Heavy Alternative Rock

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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).

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THE SMASHING PUMPKINS Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness Album Cover Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness
THE SMASHING PUMPKINS
4.52 | 30 ratings
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PEARL JAM Ten Album Cover Ten
PEARL JAM
4.27 | 76 ratings
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PEARL JAM Vs. Album Cover Vs.
PEARL JAM
4.19 | 41 ratings
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SOUNDGARDEN Superunknown Album Cover Superunknown
SOUNDGARDEN
4.12 | 87 ratings
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THE SMASHING PUMPKINS Siamese Dream Album Cover Siamese Dream
THE SMASHING PUMPKINS
4.26 | 22 ratings
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NIRVANA Nevermind Album Cover Nevermind
NIRVANA
4.05 | 87 ratings
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INCUBUS (CA) Morning View Album Cover Morning View
INCUBUS (CA)
4.32 | 11 ratings
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SOUNDGARDEN Badmotorfinger Album Cover Badmotorfinger
SOUNDGARDEN
4.00 | 79 ratings
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FOO FIGHTERS There Is Nothing Left to Lose Album Cover There Is Nothing Left to Lose
FOO FIGHTERS
4.12 | 19 ratings
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STONE TEMPLE PILOTS Purple Album Cover Purple
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS
4.12 | 19 ratings
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FOO FIGHTERS Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace Album Cover Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
FOO FIGHTERS
4.10 | 16 ratings
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INCUBUS (CA) Make Yourself Album Cover Make Yourself
INCUBUS (CA)
4.21 | 10 ratings
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heavy alternative rock Music Reviews

NICKELBACK No Fixed Address

Album · 2014 · Heavy Alternative Rock
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martindavey87
Nickelback fan here! Hi everyone! I love this band. I don’t care if they’re soppy, radio-friendly pop stars, or hard rockin’ heroes, these guys know how to write catchy, memorable songs, that are easy to get into, and are great to sing along to, or great to just flat out bang your head to. For all the hate they get, I think the Canadian quartet are massively underrated as songwriters.

But yeah, this album, ‘No Fixed Address’, isn’t very good.

They’ve stuck to their formula, with some songs massively overproduced to give them a huge sound, and plenty of melodic soppiness cater-made for pop fans, but I just really can’t get into these tracks. Sorry guys. I’m still a fan. As always, praise to Chad Kroeger’s vocals, which are always a joy to listen to (I for one, think he’s a fantastic vocalist), but overall, the songs are just pretty dull and uninteresting.

This album does have its moments though, with two absolute bangers in particular. ‘A Million Miles Away‘ is a huge, upbeat and energetic track that starts the album with some promise, but the true gem is the cheesy but infectiously fun ‘She Keeps Me Up’ (bet you weren’t expecting that, were you?). As goofy and mainstream-friendly as they can get, this song is genuinely fun to listen to, incredibly catchy and full of positive energy. Honestly, I love it!

But sadly, that’s as far as it goes with this record. I love Nickelback, and I know they still have plenty of hits left in them, but for no viable reason other than “I can’t get into it”, I just can’t get into it.

VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTE ALBUMS) Superunknown (Redux)

Album · 2023 · Heavy Alternative Rock
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UMUR
"Superunknown (Redux)" is a various artists tribute album released through Magnetic Eye Records in July 2023. It´s a tribute to Soundgarden´s fourth full-length studio album "Superunknown" (March 1994, A&M Records) and it features all fifteen tracks from the original album covered by different artists. The tracklist order is the same as on the original album, but most of the artists manage to put their own spin on the songs, which makes "Superunknown (Redux)" an album worth your time. There´s nothing less interesting than listening to covers which are 100% true to the originals.

Ufomammut opens with a heavy and psychedelic stoner rock/metal cover of "Let Me Drown", and it´s such a cool and different interpretation of that track. High Priest´s cover of "My Wave" is great too and the dusty low-key recording of "Fell on Black Days" by Marissa Nadler is also a good quality cover. Unfortunately Somnuri falls into the catagory of artists who have created a cover of "Mailman" which is too close to the original. The same can be said about Valley of The Sun´s cover of "Superunknown". It´s competently performed and well produced, but it´s not particularly different from the original.

Next up is Frayle covering "Head Down", and that´s a great female led doom metal version of that track. It´s nicely dark, heavy, and creepy. To my ears it´s one of the highlights of the album and it´s a great example of a band making a cover their own. So how does Spotlights fare covering the most famous and iconic track from "Superunknown"? Well... "Black Hole Sun" is thankfully covered in a both respectful but also heavier and different version from the original. The cover is almost 7 minutes long, so Spotlights have also added some parts to the original track (basically just an outro guitar solo, but it´s still pretty great), which was only 5 minutes long.

