Rock music can be defined by one song or album which encapsulates everything about that particular moment in time. However, there are other moments when an artist may take on a new style, move away from their origins, or even start experimenting with different sounds altogether. This was very much the case during the 1990s as grunge emerged, punk died off, and heavy metal embraced progressive tendencies for the first time ever.
As well as defining genres, music is often used as therapy. If listening to your favorite band reminds you of how unhappy you were at school then they’re doing something right! Fortunately for us all, music isn’t just limited to our headphones or earbuds. There are plenty more acts worth exploring than we have space here to list them all. So if you want some alternatives to the usual suspects please read on…
Genre: alternative metal
Alter Bridge is an American rock band formed in 1999 by former Creed and Stone Temple Pilots members. They have released three studio albums: one self-titled record (2004), Metalingus (2008), and One Day Remains (2011). Their sound incorporates elements of alternative metal, hard rock, heavy metal, nu metal, and alternative rock. They broke up in October 2013 after a venue tragedy during their US tour with Shinedown.
As of 2012, the band consisted of Myles Kennedy (vocals), Mark Tremonti (guitar), Scott Phillips (bass) and Brian Marshall (drums). They reunited shortly after and announced a tour for the summer of 2013.
As I Lay Dying
Genre: progressive metal
As I Lay Dying is an American metalcore band from San Diego, California that formed in 1999. The band is signed to Metal Blade Records and has released six studio albums. The band’s latest release, Awakened, was released on May 8 (Europe) and May 9 (USA) 2011. They have been on a hiatus since 2012 with no word yet on a possible comeback.
Genre: alternative metal
Sick Puppies is an Australian rock band formed in 2001 by singer/rhythm guitarist Shimon Moore, lead guitarist Mark Goodwin, drummer Bryan Scott and bassist Emma Anzai. Sick Puppies combine elements of nu metal, hard rock, funk and hip hop. They have released three studio albums: Dressed Up as Life (2003), Tri-Polar (2006) and Connects (2010).
Faith No More
Genre: alternative metal, alternative rock, art rock, industrial metal
Faith No More haven’t played together since a show in 2010. Lately, most of them have been talking about reuniting and recording new material. Bassist Billy Gould says that the band is “definitely writing new material.” However, he doesn’t know how it’ll be released. Mike Patton also said that he feels Faith No More’s reunion “will happen.” He added that the band has talked about making a new album but nothing is final yet.
Faith No More formed in San Francisco, California in 1981 by Mike Bordin, Jim Martin, bassist Billy Gould, and lead vocalist Mike Patton. The band has sold over 27 million albums worldwide. They’ve won numerous awards and were inducted into the Kerrang! Hall of Fame in 2005. Something worth noting is that Faith No More’s first single “We Care A Lot” made it to #100 on the American Billboard charts. Which is pretty amazing considering it came out in 1985 when heavy metal was a pretty unpopular genre.
Birds Of Prey
Genre: melodic hard rock
Formed in 2010, Birds Of Prey play classic arena rock mixed up with modern influences. Frontman James LaBrie hails from the U.S., having been born in Wisconsin but raised in England. He joined his first band, Theatre Of Tragedies, aged 13, playing bass guitar and backing vocals. At 18 he moved back home where he eventually met vocalist Natasha Shivers and keyboard player Dan Jacobs.
They recorded their self-titled debut EP in 2011, which featured guest drummer Dave Abbot (Adagio, Spiritualized, Jane’s Addiction), although he didn’t actually appear on the record. Despite being only available online via streaming sites, it still managed to chart inside the top 50 of Billboard Magazine’s Top Independent Album Chart.
Since releasing that EP, Birds Of Prey have written, rehearsed, and performed shows across North America and Europe. Check out their official website for details of upcoming gigs near you.
Genre: hardcore punk
Originally named simply Pennywise, the band changed its name to reflect the theme of one of its early songs – “Blood.” Since forming in San Francisco, California, in 1992, Pennywise have put out five albums, four EPs, several compilations, and numerous singles. They are known for their uncompromising style of hardcore punk combined with elements of crossover thrash, crust punk, and post-hardcore. Although not particularly prolific since 2005’s Welcome to Los Angeles, Pennywise continue to tour regularly both solo and with various collaborators.
Pennywise’s latest album, Hometown Unicorn, came out in 2014.
Genre: stoner metal
Unearth hail from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Unsurprisingly given that location, their music tends towards the heavier end of things. Strictly speaking, they don’t really fit into any particular subgenre, instead leaning toward doom metal, sludge metal, and stoner rock. Which makes sense because singer John Garcia co-founded the band alongside longtime friend Ben Sharpzén in 1999.
