Who would you claim to be nu-metal's "Big 4"? That's a subject that heated up over Sick New World festival weekend as Reddit users attempted to define who would be part of their Mount Rushmore of nu-metal acts.

The Definites

Who should be among the "Big 4" of nu-metal acts? There seemed to be two bands that were heavily mentioned above all others when that topic came up - Korn and Limp Bizkit. Korn are very understandable as many point to the band's 1994 self-titled debut album as the blueprint for much of the nu-metal that followed.

Meanwhile, Limp Bizkit, for better or worse, were likely the most well-known faces of nu-metal enjoying huge popularity in the late '90s and taking most of the heat with the genre's downfall in the early 2000s. See what fans are saying below.


  • Fun fact: korn actually has the first 2 music videos retired by TRL: Got the Life and Freak on a Leash
  • They literally invented the genre and since then nobody has been able to capture they distinct sound kinda like System of a Down
  • korn invented nu metal didn't they?
  • Korn hands down, came out 1994

Limp Bizkit

  • limp bizkit “came out” in 1997
  • I wonder why people have this strong impression that Limp Bizkit were one of the biggest, they only have an advantage when it comes to overall Youtube plays
  •  Yeah no Bizkit was one of the biggest nu metal bands in terms of sales and mainstream popularity, they just went on multiple hiatus after Wes left, came back, left again and came back again.

The Biggest Debate

It appears to be a four-horse race for two spots. The person who introduced the thread suggested that Deftones and Slipknot should round out the "Big 4." But as the discussion evolved, there was plenty of support for Linkin Park and System of a Down as well, with Linkin Park and Slipknot drawing the most mentions.


  • Slipknot is a major influence on modern Nu Metal so I disagree
  • I don’t consider Slipknot to be nu metal at all.
  • Slipknot. Linkin park. Mushroomhead. And static-x were my big 4
  • When I was a youngin it was Slipknot, SOAD, Mudvayne, and Korn. Now I would do Slipknot, SOAD, Deftones, and Korn.

Linkin Park

  • LP should be there too
  • Numetal was mainstream before Linkin Park. I remember watching TRL and being so excited to see Korn and Limp Bizkit on TV in 1998. Linkin Park perfected numetal and it was basically over by the time Meteora came out.
  • Yea. Linkin Park waaay more popular than deftones. Deftones was barely considered nu metal at the time.
  • Mine is almost the same with LP instead of Knot. Knot sort of fits but they didn't have as much influence on the nu metal genre as a whole compared to the rest.
  • I'm no fan of Linkin Park's catalogue (spicy take, I know lol), but I'd argue that if there was a definitive verdict, they belong in the Big Four just off the impact of their first two records. Just my two cents.
  • I just can't see Linkin Park as nu-metal. I LOVE LP, but they just don't give off the raw, unhinged, crunchy sound that I associate with nu-metal so much.
  • Linkin Park had to be in there, based on record sales alone. I don’t consider Slipknot to be nu metal at all.

System of a Down

  • i feel like system is more iconic than deftones tbh
  • I would swap deftones for System if a Down. No offense to the Deftones, but their stuff was less Nu Metal over time.
  • System of a Down, debatable but they were wild as hell and got really popular.
  • System of a down should replace limp biscuit or slipknot


  • I love Deftones they are pretty deep with their music
  • Respectfully - Deftones destroy the other 3 in this lineup
  • First two albums were pretty good for me, but then white pony came out and he just did that on vocals from then on. Couldn't get into it.
  • I really haven't listened to much Deftones, but it took me a LONG time to finally warm up to their Diamond Eyes album. I was just about to sell it too before I decided to give it one more listen. Then it actually grew on me. Still not one of my favorite albums and still not eager to listen to more Deftones, but I do appreciate Diamond Eyes now at least.
  • Deftones is more shoegaze than nü-metal and they recently inspired ton of gen z bands that make music exactly the same as theres.
  • Deftones, debatable but they came out 1995, the same area as Korn and coal chamber directly stated that their sound was like Korn and Deftones
  • Deftones was highly influential when half of nu metal bands that came after them sounded like them (the other half sounded like Korn or had songs mixed with Deftones and Korn influences).
  • Deftones is for sure a contender for the 4, but I don’t see them as more successful or influential than these bands.
  • deftones were only nu metal for an album? absolutely an alternative metal band from white pony on. therefore i never really classify them as nu metal, but a band that always had the elements.
  • Deftones, Deftones, Deftones and maybe KoRn for me
  • No, Deftones aren't in it, I wouldn't put Limp Bizkit either. And System of a Down isn't Nu Metal in any way.
  • deftones definitely aren’t nu metal, chino even hates having his band being called nu metal

Who Else Got Mentioned?

Static-X popped up several times in the discussion, as did Rage Against the Machine. Meanwhile, other acts such as Sevendust, Incubus, Disturbed, Mushroomhead, Mudvayne, Coal Chamber, Drowning Pool and Evanescence all received recognition from a few commenters as well.

  • Static-X don’t get enough love…
  • if it is going to actual Nu Metal bands then the big 4 are Limp Bizkit, Korn, Slipknot and Static-X
  • Sevendust instead of anyone that's not Korn or Deftones.
  • When I was a youngin it was Slipknot, SOAD, Mudvayne, and Korn.
  • Incubus was highly influential with their weird guitar effects,funky rhythms and mix of Brandon’s rap and melodic singing

The full Reddit thread can be viewed here.

Who Did Loudwire Choose as Nu-Metal's "Big 4"?

In recent years, Loudwire cranked out our "Big 4" in a variety of hard rock and metal subgenres. For nu-metal, the "Big 4" were Korn, Linkin Park, System of a Down and Limp Bizkit.

READ MORE: The 'Big 4' Bands of 17 Metal Subgenres

Slipknot, who many have considered for the Nu-Metal "Big 4," actually were named as part of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal "Big 4" along with Avenged Sevenfold, Lamb of God and Trivium.

Every 'Big 4' Nu-Metal Album, Ranked From Worst to Best

Between Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and System of a Down — indeed, the "Big 4" bands of nu-metal — how do all their albums stack up when ranked together? It's no walk in the park pitting these discographies against each other. Read below to see every album by nu-metal's "Big 4," ranked from worst to best.

Gallery Credit: Philip Trapp + Chad Childers

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