Alternative metal emerged in the mid-1980s in the United States as a fusion of heavy metal and alternative rock, particularly the indie rock of the 1980s. The genre gained popularity in the early 1990s alongside grunge. Alternative metal bands incorporated heavy guitar riffs from metal with unconventional lyrics, unusual techniques, and a rejection of heavy music traditions. They also blended metal with diverse musical genres.

The term “alternative metal” is imprecise and often describes bands with unique approaches to metal or whose music blurs the line between metal and alternative rock. Pioneer bands like Faith No More, Corrosion of Conformity, Jane’s Addiction, Helmet, White Zombie, The Melvins, Soundgarden, Ministry, and Nine Inch Nails emerged from combining metal with hardcore, post-punk, gothic rock, noise rock, grunge, industrial, and other alternative genres. These bands were united by the influence of traditional heavy metal and experimentation with its form.

The popularity of grunge, which combined 1970s metal and underground punk, helped expand the audience for alternative metal bands. After Nirvana’s breakthrough, the characteristics of alternative metal became more diffuse, ranging from industrial acts like Nine Inch Nails and Ministry to Rage Against the Machine, who incorporated hip-hop and post-punk. By the late 1990s, alternative metal regained its distinct features, particularly through bands like Rage Against the Machine, Korn, Nine Inch Nails, and Helmet. Helmet’s music set the framework for nu metal, a new metal phenomenon.

Alternative Metal Band 2024
  • Hanabie.
  • System of a Down
  • Bad Omens
  • Evanescence
  • Disturbed
  • Tool
  • Korn
  • Avenged Sevenfold
  • Spiritbox
  • Deftones
  • Halestorm
  • In This Moment
  • Alice in Chains
  • Breaking Benjamin
  • Godsmack
  • Mudvayne
  • Primus
  • P.O.D.
  • Melvins
  • Code Orange
  • Flyleaf
  • Helmet
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