On seeing Nu Metal's artwork, my immediate hope was that the 1.1GB of content would be better quality than the skull drawing on the cover. The samples in question number more than 500 and come formatted as Acidised WAV, AIFF, Apple Loops and REX 2 files, and EXS24, Kontakt and Reason NNXT instruments.
Nu Metal is based on the construction‑kit format, but it is unconventional in a number of ways. Firstly, alongside the Construction Kit folder there are other folders, entitled Vocals, FX and Bonus Drumtools, all of which contain material not specifically attached to any kit. The Construction Kit folder itself holds only eight kits, but each contains sizeable sub‑folders for bass, guitar, drums and, occasionally, effects. Construction kits usually provide a couple of intro, verse, chorus and bridge loops per instrument, but Nu Metal does away with categories and simply offers a long list of samples for each instrument. Also not included is a guide mix illustrating what kind of composition can be made from the individual kit parts.
The producers' decision to provide very open‑ended sample options is actually refreshingly exciting. Instead of having to work hard to break free from the tyranny of the kit, I was inspired to find out what could be forged from the multitude of parts.
The sleeve notes promise hard‑core aggression, innovation and loud, arse‑kicking, bone‑crushing rock music — in the style of Adema, Godsmack, Sevendust and StoneSour — but, curiously, they also use the word 'groovy'. Although most of us probably associate grooviness with 1960s flower‑power bands, quite often the riffs here are, well, groovy; and while some of the guitar is "heavier than plutonium”, other samples skip along as nimbly as a gazelle.
The drums feature lots of splashy percussion and cracking snares, but also include plenty of tight, minimal riffs played on closed hi‑hats, snares and toms, which are ideal for bridges and sections of verse. The "blood‑soaked bass” is only drenched in effect on a few samples. Most kits actually provide a reasonable variety of tones. Only the guitar loops are heavily effected throughout, but deliver exactly the right kind of tight, compressed, overdriven sound. That said, it would have been nice to have, as some collections offer, clean DI'd versions of each one for custom processing.
Nu Metal might be very genre specific, but it does offer variety. The kit named Pain, for example, has an interesting FX folder, not only including some chorused, reverberant guitar, but also piano and strings samples. And beyond the Construction Kits, the bonus material includes various effects, single drum and percussion hits taken from across a kit, and an array of unintentionally amusing vocal samples. There's even amp noise, which every guitarist produces whether they want to or not.
After reading the sleeve notes, I was expecting relentless oppression and dirge. Music fitting that description could be fashioned from Nu Metal, but there is potential for much more. The content is, indeed, better than the skull on the cover. Tom Flint