“Is this nu metal lol” reads a note on my phone I wrote sometime last summer. I was at an underground bar gig near Prospect Park, where one of the bands sometimes shout-rapped over punky chords. I passed my phone over to my boyfriend to ask—they nodded while laughing.
We had recently watched Netflix’s Trainwreck: Woodstock ‘99, and Fred Durst had yet to escape my mind. It seemed like Durst snuck his boyish energy into my reality too, through Gun, a New York-based band who were reviving nu metal and making it actually good. The only thing missing was the red Yankee hat.
This is especially true on “Revenge of the Killdozer,” a fan-favorite from their self-produced debut album Gunmetal. The dirtbag anthem opens with one of their most witty lines, “I don’t give a fuck! / About a fucker, that’s not me” (although I prefer to sing as if the lyric didn’t have a comma), and features a rage rap from their friend NO!MAD AMIR.
But it isn’t fair to label Stavros Lari (guitarist and singer), Sawyer Smith (bassist and singer), Aadil Mufti (lead guitarist), and Billy Hay (drummer) as a nu metal band. On last November’s release Gunmetal, the band flirts with pop-punk, hardcore, and industrial sounds. Even last month they produced a nightcore remix of Sofia Zarzuela’s indie-pop hit “Boys,” proving to be a band that lives without genre constraints.
In Gunmetal, the band goes from sounding like FIDLAR to The Garden to Limp Bizkit to Molchat Doma. There’s screams, drop-tuned guitars, fast tempos, drum and bass, sinister synthesizers, and collaborations with other DIY Brooklyn musicians. Zarzuela provides back-up vocals to the poppier “Vixen,” while the vampirish samples and final boss-esque sound of “A Bloody Jubilee” ends with a verse by JessX.
Now, Gun is back with a new single—the first of the six they will release this year. “Love Thy Neighbor, Not Thy Roommate” is another one of their well-produced, hardcore punk tracks that starts with an addictive bass harmony and ends with a fuzzy breakdown. Inspired by Lari’s and Hay’s short-lived winter in New Orleans, the song has aggression-fueled lyrics: “You smell like shit / You’re nothing I want anything to do with / So shut the fuck up / Or your gonna end tonight getting hit” and “You’re yelling at us? / Go fuck yourself / Clean up your act / In-fuckin’-sane / Go fuck yourself / Go fuck yourself,” about a roommate situation gone bad. It’s an immediate pleasure; it’s rowdy and catchy. It’s Gun.