Alternative Metal

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Alternative Metal, or Alt Metal for short, is a sub-genre of metal music that has it's roots in the mid-1980s. It's sound comes from the mixing of metal with elements that are uncharacteristic to the metal genre, such as funk and hip-hop, but not in such an experimental way as to be considered Avant-Garde Metal. Some of these alternative metal fusions gave risen to some distinct sub-genres of it's own, with Nu Metal being a notable metal movement from the mid-1990s.

Alternative Metal Sub-Genres

Funk Metal

Nu Metal

Rap Metal

Sub-genre collaborators (+ Child subs and Heavy Alternative Rock):

alternative metal top albums

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ALICE IN CHAINS Dirt Album Cover Dirt
ALICE IN CHAINS
4.51 | 107 ratings
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FAITH NO MORE Angel Dust Album Cover Angel Dust
FAITH NO MORE
4.41 | 89 ratings
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LIVING COLOUR Stain Album Cover Stain
LIVING COLOUR
4.47 | 12 ratings
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SOUNDGARDEN Badmotorfinger Album Cover Badmotorfinger
SOUNDGARDEN
4.22 | 64 ratings
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TOOL Ænima Album Cover Ænima
TOOL
4.18 | 86 ratings
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CHEVELLE Wonder What's Next Album Cover Wonder What's Next
CHEVELLE
4.67 | 6 ratings
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SYSTEM OF A DOWN Toxicity Album Cover Toxicity
SYSTEM OF A DOWN
4.14 | 95 ratings
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KATATONIA The Fall Of Hearts Album Cover The Fall Of Hearts
KATATONIA
4.28 | 18 ratings
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NOTHINGFACE Violence Album Cover Violence
NOTHINGFACE
4.62 | 6 ratings
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MUDVAYNE L.D. 50 Album Cover L.D. 50
MUDVAYNE
4.24 | 17 ratings
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FAITH NO MORE The Real Thing Album Cover The Real Thing
FAITH NO MORE
4.09 | 76 ratings
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KATATONIA Viva Emptiness Album Cover Viva Emptiness
KATATONIA
4.12 | 32 ratings
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APARTMENT 26 Music for the Massive

Album · 2003 · Nu Metal
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Unitron
It's a shame that Apartment 26 called it quits after this album, because there's some serious untapped potential displayed on Music for the Massive. The beginning of the new millennium was when electronic artists were rediscovering old school jazz and swing music, between the nu jazz scene and artists like Eat Static (and Merv Pepler's other projects at the time), DJ Food, and the Propellerheads among others making heavy use of horn samples and swing rhythms, it was old world meets new world in full swing (no pun intended).

So why is this relevant to a relatively obscure forgotten nu metal band? Apartment 26 was an electronic influenced metal band from the start, but Music for the Massive shows an influence from this new trend in the realm of electronica. The infectiously catchy opener Give Me More displays this with jazzy piano rolls and finger snapping beats (literally, at the start) combined with metal guitar crunch. 88 follows suit with an occasional horn sample. I can only assume that these guys were following what was going on in the electronic scene at the time.

Where it fails, is that the band doesn't consistently utilize this sound. Most of it is just semi-industrial pop metal, and they do a decent job at it, but it helps their sound so much whenever any jazzy beats and melodies come in. It doesn't help that they start the album with the two best songs, and you're just waiting for them to give you more of Give Me More. Book (Be My Friend), Axel Off, and the beginning of 5 Day Rental is the rest of the extent they go with the unique twist they start off with.

Who knows if Apartment 26 will ever come back, and who knows what they'd even sound like if they did, but it's a shame as I can't see this kind of musical combination coming back, anytime soon at least. It's not like 2003 today which was the prime time for it. Right time, right place, but not the best execution unfortunately. Still recommended though for mostly the first two songs and just to get an idea of how great this sound could be, but it could've been even better.

POWERMAN 5000 Mega!! Kung Fu Radio

Album · 1997 · Nu Metal
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Unitron
"If they ask ya' what, tell'em file under action"

Before Powerman 5000 went in an industrial metal direction, they crafted a unique sound like no other and defined the variety of nu metal at its core. They blended hip hop, their own stoner-sounding rapping, knockout metal grooves, funky bass, 70's metal style soloing, varied percussion, and more in a seamless mix. Incredibly fun too, perfectly both creative and entertaining. It's like Clutch making a nu metal album.