"Spoonman" is covered by Horseburner and it´s different enough from the original to matter (it´s actually one of the better covers on the album). It´s harder edged and heavier and thankfully featuring a vocalist who doesn´t try to sound like Chris Cornell. I like the harmony guitar part around the 3 minutes mark and the blistering lead guitar work throughout the track. Oregon based doom/stoner rock/metal act Witch Mountain covers "Limo Wreck", and it´s another great female led cover track. Heavy, organic, and delivered with great vocal attitude by Kayla Dixon. It seems Soundgarden´s songs lend themselves well to female vocals. Beastwars covers "The Day I Tried To Live" and it´s one of the few covers on the album, which my ears don´t agree much with. The original version of "Kickstand" is a short, fast, and energetic rocker, but Jack Harlon and The Dead Crows have chosen to make the song much slower, more heavy, and four times as long. The heavy psychedelic cover version is quite different from the original, which is a plus in my book, but unfortunately it´s not a particularly great cover.

"Fresh Tendrils" is covered by The Age of Truth and it´s a decent if not great cover. "4th Of July" is one of the standout tracks on the original album, because of its heavy and bleak nature, so I was interested to hear what Marh Ursellis Steppendoom could do what it. As it turns out this cover is slightly less heavy (although definitely still pretty heavy), and a little more atmospheric and eerie sounding than the original. This cover has character and I respect Marh Ursellis Steppendoom´s decision to try and give the song a twist. "Half" was always one of the least remarkable tracks on "Superunknown", but Dozer at least try to make it more interesting and succeed in doing so. I´ll go as far as to say that this cover is almost more interesting than the original. Darkher closes the album with their cover of "Like Suicide", and it´s arguably one of the highlights of "Superunknown (Redux)". Again it´s a female led cover and it´s quite different from the original. It´s sombre, atmospheric, melancholic, and the instrumentation is different from the instrumentation on the original too.

So upon conclusion about half of the covers on the album are either great or even brilliant, and the other half are at least decent (some are even great but a bit too close in sound to the originals), so "Superunknown (Redux)" is overall a good quality release and it´s definitely worth a purchase for fans of Soundgarden. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS Core

Album · 1992 · Heavy Alternative Rock
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UMUR
"Core" is the debut full-length studio album by US, California based hard rock act Stone Temple Pilots. The album was released through Atlantic Records in September 1992. Stone Temple Pilots were formed in 1985 by lead vocalist Scott Weiland and bassist Robert DeLeo under the Swing monicker (they later recruited drummer Eric Kretz), but changed their name to Mighty Joe Young (after Robert´s older brother guitarist Dean DeLeo joined in 1989 and suggested a name change). The band recorded a demo under the Mighty Joe Young monicker and made a name for themselves on the San Diego club scene using that name, and Atlantic Records eventually took notice and signed the band. While in the studio with producer Brendan O´Brien recording the material for "Core", the band were told that a blues band existed using the Mighty Joe Young name, and the band were therefore forced to another name change. They settled for Stone Temple Pilots.

Stone Temple Pilots are often lumped in with the contemporary Seattle scene and artists like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains (and were often criticized for it by the contemporary music press), and while there is certainly some truth (ok, a lot of truth) to that Stone Temple Pilots were not a worsphipping clone act. They had a enough original musical elements to stand out and it´s predominantly the voice and singing style of Weiland which point toward Seattle (and especially Alice in Chains lead vocalist Layne Staley). The songwriting is also top notch and "Core" features many standout tracks and it´s through and through a high quality hard rock release.

Radio/music video hits like "Plush" and "Sex Type Thing" are among the best known tracks off the album, but there´s not a single sub par track on the album and I could just as well have mentioned tracks like "Dead & Bloated" or the 8:25 minutes long "Where The River Goes" (which are the two tracks bookending the album), or the hard rocking and faster-paced "Crackermann" as some of the highlights. Stone Temple Pilots can also do melancholic ballads which they prove with "Creep", but their greatest success is actually the tracklist flow. Even the two shorter interlude tracks "No Memory" and "Wet My Bed" serve a breather purpose and work well in transitioning the album to the next phase.