Unearth’s debut album ‘Haunt Yourself’ came out in 2007. Two further albums followed in 2008 and 2010 respectively. All the way until 2017, Unearth continued putting out records without making much progress in terms of commercial success. That said, their fanbase grew exponentially during that period so perhaps they deserve kudos for sticking at it despite multiple setbacks.
From 2002 until summer 2006, Atreyu was inactive due to personal conflicts within the band and outside pressures from label executives. During this hiatus, lead singer Alex Varkatzas spent his spare time writing and prepping for the next Atreyu release. When the hiatus ended, the rest of the members agreed upon a strict code of conduct, dictating how long breaks would last and whether or not certain activities were allowed.
That same year saw the band sign to Fearless Records, whose parent company Fueled By Ramen had recently acquired Atreyu’s former label Victory Records. On July 31st, 2007, the band finally entered the studio to begin work on their fourth album, Suicide Notes & Butterfly Kisses. The record debuted almost exactly 2 years later, on August 26th, 2009. Not bad going considering the fact that guitarist Travis Miguel had broken his hand prior to entering the studio.
Varkatzas took a break from singing after finishing Suicide Notes & Butterfly Kisses, leaving the task to Aaron Rossington. His replacement wasn’t officially announced until January of 2014.
After spending nearly 4 years teasing new material, Atreyu released their fifth album ‘Eternal Recurrence’ on September 22nd, 2013. It features 12 tracks including covers of Rush and Soundgarden. Those interested in hearing older material can do so by visiting their MySpace page and clicking the tab marked Upcoming Shows.
Dysrhythmia is an English musical duo composed of Andrew Trendacosta and Sam Totman. Totman started learning piano at age 5, and picked up the drums shortly thereafter. He began composing and producing music at 15, and has produced beats for artists such as Adele, Muse, Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Coldplay, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Roxy Music, Blur, Keane, Suede, and Franz Ferdinand. Trendacosta picked up his skills on keyboards and synthesizers and studied composition at Leeds University.
Totman and Trendacosta teamed up in 1995, performing together during festivals and clubs. They eventually signed to Hut Records in 1998, but disbanded soon afterwards. Totman left behind a large body of unused production files, prompting Trendacosta to collaborate with him once again. Resulting product? Dysrhythmia.
Trendacosta produces, writes, arranges, mixes, plays synths, drums, and sings. Totman provides additional instrumentation and mixing duties. Dysrhythmia’s debut album ‘Delusions And Realities’ was released on May 25th, 2009.
Type O Negative
Genre: gothic metal, industrial metal, deathrock
Peter Steele spent his youth in New York State before relocating to Brooklyn in 1984. He eventually moved to Long Island and founded Type O Negative in 1989. The band’s first lineup consisted of Steele, drummer Johnny Kelly, bassist Josh Silver, and guitarist Kenny Hickey. In 1990 they signed a deal with Roadrunner Records and released their debut album ‘Slow, Deep And Hard’.
The band went on to release two more studio albums before settling into a more restrained style of gothic metal in 2000. Type O Negative’s output since then has been fairly limited, with the only notable exceptions being the first chapter of their live album ‘Live: The Nightwatchman’ (2001) and a collection of previously unreleased demos titled ‘The Great Corrupter’ (2010).
Genre: thrash metal, death metal, groove metal
In 1987 and 1988, a couple of young musicians living in Belo Horizonte decided to form a new band. First was Andreas Kisser who played guitar. Next up was his childhood friend Paulo Jr. who played bass guitar. They met with original drummer Jairo Guedez and started jamming together in a rented garage that belonged to Kisser’s family.
Eventually, they needed a replacement for Guedez and they turned to Max and Igor Cavalera. They practiced in the garage and played in public places like bars, where they was confronted by police who took writing materials from them. The guys worried that the cops would be angry if they found out what kind of music the band was making so they decided to shorten their name to Sepultura.
In early 1991, Sepultura started recording its first album ‘Beneath the Remains’. It was released on November 8th in the same year. The band has since released 7 studio albums and 3 live albums. Of course, it’s not a coincidence that over half of those releases were disbanded by drummer Max. After all, he was replaced by Igor Cavalera and that’s why we know Sepultura as the band that has remained a constant presence over their decades-long career.
There you have it. 10 metal bands that you should definitely check out if you’re a fan of alternative metal.