Coal Chamber would reform in 2011 and later release “Rivals” (2015) via Napalm records. Concentrating mainly on Devildriver, hopefully, it isn’t too long before Fafara returns to his first baby, pleasing closet Nu-metal fans worldwide.
System of a Down
Originally bandmates in a college band named Soil, guitarist Daron Malakian and keyboardist Serj Tankian, who shared vocals, formed System of a Down after the band split. Shavo Odadjian became bassist and John Dolmayan replaced original drummer Ontronik “Andy” Khachaturian. 4 Demos were released and a show at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in 1997 caught the eye of record producer Rick Rubin who had worked with the likes of Slayer and Beastie Boys. The rest was history.
Being of Armenian descent the Armenian Genocide of 1915 was one of many political aspects the band touched upon apart the controversies of police brutality and the prison system.
Sylvia Massy who had worked with Tool and Skunk Anansie, mastered the Rubin-produced, debut, “System of a Down” (1998). Due to the success of singles Sugar and Spiders, SOAD opened for big names Metallica and label-mates, Slayer before taking part in Ozzfest ’98 and headlining the Sno-Core Tour with Mr. Bungle and Incubus.
“Toxicity” (2001) sold 12 million copies worldwide and reached number one on the US and Canadian charts, launching singles for Chop Suey, Toxicity, and Aerials. “Steal This Album!” (2002) would follow with a collection of songs that wouldn’t fit on “Toxicity”.
“Mezmerize” (2005) was the first of two albums released during the same year with the second, “Hypnotize” (2005) and Malakian on lead vocals for the most part. SOAD split in 2006 with Tankian concentrating on his solo career and other projects. Dolmayan and Malakian formed Scars on Broadway.
SOAD reformed to play a number of shows between 2010 and 2015 and have only recently hinted at a new album in 2016, with Dolmayan expressing the amount of pressure on the band as it would have been twelve years before it comes out.
Forming from the ashes of local funk metal from Bakersfield, L.A.P.D., guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer, bassist Reginald “ Fieldy” Arvizu and drummer David Silvera went on to form Korn. Second guitarist Brian “Head” Welch soon joined along with vocalist Jonathan Davis. Davis, being of Scottish descent also played bagpipes which was something original that mixed well into the alternative metal what was about to impact the music world.
The debut “Korn” (1994) was released and produced by Ross Robinson who had worked with the likes of Fear Factory and W.A.S.P in the past. Robinson would later produce the debut records of various nu-metal acts such as Limp Bizkit and Deftones who had joined Korn on past Family Values Tours. Slipknot made a name for themselves thanks to Robinson, good publicity, and greater hype. Robinson even produced Sepulturas’ “Roots” (*1996) and Machine Heads,’ “The Burning Red” (1999), which saw a change in style and could very well be known as the nu-metal era for both. The one song Korn use to close sets is their anthem and first single Blind.
Second album “Life Is Peachy” (1996) featured guest vocalist Chino Moreno (Deftones) on Wicked, an Ice Cube cover showing the band’s love for rap and hip-hop which remain constant with rappers featuring on different albums. Cube was even part of the bill for The Family Values ’98 Tour, alongside Rammstein, Limp Bizkit, Deadsy, and Orgy.
Being the trendsetter he was, Davis would sport Adidas sportswear and why not name a song about it. A.D.I.D.A.S. was the result.
Third album, “Follow the Leader” (1998) sparked a number of singles such as Follow the Leader and Got the Life. Rappers, Tre Hardson (The Pharcyde) and Ice Cube made appearances on the album. Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) collaborated with Davis with the rap battle of All in the Family.
“Issues” (1999) sold 13 million copies worldwide, unleashing singles for Falling away from Me, Make me Bad and Somebody Someone. “Untouchables” (2002) was the follow-up and featured the grammy award winning single Here To Stay. Rapper Nas was featured on “Take a Look in the Mirror” (2003) which would be the last record for guitarist ‘Head’ due to religious beliefs. “See You on the Other Side” (2005) would be the last record for Silvera. Silvera was replaced by present drummer Ray Luzier who made his debut on “Untitled” (2007).
Hitting back with “Korn III: Remember Who You Are” (2010) before taking an unusual turn with the Skrillex produced “The Path of Totality” (2011). ‘Head’ made his return after the dubstep album on “The Paradigm Shift” (2013).
“The Serenity of Suffering” (2016) is the most recent album for Korn with old school Korn fans calling it a return to form. Go figure if that is even a thing? Old school nu-metal? (Pun Intended)
Hailing from Frankston, Victoria in Melbourne, Superheist signed to Shock Records after releasing the “Apocalypse Demo” (1994) via Warhead Records on cassette. The first EP “Chrome Matrix” (1997) was released via Cutthroat, a subsidy of Shock Records, as the second breakthrough EP, “8 Miles High (2000) was let loose via Shagpile, another subsidy of the label.
The debut LP, “The Prize Recruit” (2001) was released via another subsidy of Shock, that being Pivotal who would also release the LP to follow, “Identical Remote Controlled Reactions” (2002). Original singer, Roderick “Berger” McLeod was replaced by Joey Biro who joined guitarist/producer, Richard William “D W” Norton, drummer Sean Pentecost, bassist Drew Dedman and Fetah Sabawi who would provide synthesizers/samplers.
