Heavy Alternative Rock

MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of progarchives.com

Heavy Alternative Rock, also known as Alternative Hard Rock, is a catch-all sub-genre used to encompass the various alternative rock artists that play heavy music that don't necessarily descend, at least directly, from the traditional hard rock spectrum. It notably includes grunge and post-grunge bands, both of which can be heavy but of a different heritage to traditional blues based hard rock acts, but it may also include actual hard rock acts and releases that borrow heavily from alternative rock to create a fusion sound. Some examples of this include Nickelback (hard rock/post-grunge), Dizzy Mizz Lizzy (hard rock/alternative rock) and Foo Fighters (hard rock/alternative rock/post-grunge), at least on some releases, such as Wasting Light (2011).

heavy alternative rock top albums

Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

THE SMASHING PUMPKINS Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness Album Cover Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness
4.53 | 17 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
PEARL JAM Ten Album Cover Ten
4.34 | 56 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
COHEED AND CAMBRIA The Afterman: Ascension Album Cover The Afterman: Ascension
4.52 | 11 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
COHEED AND CAMBRIA The Afterman: Descension Album Cover The Afterman: Descension
4.48 | 10 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
THE SMASHING PUMPKINS Siamese Dream Album Cover Siamese Dream
4.42 | 12 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
COHEED AND CAMBRIA Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness Album Cover Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness
4.16 | 43 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
SOUNDGARDEN Superunknown Album Cover Superunknown
4.11 | 67 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
PEARL JAM Vs. Album Cover Vs.
4.16 | 27 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
COHEED AND CAMBRIA Year of the Black Rainbow Album Cover Year of the Black Rainbow
4.12 | 19 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
NIRVANA Nevermind Album Cover Nevermind
4.01 | 61 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
FOO FIGHTERS There Is Nothing Left to Lose Album Cover There Is Nothing Left to Lose
4.16 | 12 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
FOO FIGHTERS Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace Album Cover Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
4.12 | 11 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy MMA!

heavy alternative rock online videos

heavy alternative rock New Releases

heavy alternative rock Music Reviews

JANE'S ADDICTION Nothing's Shocking

Album · 1988 · Heavy Alternative Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Usually credited for kicking off the alternative/grunge scene of the early 90's, Jane's Addiction unleashed their debut Nothing's Shocking with it's probably purposely shocking album cover in 1988. It has since influenced many artists inside and outside the alternative music world, and cemented itself as a hard rock classic of the late 80's, and for good reason.

While glam metal and grunge are often seen as polar opposites, Nothing's Shocking is an interesting blend of Guns 'n' Roses-esque glam with alternative rock and 70's hard rock/heavy metal elements that would help shape the grunge sound. Coupled with its massive arena production sound and quirky sense of humor, this cluster of contrasts create a unique record that has really never been copied, at least not successfully.

Most people who grew up listening to late 80's and 90's hard rock and heavy metal will probably know the slamming headbanger that is "Mountain Song". Opening with one of the most memorable intro basslines in rock, it's impossible to not want to stomp your feet to the crashing and massive riff that dominates the song. There's a ton of attitude here, with both Dave Navarro's pounding riffing and Perry Farrell's snide and nasally vocal performance. That sarcastic tone is contrasted with catchy melodic vocal hooks and guitar soloing that sounds right out of the 70's, as is the album's sound in general.

There's plenty of fantastic songs on here with the right amount of variety without straying away from the main sound. "Had a Dad" blends a killer groove that just punches you in the gut, with one of the soulful vocal melodies on the record. The experimental mini-epic "Ted, Just Admit It..." is an unsettling dirge that perfectly blends a wandering vibe reminiscent of 70's heavy psych and metal with the booming arena sound. The rhythm section of Eric Avery and Stephen Perkins really shines on the song, especially with the drums towards the end and the riffs that sound like Voivod playing funk.

My favorite on the album, as well as my favorite Jane's Addiction song has to go with the underrated deep cut of "Pigs in Zen". It really showcases all that's so great about the album in one song. The mixing of hard-edged guitar grit and soaring killer soloing, Farrell's sneer, deep bass, and the awesome 80's drum sound. Why not as many people talk about this song I will never know, what an excellent finale.

If you haven't heard this classic and love both arena rock and grunge, I highly recommend giving this album a listen. There's a little bit of filler, but nowhere near enough to take away from the abundance of high points. It's one of those legendary debuts like Boston's self-titled that the band could never top. It's a shame, but sometimes bands have one masterpiece within them, and for whatever reason can't come close to reaching the same greatness.