"Core" features a professional, powerful, and detailed sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. The performances are also strong on all posts. hard rocking and sometimes pretty heavy guitar work, organic and powerful drumming (and some pretty nice percussion too), clever bass lines, and the strong voice and passionate delivery by Weiland in front. This does not sound like a debut release at all. There are no odd experimental tracks (save for "Wet My Bed", but that one fits the concept and atmosphere of the album), inconsistent songwriting, or unpolished musical ideas, which don´t fit in. This is an album which works from start to finish and a 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

SOUNDGARDEN Badmotorfinger

Album · 1991 · Heavy Alternative Rock
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UMUR
"Badmotorfinger" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US hard/heavy rock act Soundgarden. The album was released through A&M Records in September 1991. It´s the successor to "Louder than Love" from 1989 and there´s been one lineup change since the predecessor as bassist Hiro Yamamoto left Soundgarden shortly after the completion of the recording of "Louder than Love (1989)", and was replaced by Jason Everman (who came from a short stint playing guitar with Nirvana). Everman toured with Soundgarden in support of "Louder than Love (1989)", but left the band immediately after the touring cycle ended. Ben Shepherd replaced him joining Soundgarden in April 1990 in time to be an integral part of the songwriting and subsequent recording of "Badmotorfinger".

Stylistically "Badmotorfinger" continues the heavy/alternative rock sound of "Louder than Love (1989)". Heavy riffs and rhythms, an almost psychadelic and pretty different sounding lead guitar style (often close to dissonant), and Chris Cornell´s strong and distinct sounding voice and commanding delivery in front. He was at the top of his game on "Badmotorfinger", singing and screaming his lungs out. Some of the screams he performs on the album are otherworldly.

The material on the 12 track, 57:47 minutes long album are predominantly mid-paced and heavy, but album single and opener "Rusty Cage" stands out with its faster pace. Along with the two other album singles "Jesus Christ Pose" and "Outshined", "Rusty Cage" are also one of the standout tracks on the album. Because of its strong melody I´d also mention "Holy Water" among the highlights. The remaining tracks are generally well written, powerful, and memorable too, but there are a couple of tracks featured on the album which never stuck in my mind.

"Badmotorfinger" features an organic, powerful, and detailed sound production, which suits the material well, and add to that the high level musical performances and the predomintly strong and memorable songwriting and "Badmotorfinger" is a high quality release and a great follow-up to "Louder than Love (1989)", which helped push the band further towards the commercial success they would soon experience. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

BUCKETHEAD Pike 307 - Mercury Break

Album · 2022 · Heavy Alternative Rock
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siLLy puPPy
Although BUCKETHEAD has slowed down in recent years, he still cranks out more releases than many other artists out there. While hundreds were released back in 2015 now in 2022 the chicken lover is only on his fifth album in 2022 which is titled PIKE 307 - MERCURY BREAK.

Like all PIKEs, this one is all instrumental and a one-chicken show. This one is short as it only clocks in over 27 minutes. This one features only two tracks, the 23-minute plus title track and the tiny-in-comparison “Echoing Unicorn.” Ah, i love it when unicorns echo echo echooooo.

For the majority of these PIKEs the chicken lover hovers between angsty alternative metal and a softer form of heavy alternative rock of course those are hardly the only genres he covers but the vast majority fall into either of these. This one is more on the heavy rock side of things.

The cool sounding title track is a nice break from some of the monotony of recent PIKEs. Yeah this one has the same repetitive guitar riffs and accompanying bass and drums but the atmosphere and production is a bit airy with even a bit of processed vocals in the mix.

The guitar tones are pretty cool and some synthesized sound effects are just what the doctor ordered to keep this from being too repetitive. Even the drumming is a bit more complex than the usual canned drumbeat. It actually sounds as if a live being is pecking away on percussion.

Yeah, perhaps the title track is longer than i needs to be with the same receptive riffs chugging along after each breakdown but it is more interesting than normal with some nice processed guitars, a few time signature and tempo deviations and overall atmospheres. Decent.

“Echoing Unicorns” insinuates a psychedelic space rock with trippy reverb and fantasy fueled freakiness but is in fact another one of those heavy alt rock guitar riffing sessions in the vein of the title track with processed talk box vocals in tandem with the guitar. The sound effects are pretty cool but not OMG so. Unlike the title track, this one is the perfect playing length.


Overall this PIKE is a nice subtle shift from previous ones. BH has been ramping up the production values and this one has some interesting atmospheres and cool sound effects. Now he needs to work on more interesting compositions overall. It’s still just repetitive riffs on overdrive. This is a decent PIKE but it’s been a while since i’ve been blown away.

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