'''Alternative metal''' is... what the hell is it, anyway?

OK, let's try this... you know AlternativeRock? Stuff like Music/{{REM}}, Music/{{Radiohead}} and Music/TheyMightBeGiants? Well, imagine alternative rock. Imagine all its weirdness, all its... "[[ShapedLikeItself alternativeness]]". Now, imagine that with the sonic amplitude of [[HeavyMetal metal]], and you've basically got alt-metal.

Alt-metal started off in the mid-to-late-eighties as a response to HairMetal, which was the commercial darling of MTV and had in many people's eyes reduced (non-underground) metal to a watered-down pop movement; consequently, alt-metal bands sought to bring back metal's original fire. There was no specific "scene" for alt-metal bands, and not even a specific sound, but they were all united by experimental flourishes and influences from other genres.

The genre became popular in the late eighties/early nineties (around the same time that alt-rock got its big break) thanks to a few bands that are considered the founding members of the genre; these bands included Music/FaithNoMore and Music/{{Primus}}. A couple of years later, Music/{{Tool}} took alt-metal [[DarkerAndEdgier and made it considerably darker]].

The genre is wide enough that bands will often have totally different sounds to each-other (compare Primus and Korn - do they sound the same?), which causes a fair bit of annoyance with people who like to categorise their bands. At the end of the day, though, alt-metal is a handy catch-all term for bands that are both ''arguably'' metal and hard to classify.

Depending on the band, alternative metal can either lean more towards alternative (Chevelle, Incubus, Primus, Three Days Grace, most of Seether, etc.), or more towards metal (Sevendust, Alice in Chains, Mudvayne, latter-day Alter Bridge, Godsmack, etc.). Because of this, much like NuMetal, it's better to discuss the "metalness" of alt-metal on a case-by-case basis.

See also NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly, a trope that many alt-metal bands possessed.

Bands typically classed as alt-metal include:

* [[Music/TenYears 10 Years]] (also falls under PostGrunge)
* Music/AliceInChains (Nominally {{Grunge}}[=/=]HeavyMetal. Definitely the most metal-influenced grunge band, to the point where numerous metalheads hate them being associated with grunge.)
* Alien Ant Farm (Their first album was definitely in this territory, but their later work shifted towards a more general AlternativeRock sound while still drawing from the genre. Also falls under AlternativeRock, NuMetal, PostGrunge and PopPunk).
* Music/AlterBridge (overlaps with PostGrunge and ProgressiveMetal, the latter moreso later)
* Music/{{Audioslave}}
* Music/AvengedSevenfold
* Music/{{Biohazard}} (fused with RapMetal, HardcorePunk, and ThrashMetal)
* Music/BreakingBenjamin
* Breed 77 (uniquely overlaps with Spanish flamenco music)
* Music/{{Candiria}}
* Music/{{Chevelle}} (easily the most straightforward example, as they pretty much are a straight hybrid of metal and radio-friendly alternative rock)
* Music/{{CKY}}
* Music/{{Clutch}} (mixed with StonerMetal, HardRock, FunkMetal, and far too many other genres to list)
* Music/{{Crush 40}} (also HardRock and HeavyMetal)
* Music/{{Cryoshell}} (With Symphonic Metal and Nu-Metal elements)
* Music/{{Danzig}} (mixed with HardRock and HeavyMetal)
* Music/{{Deftones}}
* Music/DemonHunter (also GrooveMetal and {{Metalcore}})
* Music/DirEnGrey (A rather extreme example)
* Music/{{Disturbed}} (although the first album was more on the NuMetal side of things)
* Music/DogFashionDisco
* Music/{{Dharmata}} ( GrooveMetal and {{Metalcore}} inspired guitars with AltMetal / NuMetal styled vocals)
* Music/{{Evanescence}} (also GothicMetal and AlternativeRock)
* Music/FairToMidland (overlaps with FolkMetal and ProgressiveMetal)
* Music/FaithNoMore (one of the few alt metal bands commonly enjoyed by true metalheads, along with Primus, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden; also count as FunkMetal)
* Music/FearFactory (mainly IndustrialMetal and GrooveMetal, but you can hear alt-metal elements like the melodies they use)
* Music/{{Fozzy}} (they also have strong traditional HeavyMetal influences)
* Music/TheGazette (also AlternativeRock, NuMetal and IndustrialMetal)
* Music/{{Helmet}} (bordering on NoiseRock)
* Music/{{Incubus}} (mainly their early material)
* Music/InFlames (later material fuses this with MelodicDeathMetal; music from 2011 onwards is largely straight alt-metal)
* Music/IllNino (fused with Latin and NuMetal music)
* Music/JanesAddiction
* Music/{{Katatonia}} (''Last Fair Deal Gone Down'' onward, fused with DoomMetal and GothicMetal)
* [[Music/KingsX King's X]] (also falls under HardRock and ProgressiveMetal)
* Music/{{L7}} (also Grunge and Riot Grrrl)
* Music/LacunaCoil (later)
* Music/LifeOfAgony
* Music/LivingColour (also FunkMetal)
* Music/MachinaeSupremacy (also PowerMetal)
* Music/MarilynManson (mainly IndustrialMetal)
* Music/{{Mastodon}} (recent material. mainly progressive/sludge metal.)
* Music/MaximumTheHormone
* Music/{{Melvins}}
* Music/MrBungle
* Music/{{Mudvayne}} (also ProgressiveMetal)
* Music/{{Mushroomhead}} (also IndustrialMetal)
* Music/NineInchNails (mainly IndustrialMetal)
* Music/{{Nonpoint}}
* Music/ThePrettyReckless
* Music/{{Primus}} (overlaps with FunkMetal and ProgressiveRock)
* Music/{{Quicksand}} (example of alt-metal post-hardcore fusion.)
* Music/{{Prong}} (also IndustrialMetal and ThrashMetal early on)
* Music/{{Red}} (They're like {{Chevelle}} [-[[RecycledInSpace EXCEPT CHRISTIAN]]-]!)
* Music/RageAgainstTheMachine (also NuMetal and FunkMetal)
* Music/RollinsBand (a band that never really had a clear genre. Also falls under HardRock, FunkMetal, {{Jazz}} and PostHardcore)
* Music/{{Seether}} (also PostGrunge)
* Music/{{Sepultura}} (later, fused with GrooveMetal)
* Music/{{Sevendust}}
* Music/{{Skindred}} (arguably the only band to fuse reggae with metal)
* Music/{{Slipknot}} (third album onward)
* Music/TheSmashingPumpkins (also influenced by {{Shoegazing}}, ProgressiveRock, PsychedelicRock, DreamPop, GothRock and AlternativeRock - basically, think Deftones but with more nasal vocals, and you'd be reasonably close.)
* Music/{{Soilwork}} (also MelodicDeathMetal)
* Music/{{Soulfly}} (early material, fused with NuMetal / GrooveMetal; later became ThrashMetal / DeathMetal)
* Music/{{Soundgarden}} (nominally {{Grunge}}, but heavy enough to fit here as well, like Alice in Chains)
* Music/SumoCyco
* Music/StoneSour (features Corey Taylor and (formerly) Jim Root of Slipknot; fused with PostGrunge)
* Music/SystemOfADown (Perhaps the most commercially successful and popular alternative metal band, or even one of the most successful metal bands period.)
* {{Music/Tomahawk}} (mainly on their second album.)
* [[Music/{{Therapy}} Therapy?]] (yes, the question mark is part of the name)
* Music/ThousandFootKrutch (also NuMetal, and RapMetal on the first album)
* Music/ThreeDaysGrace (Also counts as PostGrunge)
* Music/{{Tool}} (Also ProgressiveMetal)
* Music/TypeONegative
* [[Music/RobZombie White Zombie]]
* Music/WarriorSoul

!!Tropes that apply to the alternative metal genre:

* [[GatewaySeries Gateway Music]] - If you're a metalhead, and you're close to graduating college, you either got into metal through this or NuMetal. More likely the latter, but the trope still applies to alt-metal.
* HeavyMetal
* MohsScaleOfRockAndMetalHardness - Usually most bands under alt-metal tend to be in the 5-7 range, with a few bands getting up to 8. Due to its eclectic nature however, songs can be literally anywhere on the scale, for instance Music/DirEnGrey and Slipknot are both capable of surpassing an 8.
* MorePopularSpinoff - Nu-metal was this to the original alt-metal movement for a period.
* NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly - Demonstrated by many bands in the subgenre, whether prominently (Faith No More, Primus) or subtly (Living Colour, Deftones).
* PostGrunge - More or less half PostGrunge bands are either also this or experiment with it. It goes far enough that the two are often falsely equated with each other.
* TropeMaker - Generally considered to be FaithNoMore.
* UrExample - Possibly Mother's Finest.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen - NuMetal is perceived as being more commercial than Alternative Metal, and the current lack of commercial interest in NuMetal has kept Alternative Metal from reaching or even eclipsing the popularity NuMetal once had.