INCUBUS (CA) Morning View

Album · 2001 · Heavy Alternative Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
From time to time, you have that certain album that just defines you. Whether it’s from the standpoint of location, personal history, or correlation with friends, some music becomes an extension of our personalities and identity. And with this particular record, we’re talking about a piece of music that introduced me to an entirely new world (figuratively speaking). Not only is Morning View a beautiful throwback to my extensive history in California, but it was basically the impetus to alternative rock becoming one of my all-time favorite genres. This was a serious game-changer upon first listen, and every subsequent listen just revealed more manifold layers of meaning and technical prowess. Even today, it’s hard not to be impressed by how many levels Morning View entertains and impresses on.

But let’s backtrack for a second. Earlier on, I stated the album is “a beautiful throwback to my extensive history in California,” and that doesn’t just apply to my own history with the record. This applies to the sound as well. There’s a distinct vibe Morning View brings out, one of waves and sunny skies. Even in its most heavy and distorted moments (and there are several, as the album still warrants the “alternative metal” tag), a calm zen-like atmosphere still reigns supreme with this experience; it’s meditative and tends to ebb and flow like the aural representation of a quiet ocean. But that’s not a knock against the diversity that Incubus brings to the table… in fact, this might just be their strongest balance of soft and heavy elements to date. Whereas S.C.I.E.N.C.E. wore its eccentric influences on its sleeve (although in some incredibly cool ways) and Make Yourself still carried over some faint traces of the band’s nu-metal roots, Morning View just feels like a more centered and balanced piece of work. It’s often gorgeous, such as the pipa-driven ebbs and flows of the oriental ballad “Aqueous Transmission” or the delicate clean-guitar intro to the expansive power ballad “Just a Phase.” But these moments are almost always offset by the strident, heavy power chords that define many of the other numbers here. Opener “Nice to Know You” doesn’t take much time making itself known, storming the speakers with a crunchy Drop-D riff that really sets the mood for the album to come. “Circles” is even more intense, immediately diving into a groove that’s almost impossible not to headbang to - even in the most melodious moments of the piece. But when the fantastic power ballad “Wish You Were Here” comes in, we get a lot more perspective on the album’s strengths. Basically, it’s all a yin/yang thing. Both extremes are respectful of each other and don’t interfere with each others’ boundaries.

If anything, many of the heavy moments are used as building blocks on the quiet foundations, performing in a fashion not unlike a good deal of post-metal. There are certainly short bursts that come around, such as the metallic banger “Have You Ever,” but much of Morning View’s beauty lies in how the dynamics blend. It lies in how each volume level communicates with one other to get to the finish line, much like how instruments “talk” to one another in improvisational jazz music. Perhaps the reason this album was so resonant with me was because it taught me the importance of atmosphere and how it can be created. In both concept and execution, Morning View is a true cornerstone as far as combining atmosphere with songcraft goes. It simulates the crashing of the California waves and the serenity of an empty beach with its own interpretations, giving us powerful slabs of alternative metal with strong doses of melody and expansive arrangements. Even one of the tightest, funkiest songs on here, “Are You In,” compliments its catchy groove with a laid-back and peaceful vibe that fits the rest of the tracklist. And really, that’s what Morning View gives me every time I hear it: peace. Relaxation. Ease. It feels like a burden being lifted off the shoulders and into the ocean. It sounds like a spiritual and mental cleansing. And it plays like the best moments of one’s past returning in an overwhelming emotional release. This is musical rejuvenation.


Album · 1995 · Heavy Alternative Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
"Above" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Seattle, Washington based rock/hard rock act Mad Season. The album was released through Columbia Records in March 1995. Mad Season was formed by guitarist Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) and bassist John Baker Saunders, when the two met at a Minneapolis drug rehabilitation center in 1994. When the treatment was completed they returned to Seattle and formed The Gacy Bunch, with vocalist Layne Staley (Alice in Chains) and drummer Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees), which soon changed name to Mad Season. The group was rather short lived as a combination of Layne Staley´s serious drug issues and conflicting schedules made them disband in 1996. John Baker Saunders had a relapse with heroin and died of a drug overdose in January 1999 and Layne Staley died in April 2002. Also as a result of a drug overdose.

So Mad Season was definitely an act with their fair share of drug experiences, and it rubs off on the music which is a type of laid back psychadelic tinged rock/hard rock. It´s often so stoned and laid back that you can almost picture these guys playing in a heroin haze. Which of course isn´t true since it was only Layne Staley who had those issues while recording "Above". They occasionally play some more punchy hard rocking parts, but the album is predominantly more mellow and laid back. The use of instruments like cello, marimba, and vibraphone, in addition to the regular rock instrumentation of guitars, bass, and drums, further enhances the soft and mellow sound of the music. Mad Season have also opted to include saxophone on "Long Gone Day", which is a real treat, and fits in perfectly with the song´s atmosphere.

