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In 2003, MTV wrote that nu metal's mainstream popularity was declining, citing that Korn's fifth album Untouchables and Papa Roach's third album Lovehatetragedy both sold less than the bands' previous releases.Korn's lead vocalist Jonathan Davis blamed music piracy for the amount of sales of Untouchables because the album had been leaked to the Internet more than four months before its official release date.Machine Head's drummer Dave Mc Clain said, "Pissing people off isn't a bad thing, you know? [i]t doesn't bother us at all, we know we're going to piss people off with this record, but some people hopefully will actually sit down and listen to the whole record"."There's a minute and a half of rapping on that album.
In 2000, Limp Bizkit's third studio album Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water set a record for highest week-one sales of a rock album, selling over 1,000,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release—400,000 of which sold on its first day of release, making it the fastest-selling rock album ever and breaking the world record held for seven years by Pearl Jam's Vs.
Korn's 2010 studio album Korn III: Remember Who You Are sold 63,000 copies during its first week of release and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200.
In spite of both its popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s and the fact that it is widely considered to be a genre of heavy metal music, nu metal has often been criticized by many fans of heavy metal music, When Machine Head moved to the nu metal genre with their album The Burning Red and their vocalist Robb Flynn spiked his hair in the fashion of many nu metal musicians, the band were accused of "selling out" and many fans criticized their change of appearance and musical style.
During the 2010s, there has been a slight nu metal revival; many bands that combine nu metal with other genres (for example, metalcore) emerged and some nu metal bands from the 1990s and early 2000s returned to the nu metal sound.
Many heavy metal fans have criticized nu metal, and do not regard it as "true heavy metal".