Mega!! Kung Fu Radio is booming with personality, infectious hooks, heavy grooves, high energy, and Spider One's deadpan delivery of abstract lyricism. What separates Powerman from other rap metal bands is how perfectly they play in both genres. They aren't just rapping over metal riffing, they're blending chunky metal grooves with funky hip hop rhythms seamlessly like they were meant for each other. It's a perfect way to get a metal fan into hip hop, or vice-versa.

I love this whole album, so it's hard to really highlight any particular song, describing the sound as a whole is a lot easier. However, Organizized, 20 Miles to Texas 25 to Hell, Standing 8, and hidden track File Under Action are some particular favorites if I had to choose. File Under Action is the purest hip hop track on the album, with a perfect use of a droning atmosphere and effective placement of guitar riffing and feedback that's made ultra-heavy whenever it appears. Spider One carries great flow throughout the album, but this is among his best performances.

The 90's were an incredibly creative time for music, and Powerman 5000 shows some of the best part of that for both the world of metal and hip hop.

SNOT Get Some

Album · 1997 · Nu Metal
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Unitron
Snot, aside from an unfortunate band name, also has the unfortunate fate of being a one-album band's whose career was cut short by the untimely death of their frontman Lynn Strait. That's what they tend to be remembered for the most, and I can't say I hear all that much about their music.

So what about the music? Pretty good stuff. It reminds me of a bit of Powerman 5000, though not quite the same extent of style hopping and blending. There's near thrashers like Deadfall, groovy hooks with I Jus' Lie and Tecato, rap metal tracks like Stoopid and Snooze Button that switch between mellow and intense, and even a great chillout jazzy instrumental with Get Some Keez.

Snot is one of those bands that I've always been under the impression that they carry a legacy more for circumstance rather than their music, like Nirvana. While that may be true historically speaking, Get Some is a pretty good album with nice variety and Snot could've probably made an even better follow up had they gotten the chance. Check out Powerman 5000 first, and then this if you want some more of a slightly similar sound.

SOUNDGARDEN Badmotorfinger

Album · 1991 · Alternative Metal
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Unitron
"I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run"

People will often debate between Dirt and Nevermind as the definitive grunge album, but in my book it'll always be Badmotorfinger. Maybe part of that comes from that fact that I've practically been hearing this album my whole life, but it also defines grunge like no other album. Heavy, dirty, sludgy, it's a massive behemoth of an album, yet also off the cuff and frantic when it needs to be.

Song titles like Slaves & Bulldozers, Searching With My Good Eye Closed, and Room a Thousand Years Wide are not only great titles, but they just bring to mind images of some pummeling force before it's heard in the music. Drawing Flies is as grungy as you can get, bringing the definition of dirty and grimy to its literal form.

It's a perfect showcase of a pure band displaying their talents, no member really outshining (pun not intended) the other. Chris Cornell gives a fiery vocal performance, from the red-faced screaming of Slaves & Bulldozers to the venom spitting of Drawing Flies, he's the closest anyone's gotten to Rob Halford levels of intensity. Kim Thayil's signature guitar style permeates the album, with little being as iconic as Rusty Cage's opening riff (especially for anyone who's also played Road Rash). Ben Shepherd's bass licks can be deceivingly insane, particularly on the jagged and frantic Jesus Christ Pose, or helping a lumbering rhythm section (Slaves & Bulldozers again). Last but not least, Matt Cameron's drumming is simply a pounding force that cements each song into your head.

I could go on and on about how fantastic this album is, but I don't want to ramble. It's a genre-defining album, and one of the best metal albums of all time.

KORN Life Is Peachy

Album · 1996 · Nu Metal
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Unitron
With their debut, Korn had already created a signature sound for themselves and became one of the most unique bands in metal. Life is Peachy shows them expanding their sound and with it a noisy and frantic album. One of the only albums that could be called noise metal? Maybe.

It's fitting that the album's intro is called Twist. It and much of the album brings to mind images of Expressionist paintings of the turn of the century. Figures twist and contort, and colors are distorted (in this case probably bleak from a Munch painting). The music reflects said imagery, with jagged riffing and this might be the album where Davis does the most scatting.

Life is Peachy isn't as consistent as the debut, but the best songs on here are among the band's best. Aforementioned intro Twist, which has a fantastic contrast between scat and clean singing, Lost, Swallow, the weird bagpipe cover of Lowrider, and No Place to Hide are all excellent. The latter is probably my favorite and has a great hook.

