Primary Stylistic Influences (70s Punk):
+ AlternativeRock, PostPunk, HeavyMetal
Secondary Stylistic Influences (70s Punk):
+ {{Grunge}}, HardRock, ThrashMetal, various subgenres of AlternativeRock

'''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.

Today it is, alongside {{Metalcore}}, the most commercially profitable form of metal, and certainly the type that gets the most airplay on rock radio.

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/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/APerfectCircle
* Music/{{Audioslave}} (Also FunkMetal)
* Music/AvengedSevenfold
* ''Biohazard'' (Fused with RapMetal, HardcorePunk, and ThrashMetal)
* Music/BreakingBenjamin (Also PostGrunge)
* ''Breed 77'' (Uniquely overlaps with Spanish flamenco music)
* Music/BringMeTheHorizon (''That's the Spirit'' onward. Overlaps with NuMetal, Electronic Rock, PopPunk, and EmoMusic. This saw them ditching their signature {{Metalcore}} sound)
* Music/{{Candiria}}
* Music/{{Chevelle}}
* Music/{{CKY}}
* Music/{{Clutch}} (Mixed with [[DoomMetal Stoner Metal,]] HardRock, FunkMetal, and far too many other genres to list)
* Music/Crush40 (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}})
* ''Dharmata'' (GrooveMetal and {{Metalcore}} inspired guitars with AlternativeMetal / NuMetal styled vocals)
* Music/{{Diaura}} (also {{Metalcore}} and HardRock)
* Music/DirEnGrey (A rather extreme example)
* Music/{{Disturbed}} (although the first album was more on the NuMetal side of things)
* ''Djerv'' (With strong BlackMetal influences)
* Music/DogFashionDisco
* Music/{{Evanescence}} (also GothicMetal, NuMetal, and AlternativeRock)
** ''Music/{{Fallen}}'' (2003)
* Music/FairToMidland (overlaps with FolkMetal and ProgressiveMetal)
* Music/FaithNoMore (one of the few alt metal bands commonly enjoyed by metal purists, 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/{{Filter}}
* Music/{{Flyleaf}}
* Music/{{Fozzy}} (they also have strong traditional HeavyMetal influences)
* Music/FromAshesToNew (overlaps with NuMetal and RapMetal, a rather rare 2010s example those genres)
* Music/FuManchu (also [[DoomMetal Stoner Metal]])
* Music/TheGazette (also AlternativeRock, NuMetal and IndustrialMetal)
* Music/{{Godsmack}} (early work was also NuMetal; later work is also HardRock)
* Music/GuanoApes (overlaps with NuMetal and a [[NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly slew of other genres]]. Fourth album was more HardRock, fifth album however was pop rock)
* Music/{{Helmet}} (bordering on NoiseRock)
* Music/{{Incubus}} (mainly their early material)
* Music/IllNino (fused with Latin and NuMetal music)
* Music/InFlames (later material fuses this with MelodicDeathMetal; music from 2011 onwards is largely straight alt-metal)
* Music/InThisMoment (combined with {{Metalcore}}, GothicMetal, ElectronicMusic, IndustrialMetal, and NuMetal)
* Music/JackOffJill (also associated with IndustrialMetal due to their involvement with and production help from Music/MarilynManson and [[Music/NineInchNails Chris Vrenna]])
* Music/JanesAddiction
* Music/{{Katatonia}} (''Last Fair Deal Gone Down'' onward, fused with DoomMetal and GothicMetal)
* ''King's X'' (Also falls under HardRock and ProgressiveMetal)
* Music/{{Korn}} (Invented NuMetal with their interpretation of alternative metal)
** ''Music/KornAlbum'' (1994)
* Music/{{Kutless}}
* Music/{{Kyuss}} (also [[DoomMetal Stoner Metal]])
* Music/{{L7}} (also {{Grunge}} and RiotGrrrl)
* Music/LacunaCoil (later; also GothicMetal)
* Music/LinkinPark (mainly their first two albums, overlapping with NuMetal and RapMetal, though this shows up occasionally in their later material, with ''The Hunting Party'' being a full-fledged example of the genre)
** 2000 - ''Music/HybridTheory''
** 2003 - ''Music/{{Meteora}}''
** 2007 - ''Music/MinutesToMidnight''
* Music/LivingColour (also FunkMetal)
* Music/MachinaeSupremacy (also PowerMetal)
* Music/MarilynManson (mainly IndustrialMetal)
* Music/{{Mastodon}} (recent material. mainly ProgressiveMetal and [[DoomMetal Sludge Metal]])
* Music/MaximumTheHormone
* Music/{{Melvins}} (also {{Grunge}} and [[DoomMetal Sludge Metal]])
* Music/MrBungle
* Music/MonsterMagnet {also [[DoomMetal Stoner Metal]])
* Music/{{Mudvayne}} (also NuMetal in their earlier material, before combining this with ProgressiveMetal)
* Music/{{Mushroomhead}} (also IndustrialMetal)
* Music/NineInchNails (mainly IndustrialMetal)
* Music/{{Nonpoint}}
* Music/PapaRoach (''Infest'' and ''Lovehatetragedy'' overlaps this with NuMetal and RapMetal. ''Getting Away with Murder'' onward overlaps this with HardRock, though later material re-introduced those old elements)
* Music/ThePrettyReckless
* Music/{{Primus}} (overlaps with FunkMetal and ProgressiveRock)
* ''Prong'' (Also IndustrialMetal and ThrashMetal early on)
* Music/QueensOfTheStoneAge (also HardRock and [[DoomMetal Stoner Metal]] in places)
** 2002 - ''Music/QueensOfTheStoneAge''
* ''Quicksand'' (Example of AlternativeMetal PostHardcore fusion)
* Music/{{Red}} (mixed with PostGrunge and SymphonicMetal)
* Music/RageAgainstTheMachine (also RapMetal and FunkMetal)
* [[Music/RobZombie White Zombie]] (also IndustrialMetal)
** Rob Zombie's solo work counts as well.
* ''Rollins Band'' (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/{{Shinedown}} (overlapping with straight-up HardRock)
* 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/{{Soil}}
* 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/{{Staind}} (combined with PostGrunge, also NuMetal on their earlier albums; though they later returned to that style in their latest album)
* Music/StoneSour (features Corey Taylor and (formerly) Jim Root of Slipknot; fused with PostGrunge)
* Music/SumoCyco
* Music/SystemOfADown (Perhaps the most commercially successful and popular alternative metal band, or even one of the most successful metal bands period.)
** 2001 - ''Music/{{Toxicity}}''
** 2005 - ''Music/MezmerizeHypnotize''
* ''Taproot'' (Started as a NuMetal band, later became this)
* {{Music/Tomahawk}} (mainly on their second album.)
* ''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/{{Trivium}} (later material features elements of this. They became a full-fledged example with ''Silence in the Snow'')
* Music/TypeONegative (also GothicMetal and DoomMetal)
* Music/{{Voivod}} (sometimes, mostly on ''Angel Rat'' and ''The Outer Limits'', occasionally on their 2000s albums; generally ProgressiveMetal and ThrashMetal)

!!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.
* {{Hatedom}}: It's not as polarizing as its [[NuMetal offshoot]], but it's still often rejected by metal purists. For example, you won't find most of the bands listed above on the Metal Archives.
* HeavyMetal: It's this mixed with AlternativeRock.
* 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.
* TropeMakers - Generally considered to be Music/FaithNoMore.
* UrExample - Possibly Mother's Finest.