The 10 track, 55:36 minutes long album is an organic listen, featuring a pleasant sound production and blues and roots rock influences. The material is relatively well written, but not necessarily that catchy upon first listen. "Above" is definitely a grower, but it never really grows beyond being a good listen. For that there are too many sections where not enough happens, and you as a listener are left listening to a couple of guys who obviously enjoyed playing together, but don´t always manage to channel that joy of playing to their audience. That´s probably a harsh choice of words, but although a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved, I still feel the need to voice my opinion on some of the issues concerning "Above" and not just the good things.

COHEED AND CAMBRIA Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness

Album · 2005 · Heavy Alternative Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Looking back at many reviews, it seems like this album is mostly getting an okay rep, but I think this album deserves 5 stars. I don't say that often at all, and I will explain just what led me to my decision.

Initially, actually, I didn't think much of the album. With each listen though, the album grew on me. While I'm sure that this album will disappear amongst my music list in the next month or so, every listen since I tried it 2 weeks ago has bounced this album to its essential ranking.

After my first listen, I was happy to give the album 3 stars as it really didn't do anything for me. However, by the 2nd listen and the 3rd listen, I was noticing epics such as the 4-part "The Willing Well" and the energy-filled "Welcome Home."

Then, by my 4th and 5th listen I was really digging more and more songs from the album. Particularly, "Always and Never" held high replay value for me. It reminded me of a short preview to Steven Wilson's song "Pariah." They both just felt like they should've been longer, but they weren't so I found myself replaying them over and over!

My 5th listen was mostly for the lyrics. The story seems exaggerated but valuable, though I'm partial as to whether I should buy the parallel graphic novels.

Finally, my next few 6th, 7th, and 8th listens were just really fun. The album isn't all that technical and it is very poppy. They move through concepts quickly, and all-in-all it makes the album very fun to listen to when looking for something to bounce around to. Very worth trying out!


Single · 2017 · Heavy Alternative Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Thirteen years of baited breath and whispered rumors followed A Perfect Circle following their 2004 cover album eMOTIVe and subsequent hiatus. This effect followed both them and Tool, the other project featuring the frontman vocalist extraordinaire Maynard Keenan, as both bands of which fell into what seemed like an irreparable slumber filled with insubstantial announcements of various happenings, none of which came or seemed would come to fruition.

But Tool in fact came back with a bang with a surprise reunion tour in January of 2016, and it was only expected by the collective conscience of Keenan to give a fair shake to his sister band as well. As expected, a little over a year later APC also received recognition with not only a similar tour but one supporting the release of a new single (/rumored album) titled 'The Doomed'. Remember, this single is the first thing this legendary act has created in almost a decade and a half, so expectations are higher than an elephant's ear.

'The Doomed' has arrived at a perfect time, particularly for me, at a time when I am personally starved of new and enthralling uniqueness on the rock scene, let alone the hard rock/metal scene. It has got to be one of the most interesting songs released over the span of this entire year, and this is for a variety of reasons. First, for those who care to know, this song does in fact synthesize previously established sounds on other APC records, particular the past two. In other words Thirteenth Step and the good stuff from eMOTIVe, especially the original song from the latter, 'Passive'. This means great big burly drums (by new member Jeff Friedl replacing long-time member Josh Freese) that shift from simplistic beginner fills to war-like timbre that fills the stage heftily. This coincides perfectly with Keenan's vocal delivery- one of his absolute best in my opinion- which similarly shifts from scratchy and raw (akin to the Tool trademark) to almost saddened, quiet bridges. These bridges lament of a rapture-like event, as a "new Christ" comes to bless/doom those he deems worthy or not. The blessed are portrayed as undeserving (the fornicates, the rich, the envious, etc.) as they sit on the proverbial skeletons of the deserving doomed (the pious, the pure-of-heart, the peaceful). This lyrical environment is not only fresh but also almost bemusingly expressive. Although such greatness is unsurprising from such an act as A Perfect Circle, the content they deliver is straightforward yet thought-provoking, panicked yet collected, emotional yet headstrong. All in perfect harmony with eachother.

I'm not sure why I felt the need to write such a massive review for a single track, but a band that is so important to me and my past releasing such satisfying content is something I'm not willing to slip under my radar so easily. Fantastic.

heavy alternative rock movie reviews

No heavy alternative rock movie reviews posted yet.

Artists with Heavy Alternative Rock release(s)

heavy alternative rock Index

Member Zone

Stay signed in

Metal Subgenres

Artists Alpha-index


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
Buy this album from our partners
Dirt Alternative Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Rising Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Black Labyrinth Alternative Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Those Who Seek Electronicore
Buy this album from MMA partners
Braille Mathcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
Vuur van verzet Folk Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Àmr Progressive Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

Vulcan - Noname
adg211288· 13 hours ago
Vulcan - Lightning
adg211288· 14 hours ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Metal News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us

Buy Metal Music Online