Although bands like Disturbed, Three Days Grace, and Godsmack often play alongside metal bands, they’re often criticized for straying from the constraints of traditional metal.

It’s not often commented on, but hard rock is as much a part of mainstream music as any other genre. “Nu-metal” is a term many people have come to loathe. Artists branded with the title regularly reject it, either asserting they’re not metal at all and shouldn’t be labeled as such, or alternatively, they posit that metal music is metal, regardless of the age of the band, and should just be called metal.

On the other end of the spectrum, fans often apply the word “nu-metal” to hard rock bands they’re disparaging, asserting that these types of bands aren’t hard or heavy enough.

Many bands labeled as nu-metal do mix more commercial and catchy choruses with heavy, down-tuned guitar riffs and trade technical, heavy-metal song arrangements for more standard “verse, chorus, verse” structures so common on mainstream music stations.

According to Blabbermouth, Godsmack frontman Sully Erna recently rejected the label of “metal band” outright, and states that Godsmack has never really been metal. He does concede, however, that at times they did toe the line. In general, though, Erna prefers Godsmack to just be seen as a hard rock band, as metal can often be considered an extremely rigid genre with a particular set of expectations.

As we’ve grown, we really have tried to identify who we are and what we do as a band, and we really are just a hard rock n’ roll band. We’re not metal — we never really were metal. We rode the line at times in the past, but we’ve always kind of tried to stay neutral. [Led] Zepplin had a great display of doing that, where they just came out with records and there was just so many different kinds of genres on there

Erna was being interviewed by a radio station in Des Moines, Iowa, Lazer 103.3 while on tour, co-headlining with fellow hard-rockers Shinedown. This tour is in support of Godsmack’s latest album, When Legends Rise, which was released earlier this year on April 27 by record label BMG.

Godsmack first broke into mainstream music with their self-titled debut album released in 1998 and going four-times platinum in the United States. Godsmack contained a number of rock-radio hits, including “Whatever,” “Keep Away,” “Bad Religion,” and the wildly popular single “Voodoo.”

In terms of sound the band has been compared to Korn and Metallica, but most notably to Alice In Chains, as critics often cite similarities between Sully Erna’s voice, and that of Alice In Chains frontman, the late Layne Staley.

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