While not the band's best, probably their most experimental.

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SLIPKNOT (IA) Day Of The Gusano

Movie · 2017 · Nu Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
***This review is regarding the single disc, UK Blu-Ray version only. Which contains the full uninterrupted concert only, with no special features or documentary footage.***

Now, you might be thinking ‘I’ve already got three Slipknot videos with concert footage on them’ if you already own Disasterpeices live in London from the Iowa touring cycle, (Sic)nesses live at Download festival 2009 on their first headline performance there during the All Hope Is Gone touring cycle, and the 2nd disc of the documentary release Voliminal Inside The Nine which had a smattering of live tracks from different dates and locations during the Vol. 3 touring cycle.

So what has Day Of The Gusano got to separate it from the others and make it worth buying as well? Well; first off, it is their first official concert video with the new rhythm section of Jay and Alex on drums and bass. Its their first ever show in Mexico City and the fans are energetic and grateful. Its their first video of a Knotfest performance and features all the associated spectacle and backdrops. It has songs from the .5 The Gray Chapter album, which obviously none of the previous videos will have had.

Comparing it to their other DVDs, there are 11 songs here that aren’t on Disaterpieces, including the rarely played ‘Metabolic’ off of Iowa, and ‘Me Inside’ & ‘Prosthetics’ off of the debut. There are 6 songs here that aren’t on (Sic)nesses at Download ’09. Compared to Voliminal‘s concert section, well, its a full length concert in a single location not just 9 random tracks from various locations, and none of it is in black & white.

So, onto ‘Gusano itself. (If you didn’t know already or bother to google that, its Spanish for ‘Maggots’ by the way, which makes sense, since y’know, they call their fans ‘Maggots’ and its filmed in Mexico). The audio visual quality of the release is really high. The picture quality, camera work, variety of shots, editing and general watching experience of the concert are the best that Slipknot have had to date. It is beautiful to look at, and there’s nothing distracting or interrupting about the editing. The performance visually has lots of pyro and fireworks and big backdrops and set pieces, fancy lighting. There’s generally lots going on up there on stage… its big and flashy and never boring.

The mix and production are very good. The only niggle is that Corey’s vocals are a bit lower in the mix than any previous live efforts from the band, but that’s real nitpicking. Otherwise, the instruments are really clear and well balanced, you can make the kick drum out clearly in all situations, and its even easier to hear Craig and Sid’s stuff than usual too which helps you notice them a bit better. If there’s a key riff or drum fill or whatever its given priority and generally its all beefy, heavy and just plain well put together.

The band themselves’ performance will always make or break a concert though. All the audio visual quality in the world, with the most expensive fireworks and lighting can’t hide a crappy performance. Slipknot have been through different phases in that regard. Old bootlegs off of the first album cycle show them as a sort of messy raw jumble. On Iowa they were a tight well-oiled million dollar perfect live-band (I remember seeing them live in Belfast on that cycle and its still one of my favourite ever concert experiences all these years later). On Volume 3 they flipped between the two but generally they were let down by Corey’s vocals (both times I saw them on that cycle and indeed both their 9.0 Live album and Voliminal DVD from that cycle all suffered from Corey’s vocals not being as great as usual). On All Hope‘ however, they came back blazing and were incredible and put in career defining performances and Corey sounded like one of the world’s greatest ever frontmen.

Luckily, here, the band are really on top form. This is a fiery, energetic, fun performance that everybody seems into. There are no complaints about the new line up and they do a great job of trying to fill some pretty massive, childhood-defining, shoes. (Heck, Jay arguably plays ‘Vermilion’ better live here than on any of the other three officially released versions of it). The veteran members are all super practiced, tight and precise. Corey is really strong here, arguably the second-best that he’s ever been on an official release next to Download ’09. (There are some minor questions about that on ‘Sarcastrophe’ and ‘Prosthetics’ maybe, which are a bit sketchy perhaps, but for the majority of it he really, really nails it). Its also nice to see him making an effort to speak Spanish which he does rather a lot and appears really humble and grateful.

The one bit where all Slipknot concerts drag is during ‘Spit It Out’ when the band get all the audience to squat down so they can all jump (the fuck) up at the same key moment. The actual process of cajoling them all to squat down can be a bit boring to watch or listen to if you aren’t actually there yourself sometimes, but luckily here it really doesn’t drag on too long and they payoff is great; the image of the gigantic Mexican crowd all bouncing in unison is really rather impressive.

