-grunge is a derivative of Grunge
music that became popular in the late '90s. The genre is primarily marked by its use of the apathetic, droning vocals, downtuned guitars and Hard Rock
aesthetics commonly associated with Grunge, but also removing the unusual structures and prog-like
time signatures that Grunge artists such as The Melvins were also known for, then slowing it down
but not to the level of doom metal
. In other words, taking, running-with and exploiting the more commercially viable qualities of Grunge while watering down its oddity and offending harshness. Yeah, this genre doesn't go over well
with the underground music scene, and its large popularity is sometimes accused of causing Alternative Rock
to lose its experimental qualities. Not to mention the genre's existence has lead to numerous bands previously snatched up by major labels after Nirvana
's breakthrough being unceremoniously dumpednote
The genre has been known to use the rock-like compositions and structure often rejected by their predecessors in Grunge, modernized with introspective sombre, brooding lyrics of personal struggles and battling with one's demons (such as drug addiction or breakups). In this sense, the movement could be considered (ironically
) the Spiritual Successor
to Hair Metal
, whose pop beats and polished production brought heavy rock to a widespread audience (Post-grunge is also well known for its "soul-searching" ballads). Ironically, many post-grunge bands take more influence from Poison, Cinderella and Whitesnake
; post-grunge players generally think of the old grunge-greats as idols/heroes rather than influences, with more of an interest in stylistic emulation over artistic aspiration (the subtle difference between a direct or indirect influence from grunge can affect how well-received a post-grunge band is, both critically and to their audience). Post-Grunge tends to focus more on lyrical structure than music, often the opposite stance of early grunge artists
. Though the genre is rooted primarily in Alternative Rock
, make no mistake: Post-grunge was tailor-made for the mainstream, and is what helped Alternative become rooted as 'Mainstream' music. note
In essence, it took no influence from what Grunge was, but took every influence from what Grunge became: a commercial darling.
The rise of Post-grunge has gone to dominate and even embed itself in the standardly recognized sound of hard rock as most people can hear
, creating the assumption that Post-grunge is, along with Emo and Pop punk, the only form of modern rock. This has had the flip-side effect of some of the more straight-forward, contemporary rock groups note
being lumped in with post-grunge, despite having no or next-to no alternative qualities in their rocknote
. There is a bit of cross-over involved as well: Saliva, Shinedown, 3 Doors Down and Daughtry like to dabble in/pay tribute to "regular" hard rock when they can, adding to this confusion. If one isn't punk or extreme metal, it seems the only way to escape this is to play very
old-fashioned retro-rock, such as Garage Rock
revival, new Blues Rock
, traditional-metal revival
, retro-metal revival
, or modernized Power Pop
For better or worse, the genre's stylings have entered most current popular music to some degree, and it isn't showing any signs of slowing down. Also note that (repeat after me
) good Post-grunge does exist
, often with some of the most reviled bands having some of the best gems that tend to not make the radio. Try to avoid the particularly grating examples.
Bands typified as Post-grunge:
New Millennium style post-grunge
- 3 Doors Down
- 12 Stones
- Aranda (on their second album, "Stop the World")
- Art of Dying
- Audioslave (Which is Chris Cornell with Rage Against the Machine backing him.)
- The Calling
- Dark New Day (best known for their hit song "Brother;" featured members of Sevendust and Stereomud, and was significantly more grunge-influenced than their parent projects).
