“What is Nu Metal?”: Spineshank Talk The Appeal Of Nu Metal + Their Role In The Genre

nu metal
Spineshank photo: Spineshank Facebook page/ Meep Meep Podcast logo: Meep Meep Podcast/ Chino Moreno photo: Silvio Tanaka (Wikimedia Commons)/ Jonathan Davis photo: Irwandy Mazwir (Wikimedia Commons)/ Corey Taylor photo: José Goulão (Wikimedia Commons)
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Considered one of the most significant labels in all of metal history, Roadrunner Records has done much to support bands who would forever change the metal world – especially nu metal bands.

Ryan Rainbro is not just a passionate metalhead, but a metal historian who has a particular fondness for that of Roadrunner Records. That passion is what led him to start up the Meep Meep Podcast – a podcast devoted to exploring awesome albums throughout Roadrunner Records’ history. From iconic releases like the Sepultura album Roots, to gems such as Baby Fox’s Dum Dum Baby, to even more recent releases like the 2017 album from Code Orange, Forever, Rainbro has covered an incredible array of albums.

On a brand new episode of Meep Meep Podcast, out today, Rainbro interviewed members of nu metal act Spineshank to talk about their 1998 album Strictly Diesel. Spineshank formed in 1996, with Strictly Diesel being their debut studio album. During the time the band were active, they released a total of four studio albums.

In this new episode, featuring band members Rob Garcia and Mike Sarkisyan, Sarkisyan spoke about what big nu metal band really inspired their sound when it came to Strictly Diesel:

Sarkisyan: “I’ll tell you what influenced Diesel the most… later on when the record came out everyone really associated us with Fear Factory and I don’t ever think we sounded anything like Fear Factory…Sound-wise we had nothing in common with Fear Factory whatsoever.

“But Around the Fur happened. ‘Shinebox’ is definitely Deftones inspired. I was ripping off Sepultura. That was Roots. Deftones were definitely a huge influence on that record. I remember hearing Around the Fur and being like holy fuck is this good.”

Sarkisyan and Garcia also talked about their favorite albums from Roadrunner Records; their picks include releases from Nailbomb, Type O Negative, and Fear Factory.

Rainbro had other members of the band on the show back in 2020 to talk about their 2000 studio album The Height of Callousness. For that episode, Rainbro had Spineshank vocalist Jonny Santos on, and one of the things they discussed was that of the nu metal scene of the ‘90s and early 2000s. When Santos talks about “What is a nu metal band?,” he brings up a really fascinating point.

Santos: “Well what is a nu metal band? If you’re gonna call us nu metal. And then I thought about it and I was like I don’t give a fuck. Ya know what it is? You can’t put a label on the genre of music. If you took us,  and then took Slipknot, and then took System of a Down, and Limp Bizkit – all considered nu metal bands – not a single band sounds anywhere near the fucking same. Nu metal is just a term for like NO RULES.

“I think it’s ironic nu metal is coming back because I see all these guys that used to talk shit on it try to jump on the train. It was an awesome time for metal. It was rad. I was there! You could do whatever the fuck you wanna do! You can sing, you can scream, guitar solo, or not. It was just a melting pot of influences. Did we dress funny and shit like that? Of course we did. It was fucking 20 years ago! I’m sure 20 years from now people will be laughing at what’s happening now.

“I was part of that movement. The fact that we put the Height of Callousness at the height of that movement and the height of our career, that’s cool.”

You can find the latest episode of Meep Meep Podcast, as well as the episode with Spineshank vocalist Jonny Santos talking about the nu metal genre below! Meep Meep Podcast is also available to listen to on Spotify (as well as a plethora of other platforms that host podcasts).

Now that it has been many years – the likes of Slipknot and Korn still being huge bands, Limp Bizkit has made a major return, and younger bands pulling inspiration from nu metal – what are your thoughts on the nu metal genre?

It’s certainly an interesting time for the genre, especially since Rob Zombie just announced an industrial/nu metal tour that feels ripped right out of the ‘90s/early 2000s.

Rob Zombie Announces ‘Freaks On Parade’ Tour And It’s Brimming With Industrial + Nu Metal Nostalgia


Words by: Michael Pementel