Liam Murphy

August 6, 2023

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Nu metal is sparked with a dangerously chaotic dance energy on these unbelievable two tracks

No matter what genre or collection of genres we end up pulling towards in our listening habits, so many people are driven by those first instances in which music connected with them on an emotional level. It is not an overstatement to say that many of those moments, for those that were alive and especially of a formative age at the time, will have been had while listening to the alternative or nu-metal of the 1990s/2000s. Often unabashedly emotional and angry to the point of theatricality, this music was a salve to many young people having feelings of detachment and isolation, as well as those that felt an implacable anger towards a world that they felt was adversarial.

It's from this period that STRIPE N CO pulls. With this being the case, SHOE METAL is always going to garner attention on a nove level, however, it is how the artist subverts the explicit melodramatic sounds of the two chosen songs that keeps listeners locked in and, by the end, blown away. Completely ripped from their original context – and through an evident talent in production and knowledge of the chosen genres – SHOE METAL finds one track transformed into a skulking and speedy trance tune and the other into a razor sharp breakbeat dancefloor-melter.

Linkin Park’s style is one that near enough everyone will be familiar with. The sharply-produced nu-metal they were known for often feels in the midst of complete emotional explosion. The late, great Chester Bennington’s vocals spewing out, the sound of his heart breaking with every screamed note. Mike Shinoda’s often calm but always-seething rap style. On DOESNT EVEN MATTER, STRIPE N CO steals the two vocalists from atop their rain-soaked monolith in the track’s memorable music video and successfully transforms their angered In The End with a fast-paced trance beat. It is unrelenting and always feels on the precipice of catharsis rather than achieving it with the coming of each chorus, like in the original. Instead, ping-pong bass incessantly bounces round in an infectious dance sequence. Towards the end, we find the hook held up on a glittering crescendo platform, but instead of an all-out drop, STRIPE N CO commits to the more consistent, rhythmic style, sending things round in a dizzying dance.

In WAKE ME UP, listeners find a truly innovative reimagining, maybe even more so than the first. Evanescence’s hit of the same name was so prolific to the point of inescapability around the time of its release. The dark, comically-melancholic video, Amy Lee’s unforgettable vocal tone. The track is rightly seen as an archetype of the time. But, in a move sizeably different to the first track, STRIPE N CO turns this seething ballad into a razor sharp flurry of chopped samples laid over a confusing gabber-y rhythm. The groundwork laid is fairly similar, up to a certain point, hyperactive emotion delivered through pitched up vocals. This is until a salvo of sharp samples begin to hit alongside an assault of drum samples. Any euphoria is swept away instantly to make room for these angular sounds. What follows is a deeply impressive face melting sequence, interspersing Tesela’s Hackney Parrot within the crevices of the relentless onslaught of electrified Evanescence. Only towards the end does a solid marching kick drum call everything to order, charging forward at a blistering tempo.

It is hard to recapture the emotion the two chosen tracks – and nu metal in general – evoked in people . Of course, many will listen and feel something today, but it can only ever be a faded visage of what those listening at the time felt, as the nu metal furnace of the nineties and noughties blazed healthily. Those days can never be experienced again. But in STRIPE N CO’s hypercharged reimaginings, these classics are repurposed into brash dance tracks that serve up a comedic vigorousness and an undeniable impact.