- Daughtry (widely recognized as one of the heaviest things to come out of American Idol)
- Matchbox 20
- Nickelback (probably the most hated example)
- Papa Roach (later work)
- Puddle of Mudd (although they have strong Alt Metal influences as well)
- Skillet (Which is also one of the most famous examples of Christian Rock)
- Tantric (with a heavier emphasis on acoustic guitars than most bands)
- Theory of a Deadman
Some post-grunge bands take more after Tool
and Alice in Chains
than Pearl Jam
, while some like to add a heavier edge to their sound as not to be lumped with their softer post-grunge contemporaries while maintaining their alternative status. Thus, the overlap with Alternative Metal
was inevitable. Note that all or most post-grunge bands fall under the Hard Rock
umbrella (a genre related to alt-metal and heavy metal
), but post-grunge bands with similarities to metal aren't necessarily an example of alt-metal. Given their similar pop-leanings, normally when a post-grunge band makes their sound heavier they become nu-metal
rather than pure alt-metal; achieving the sound of alt-metal requires a distinctly guitar-driven, alternative rock approach with less of the aggression and simplicity associated with nu-metalnote
. In other words, Papa Roach, who practiced more standard-fare nu-metal early in their career only to switch to post-grunge later, wouldn't be an example of post-grunge/alt-metal crossover. Post-grunge/alt-metal crossover bands melodically tend to follow more in line with classic grunge, Alternative Rock
and NWOBHM on the mid end of the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness
. They are generally more acclaimed than regular post-grunge. These include:
- 10 Years (along with Chevelle, the most Tool influenced of the lot)
- Adelitas Way
- All That Remains (began as straight Melodic Death Metal, evolved into Melodic Metalcore (Metalcore with heavy Melodeath influences) and started to display prominent post-grunge influences sometime around Overcome)
- Alter Bridge (made of Creed minus Scott Stapp... and they became better for it. Possibly the only post-grunge band in existence who overlaps with progressive rock and speed metal).
- Breaking Benjamin (one of the most beloved examples)
- Burn Halo
- Cavo (their song "Champagne" was a number one hit on rock radio in 2009).
- Chevelle (most obvious example of the Tool influence within Alt-metal/post-grunge)
- Cryoshell (Mixed with Symphonic Metal , and they have a definite Evanescence influence )
- Decyfer Down
- Drowning Pool (third album onward)
- Egypt Central
- The Exies
- Filter (crosses over with Industrial Metal)
- Finger Eleven (best known for the hits "One Thing" and "Paralyzer.")
- Flyleaf (a rare female-fronted example of such).
- Godsmack (most obvious example of the Alice in Chains influence within Alt-metal/post-grunge. Also arguably the heaviest example.)
- Halestorm (like Flyleaf, they have a female lead singer).
- Nonpoint (only on Development and Miracle)
- Onesidezero (another Tool influenced band, though their second of two albums lacks most of the post grunge, is more of an alternative metal / post hardcore mix with a hint of Thrash)
- Presence (last album only)
- Red (a Christian Rock example)
- Saliva (bordering on nu-metal for their early work)
- Sevendust (not always, but a lot of their more radio-friendly material leans towards this)
- Shinedown (varies by the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness for which genre they fit in more)
- Sixx:A.M. (a rock trio featuring Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx who recorded two albums to accompany his autobiographies; their sound is far removed from that of Sixx's former band)
- SOiL (not coincidentally, their original singer Ryan McCombs went on to join Drowning Pool and play on their third album, while Shaun Glass decided to rejoin Broken Hope when that band reformed in 2012)
- Staind (have had run-ins with the nu-metal label)
- Stone Sour (Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor occasionally lapses into this genre when singing melodically)
- Taproot (have had run-ins with the nu-metal label)
- Thousand Foot Krutch
- Three Days Grace (later work showcases their post-grunge side more)
- Trapt (as mentioned above about modern rock groups being labeled post-grunge, Trapt is probably one of the many victims of this)
- The Veer Union
Here's a way to pass the time
: count how many of these bands:
- Come from California, the southern US, or western Canada. There's a good reason for the last one: Nickelback is from Vancouver, and Chad Kroeger loves seeking out bands that sound similar to his own so he can sign them (in the hopes of "bringing back rock n' roll").
- Insist on being called straight-rock, Alternative Rock, or "real" grunge.
- Either have a vocal hatedom, or are (more charitably) viewed as middle-of-the-road, comfort-food rock.
- Have been called Christian Rock at some point. Bonus points if they actually did start out as a Christian rock band (Switchfoot is one example).
- Have a member with a Kurt Cobain-like shaggy hair cut and goatee combo.
- Chad Kroeger actually seemed to evolve into it. When Nickelback first came around, his hair was very long and he had a beard.
- John Foreman from Switchfoot also evolved into it due to pressure from record executives to look edgier. When the band started, Foreman had short, spiked hair with very little gruff. Foreman has had the same look since 2003.
- Sing like Eddie Vedder or (with some bands) Kurt Cobain. Or in light of this, claim their vocalizations were influenced by Jim Morrison.
- Have major radio success.
- You've heard a softer Signature Song of on the radio lately? (possibly an acoustic ballad)