Alternative metal is a fascinating genre of music, for based on its definition alone, alternative metal doesn’t represent one kind of sound.
In actuality, “alternative” music represents a desire and willingness from an artist to experiment; to take the conventions of the genre they are working in, and to expand, subvert, or defy the stereotypical building blocks the genre is built on. Take metal for example, in alternative metal, the very notion of heavy metal is challenged. Instead of heaviness in the form of thrashing guitars, you have heaviness in the form of thrashing shoegaze and intense atmosphere.
Alternative metal is not only an expansive genre, but it’s a label that can be applied to many bands. For those interested in learning more about what this incredible artform has to offer, below you will find our list fo the 10 best modern alternative metal bands.
Providing heavy doses of grunge and shoegaze, Narrow Head is the ideal band for anyone looking for dreamy, atmospheric metal. The band provides a vibe that is very reminiscent of Deftones, but with a little more of a hard rock kick. The band just released a new album and it’s one of our favorite records of this year.
Also carrying the torch when it comes to modern grunge is Soul Blind. Along the lines of Alice In Chains or Soundgarden, Soul Blind blends kick-ass metal aggression with droning melodies and hard rock, offering listeners an eclectic heavy experience.
If you take the alternative sound of The Smashing Pumpkins and blend that with the intensity of early Deftones, you get Bleed. Though the band only has a few songs under their belt at the time of this writing, they have more than proven themselves to create thrillingly captivating bangers.
One of the best bands today bringing shoegaze to modern audiences is Phildelphia’s Nothing. Over the course of four albums, along with other releases, Nothing has crafted a plethora of technically and creatively intricate songs, using elements of grunge, metal, and ambiance to provide enthralling and heavy experiences.
Another Pennslyvania alternative metal act deserving of being shouted out is Superheaven. While this band sounds like they were ripped right out of the ’90s rock scene, Superheaven takes the components of grunge and shoegaze and shapes them into a wholly unique form special to them.
Trauma Ray leans hard into crafting mesmerizing and serene atmospheres that provide surprising kicks of adrenaline. Similar to acts like Deafheaven, when you throw on a Trauma Ray song, you’ll find yourself immersed in a beautiful soundscape of enchanting vibes and rich emotion.
The best way to sum up Money is if Nirvana attempted to create heavy shoegaze music – which, spoiler alert, sounds pretty damn awesome. The band’s new song “Flacco” is an incredible testament to Money’s artistry, and alongside it, you should check out their self-titled release.
In their brand of alternative metal, Fleshwater takes grunge and elements of post-punk to offer exhilarating bangers brimming with sonic aggression and mood. Fleshwater’s 2022 album, We’re Not Here To Be Loved, highlights the band’s creative and technical diversity, and it is one of our favorite albums from last year.
Compared to other acts on this list, Drug Church bring more of a punk aggression into their alt-metal sound. Providing touches of post-punk and hardcore into their mix, Drug Chruch provides riveting compositions that have the means to get you swinging in mosh pits or dancing around.
Metallic shoegaze makes for a jaw-dropping combination of style and sound, and if such a combo intrigues you, then absolutely check out ASkySoBlack. While the songs of ASkySoBlack exude atmosphere, the real draw of the band is their mesmerizingly heavy and droning compositions.