So just to go through the list: It looks great. It sounds great. The band play great. The setlist is different enough from previous live releases to be worth it. That setlist itself is also pretty great, doing a good job of pleasing fans with the songs they’d expect to hear (Old fans could never see a set without ‘(sic)’ or ‘Surfacing’ and newer fans would never accept a set without ‘Duality’ and ‘Psychosocial’ for example) with pleasing them by spicing things up a bit and not just repeating themselves every time. On a personal note as well, its just so damn nice that they played ‘Metabolic’ live. I’ve been banging on for years about it and how its my favourite Slipknot song and they’ve finally put it out on something. I’m very pleased about that. Underrated song!

Anyway, that’s just personal preference. Everyone has their pros and cons to any setlist by any band. I’m sure some people are gutted ‘Sulfur’ and ‘Left Behind’ are missing considering they were big singles. I myself am kind of surprised ‘Skeptic’ is missing. With its catchy-ass chorus its absolutely built for big audience sing-alongs. I’d have thought that would be in every live set ever following Paul’s death, but I guess maybe its too personal for them lyrically or something like that.

Overall; this is a damn fine release from the band and not one to miss out on. Not even if you’ve already got a lot of live material by them already, as discussed at the beginning. Its probably their best video album on purely video terms, and its really worthy of inclusion in your collection in the other aspects like tracklisting and performance. If you are desperate to see the documentary, don’t get this version, but if you, like me, only really want the concert then this is the perfect version (at the lowest price).

GREEN JELLŸ Cereal Killer

Movie · 1992 · Alternative Metal
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Unitron
What would happen if Art Clokey, Jim Henson, and Gerry Anderson got together and created some films while on a sick acid trip?

Most likely, Cereal Killer would be created.

Green JellŸ, known as Green Jello at this time before they had to change the name, was probably one of the only bands to make a "video-music album". Yeah, you can go listen to the "Cereal Killer Soundtrack", but you really won't get the same experience. These songs don't really work unless you're watching the utterly ridiculous and zany videos along with them. The videos contain all sorts of use of claymation, puppetry, and weird costumes backed by a soundtrack blending thrash metal, hardcore punk, funk metal, classic heavy metal, and whatever else they wanted to make.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the lyrics are completely absurd along with the videos. You have their famous "Three Little Pigs", which is about a rocking pig, stoned pig, rich pig, and Rambo gunning down the big bad wolf. The title cut is about cereal mascots going to war, with the FruitLoops toucan slaughtering all the other mascots. Finally, the cover of Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K." is about the town of Bedrock from The Flintstones with the lyrics of 'Want to destroy Mr. Slate, Cause I wanna be Fred Flintstone'.

If you just want to hear some good music, there's always the soundtrack. However, if you want a good laugh at a party, invite your friends to come watch Cereal Killer. This is a hilarious metal musical for all to see.

Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

SLIPKNOT (IA) (sic)nesses

Movie · 2010 · Nu Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Most Slipknot fans won’t need very much convincing, a new live DVD has been released an you very probably plan t buy it, but for anyone on the fence about whether or not to get it, I highly recommend this package, on is own merits and not just out of blind dedication to the band.

‘(sic)nesses,’ is a pretty great package, documenting their 2009 headline performance at the UK’s Download Festival in front of 80,000 excited fans. Also included is a documentary (curiously on disc one, with the concert on disc 2) from Shaun ‘Clown,’ Crahan and all the music videos from the band’s ‘All Hope Is Gone,’ album cycle.

Performance wise, everything you expect to happen at a Slipknot concert is there, so don’t expect to be disappointed in that regard. One can expect to see people hanging off things, jumping off things and throwing things at regular intervals; in addition to a spinning in mid air drum kit, Different band members fretting the notes for the guitarists, different band members hitting a keg with a baseball bat, Clown and Criss’s strap-on marching drums during ‘The Blister Exists,’ and ‘Psycho Social,’ and of course Sid getting into the midst of everything, including the crowd whenever possible.

Without a doubt the entire concert is made on the strength of the crowds passionate reaction and that undefinable live energy that just makes the concert feel amazing. Seeing 80,000 plus people singing along to very heavy music is almost life affirming.

