Whether or not it’s the surprisingly frequent Evanescence covers on TikTok, the return of ’90s staple JNCO denims, or the truth that Netflix’s hit present Beef featured Limp Bizkit music, the cultural indicators are all pointing towards a stunning fact: Nu steel is again, child.
Should you grew up within the ’90s and had a penchant for rock music, you possible received swept up within the angsty nu steel development that revolved round bands like Korn, Slipknot, Linkin Park, Static-X, and Papa Roach. The hallmarks of the livid style embody atonal chord modifications, embracing dissonance, and guttural bass. Probably the most memorable parts is the way in which nu steel vocals mix inspirations from conventional steel and hardcore music whereas bringing a hip-hop sensibility to the chaotic sound. All of that made it the choice music of alternative for indignant teenagers — like ’00s child goth me — to the horror of fogeys in all places.
Pulling inspiration from ’90s hip-hop manufacturing and even sometimes together with rapping — to the chagrin of many hip-hop followers — the “nu” in nu steel symbolized the truth that this was steel taking cues from rap simply as hip-hop was turning into the predominant power in widespread music. Nu steel’s rising reputation and perceived edginess quickly led to style movie soundtracks following the lead of proto-nu steel compilations like The Crow in 1994, which featured Helmet, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Rage Towards the Machine, Pantera, and 9 Inch Nails.
By the top of the ’90s, two horror-drenched comedian guide movies would show instrumental in setting the stage for a monumental nu steel occasion: the vampire nu steel soundtrack. 1997’s Spawn soundtrack and the 1998 OST for Blade laid the muse for the arrival of the nu steel vampires. Although the latter didn’t function nu steel, it performed with the commercial and digital tendencies that have been a core tenet of the nu steel sound, and it established lots of the visible prospers that later nu steel vampire motion pictures, like Underworld, would ape. It additionally opened with some of the iconically goth sequences of all time: the gore-soaked vampire blood rave. The Spawn soundtrack combined the commercial and digital sound of Blade with tracks like “Kick Out the P.A.” by Korn, establishing a connective tissue between the sounds.
The vampire nu steel connection was lastly cemented with the Wes Craven-produced Dracula 2000, that includes a smorgasbord of acts from the upstart style. Bands like Endo, Static-X, Disturbed, System of a Down, Linkin Park, and Taproot set the aural stage for the revamped vampire film that featured many lengthy black jackets and flashy edits. Centering round Gerard Butler’s resurrected Dracula, who returns to search out his long-lost love — who works at a Virgin Megastore, no much less — the film peppers in nu steel at surprising moments, in addition to that includes a charmingly bizarre nu steel medley over the credit. Coming solely two years after Blade, the movie feels deeply spinoff and dated compared to Stephen Norrington’s vampire traditional. However it nearly actually influenced crucial entry within the nu steel vampire — and soundtrack — canon, which hit screens simply two years later.
Nu steel soundtracks arguably peaked in 2002 with the a lot maligned but extremely entertaining and nearly straight-to-video Interview with the Vampire sequel, Queen of the Damned. Although it starred Aaliyah as the traditional bloodsucking queen Akasha, the soundtrack was curated by Korn’s Jonathan Davis. He co-wrote 5 unique songs with Richard Gibbs that made up the musical output of the movie’s fictional band, Devil’s Night time Out, fronted by none aside from the principle character from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, the vampire Lestat. Aaliyah, whose eclectic style and love of commercial and rock music was well-known, was such a fan of the tracks that she requested Davis to jot down a duet for her to sing with him. However attributable to her tragic and premature dying, the music was by no means recorded. As Davis’ vocals contractually couldn’t seem on the CD model of the soundtrack, he introduced in well-known nu steel stars like Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, Wayne Static from Static-X, and David Draiman of Disturbed.
Picture: Warner Bros/Everett Assortment
Even outdoors of the stacked soundtrack, the facility of nu steel is vital to the movie, as Lestat is actually awoken from his centuries-long slumber by the heavy drumbeat of a band working towards in his sprawling mansion. Nu steel runs by each second of the film, from the credit to the songs sung by the band to the plot relevance of the music — Lestat is revealing historical vampire secrets and techniques by way of his Jonathan Davis-penned bangers — to the legendary Deftones-scored intercourse scene that takes place in a rose-petal-filled bathtub. Whereas seen as corny and completely lambasted on the time, the movie discovered a cult following amongst nu steel followers and teenage women, because of the powerfully scorching and attractive pairing of Stuart Townsend as Lestat and Aaliyah because the omnipotent vampire queen Akasha.
Simply as nu steel is making its return to the mainstream, so has a rising fandom for Queen of the Damned discovered a house on-line. TikTok options a number of clips of the movie’s most notorious moments with tens of 1000’s of likes. There are Akasha stomach dancing movies and, in fact, Lestat and Akasha fancams. It’s not simply nostalgic millennials like me who noticed the film at a formative age and by no means forgot it. Nu steel fashions like chokers, mesh shirts, and ornate jewellery are featured in Queen of the Damned aesthetic posts throughout Pinterest. A brand new technology is discovering the nu steel vampire legacy, that means that maybe it may be resurrected once more. Within the age of streaming, something can discover a new viewers, and the web makes it far simpler to search out individuals who love the bizarre stuff that you just thought you have to be embarrassed for adoring.
These dangling cultural threads are simple to tie collectively, particularly with the rise in nostalgia for Catherine Hardwicke’s 2008 teen vampire film, Twilight. Whereas that notorious blue-tinged romance featured a soundtrack that was extra emo than nu steel, millennials who have been mocked for having fun with the overwrought and wonderfully campy franchise have reclaimed it because of meme accounts, fan artwork, and witty language constructed from years of being too on-line. That has impressed a completely new fandom of younger viewers who can’t consider the poisonous excessive school-set love story is actual however nonetheless can’t resist its cringe-inducing charms. The love for the Twilight Saga has grown so all-consuming that Sizzling Subjects are actually stuffed with merchandise that hadn’t been seen in malls for the reason that closing movie hit in 2012, and Lionsgate has spent 2023 aggressively cease-and-desisting the fan accounts that impressed the resurgence within the first place.
The nu steel vampire canon waned after Queen of the Damned. Among the notable later entries have been the Dracula 2000 sequels Dracula II: The Ascension and Dracula III: Legacy. These are a few of the uncommon sequels which are far superior to the unique, because of Jason Scott Lee’s vampire-killing priest. One other later nu steel vampire entry is questionable Lucy Liu Blade ripoff Rise: Blood Hunter. And sure essentially the most well-known of the mid-’00s vampire movies is Underworld, which launched a werewolf risk to the leather-clad vampire film aesthetic.
Regardless of that, although, the horror nu steel canon continued to develop, with movies like Freddy vs. Jason, E-book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, Bride of Chucky, Scream 3, Ghosts of Mars, Jason X, and plenty of extra preserving the nu steel style connection alive. As we transfer again towards ’00s franchises like Noticed and reversion superhero (and vampire) movies that really feel like they have been made in 2005, like Morbius, it’s time to restore the nu steel soundtrack and embrace the cringe which will include it. So, screenwriters and studio heads: Who amongst you can be courageous sufficient to deliver again the nu steel vampire? The world — and the web — wants them and their lengthy leather-based jackets greater than ever earlier than.