Fourteen years after the last Studio recording and twelve years after breaking up in 2004, Superheist would make their comeback with newfound vocalist Ezekiel Ox(Mammal, Full Scale) and a comeback tour, entitled “This is not a Comeback tour”, (no intended pun there) to support the third LP, “Ghosts of the Social Dead” (2016), released via Dinner for Wolves, produced in the US by none other than Jay Baumgardner (Orgy, Coal Chamber, Sevendust).
Two Faced (Check your head up), taken from the EP, “8 Miles High” (2000)
Step Down, taken from “The Prize Recruit” (2001)
Raise Hell, taken from the AAA side release “Raise Hell” (2017)
Formed in Perth, Western Australia in 1998 before relocating to Melbourne in 2001. Lead by frontman Ezekiel Ox (Superheist) originally known as Full Scale Deflection, the debut, “Symptoms of Chaos” (2000) was released before the name change to Full Scale. Two EPs were released the same year via Popstar Records, which included “Black Arrows” and “White Arrows”(2003).
The self-titled LP, “Full Scale” (2005) was the final studio album and was released via Columbia Records.
The band split in 2006 and returned for a short tour going by the Full Scale Revolution moniker, with proceeds going to the Refugee Action Collective.
Feel It, taken from the EP, “Black Arrows” (2003)
Forming in the sunny state of Brisbane, Queensland with their church boy looks, think Hanson meet Daniel Johns (Silverchair) circa, “Frogstomp” (1995). The line-up consisted of brothers Jason and Dave Brown, vocalist and drummer respectively, guitarist Luke McDonald, DJ Adam Cos and bassist Sean Van Gennip, who was later replaced Rob Kaay. The boys signed to Sony when the average age of band members was sixteen years old. A number of demos were released before the most successful EP, “Society Anxiety” (1999) hit stores. The debut LP, “Big Picture Lies” (2000) was next to drop as the group of young lads became part of Australia’s Big Out lineup in 2001, warming up for Mudvayne who were next to take the stage. (Take into account this was at the Sydney gig where this writer attended. Other states may have varied)
The band broke up in 2007, making “Between Birth and Death” (2003) their final studio album.
Vinegar Stroke, taken from the EP, “Society Anxiety” (1999)
Influenced by their Indigenous Australian heritage, natives of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory the busy band still tour to this day. Signed to Festival Mushrooms’ subsidy Sputnik Records/Shock. They were part of the 2000 Big Day Out lineup and Survival Festival concert in 1998, of which this writer was lucky enough to attend. Winners of Band of the Year at The Deadlys in 1998, 2000 and 2003, the band did the Indigenous community proudly.
Much success came from the “Neva Mend” single which was nominated for an Aria for best alternative release and video in 2000. An EP, “Unveiled” (2000) was released at the same time as the aforementioned single, with a single for “Haterz” (2001) the year to follow. “Time Flies” (2003)
Neva Mend, taken from the single “Neva Mend” (2000)
(1996–2003, 2009 – present)
Locals from Wollongong, Sydney-siders Segression have quite a history in both the metal and the nu-metal worlds. From supporting the likes of Morbid Angel, Machine Head, and Deicide going by the name Eezee, later changing to Segression; to headlining one of the first Australian Metal Festivals, Metal for the Brain, the lads have come a long way.
Originally signed to Oracle which saw the debut, “L.I.A.” (1996) and the follow-up “Fifth of the Fifth (1997) before signing to Roadrunner record and the release of “Smile” (2000). The album was promoted while supporting Slipknot on their national tour that same year. Being a band that mixed elements of thrash, nu-metal and groove metal they could support metal bands of any genre. Segression supported Pantera on their “Reinventing the Steel” Tour along with international act Corrosion of Conformity. That gig, in particular, was the loudest this fellow metal head has attended.
Anti-violence indicator, taken from “Fifth of the Fifth” (1997)
Changing from Dark Carnival, Roadrunner to Murder Machine Records, the self-titled, “Segression” (2002) followed which was the last studio album before the band went on hiatus in 2003. Returning with the Warner release of “Never Dead” (2011), produced by vocalist Chris Rand. The most recent album “Painted in Blood” (2014) sees Segression unleash that segregated aggression which brought on the choice of band name. Constantly touring to promote the album, earning the support slot for international act Prong and touring locally and nationwide with other great Australian bands.
Painted in blood, taken from “Painted in Blood” (2014)
Besides the Segression front, Rand has also collaborated with DJ Bloodstep and Jahred Gomes of (Hed) PE on the track, Warlox which was released in December 2016 and can be heard below. Currently, the lineup consists of vocalist/bassist, Rand, drummer Adam Bunnell and the guitar duel of Michael Katselos and Sven Sellin.
The Deftones: My Own Summer, taken from “Around the Fur” (1997)
Body Count: There Goes the Neighbourhood, taken from “Body Count” (1992)
Mudvayne: Death Blooms, taken from “L.D. 50” (2000)
Sevendust Denial, taken from “Home” (1999)
Skunk Anansie: Charlie Big Potato, taken from “Post Orgasmic Chill” (1999)
Bloodhound Gang: Kiss Me Where it Smell’s Funny, taken from “One Fierce Beer Coaster” (1996)
311: Down, taken from “311” (1995)
Regurgitator: Track 1, taken from the EP, “New” (1995)
28 Days: Sucker, taken from “Upstyle Down” (2000)
Cryogenic: Fall on, taken from “Ego-noria” (1999)