If you were dissapointed by the band’s live performances on their live album ‘9.0 Live,’ or the bonus live material from ‘Voliminal,’ specifically the mix, Corey’s vocals and the disjointed feeling caused from material being taken from various concerts and are unsure whether or not to buy ‘(sic)nesses,’ then I’d like to reassure you that it is of a much higher quality than the previously mentioned releases, the whole concert is much more impressive and intense, Corey’s vocal performance is noticeably stronger and the mix is a lot more suitable.

The audiovisual quality of the release is in absolutely no question, the tech crew behind it have done an absolutely sterling job recording, mixing, filming and editing it and the whole viewing experience is of as high a quality as you would expect from a band of Slipknot’s size, even considering that this was a festival performance which is where a lot of big bands release their weaker DVDs due to the reduced amount of control available. Put simply this DVD looks and sounds fantastic, better even than you’d expect.

The only negative things I have to say are mere nitpicking, such as a perceived shortage of material from the ‘Iowa,’ album and that the documentary is very much in the Shaun Crahan style (as seen on the main Voliminal film and the All Hope is Gone bonus DVD) which I don’t personally care for but of course, you could indeed love this style. These minor and circumstantial niggles do nothing to detract from the sheer quality of the release. It may sound cheesy, but ‘(sic)nesses,’ proves why people love Slipknot so much.

MUDVAYNE All Access to All Things

Movie · 2003 · Nu Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Mudvayne’s second concert DVD, All Access To All Things features performances from Metallica’s 2003 Summer Sanitarium tour; filmed across three shows at three locations, Seattle, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. The DVD features 50 minutes worth of live performances adding up to a total of ten songs as well as forty minutes of behind the scenes footage like interviews on the tour bus or in the dressing room as well as the making of their music video for ‘World So Cold,’ which is available as a bonus feature.

The performances are of a pretty great quality and the sound and visuals are of an acceptable standard. The two greatest faults are that the bass drum sound is rather poor, but this is to be expected at a big outdoor show and is made up for by the fact that the rest of the sound is very good. The other flaw is that on about three songs, the editing becomes distracting for about a minute or so when it is decided that a bunch of really quick cuts are necessary.

Apart from these two minor flaws, All Access to All Things is an enjoyable DVD worthy of a place in any Mudvayne fan’s collection. The performances are tight, the behind the scenes sections are relatively interesting, (but thankfully you are given the option to watch just the concert, which is great for repeat viewings) and the track listing is good. Matt, Greg and Ryan absolutely nail every second of the performance, playing both tightly and energetically, and Chad adds some brilliant improvised vocals at the end of ‘Nothing To Gein,’ and ‘World So Cold,’

Chad can really pull it off live, delivering the clean vocals really well and the heavier vocals almost as well with very few exceptions, chiefly on the faster songs from LD.50 where it would be impossible for anyone to sing that fast, that close together without losing their breath. On this DVD the band appear without the make up which was the trademark of their early career and are playing in daylight at big outdoor events across three different shows.

If this is not to your tastes, you may want to consider Mudvayne’s first concert DVD ‘Live In Peoria,’ which features the band wearing makeup, indoors in a smaller venue, at night and all from a single concert.

In summary; if you don’t mind that the live sections are not from one single concert and can forgive the bass drum sound, you will find a very enjoyable DVD that stands up even now.

FAITH NO MORE You Fat Bastards / Who Cares A Lot?

Movie · 2006 · Alternative Metal
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Stooge
The Brixton Academy show captures the band in 1990, just as they were beginning to explode in an “Epic” fashion. Supporting their 1989 release “The Real Thing”, the setlist contains all but “Surprise! You’re Dead!” and “The Morning After” from that album. Two tracks from the pre-Patton era are performed “As The Worm Turns” and “We Care A Lot”, both of which are a good fit with Patton’s voice. This concert is well shot, and the band performs great. It makes me wish for a more extended Faith No More show to be released in the future.

The other part of the package is mainly to showcase their promotional videos. Music video compilations aren’t normally my cup of tea, but at least they integrate some other things into the mix to keep it interesting. You get snippets of interviews, behind the scenes footage, and outtakes to bridge some of the music videos. The music videos span going all the way to the Chuck Mosely days through to Album of the Year, ranging in quality to low budget/amateur rank (“Everything’s Ruined”, the Mosely era ones) to great production values (“Stripsearch”). However, I believe there are some official videos missing from the collection (“Ricochet” comes to mind). I guess having “Greatest Videos” in the title covers their a$$es in that regard.

This is a great package for those new to Faith No More, and it has strong re-play value.

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