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Post-Grunge
aka: Post-Grunge
Primary Stylistic Influences:
Secondary Stylistic Influences:

Post-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/Punk 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. Its popularity has occasionally caused it to receive blame for Alternative Rock to becoming more banal, and losing 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 brooding lyrics. 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 than Nirvana; 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 largely having 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. It seems the only way to escape this is to play very old-fashioned retro-rock, such as Garage Rock revival, new Blues Rock, neo-psychedelia, traditional-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. Try to avoid the particularly grating examples.


Bands typified as Post-grunge:

First-wave Post-grunge:

New Millennium style post-grunge:
  • 3 Doors Down
  • 12 Stones
  • Aranda (on their second album, "Stop the World")
  • Art of Dying
  • The Calling
  • Cavo (their song "Champagne" was a number one hit on rock radio in 2009).
  • Cold
  • Crossfade
  • 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)
  • Decyfer Down
  • Default
  • Finger Eleven (best known for the hits "One Thing" and "Paralyzer.")
  • Fuel
  • Hoobastank
  • Lifehouse
  • Matchbox 20
  • Nickelback (probably the most hated example)
  • Papa Roach (later work)
  • Puddle of Mudd (although they have strong Alt Metal influences as well)
  • Red
  • Saliva (bordering on nu-metal for their early work)
  • Seether
  • Sixx:A.M. (a rock trio featuring Nikki Sixx; their sound is far removed from that of Sixx's former band)
  • Skillet (Which is also one of the most famous examples of Christian Rock)
  • Stereomud
  • Tantric (with a heavier emphasis on acoustic guitars than most bands)
  • Theory of a Deadman
  • The Veer Union

Post-grunge/Alt-metal crossover:

Some post-grunge bands take more after Tool and Alice in Chains than Pearl Jam or Nirvana, 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, rap elements and simplicity associated with nu-metalnote . In other words, bands like 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 much more acclaimed and respected than regular post-grunge. These include:

  • 10 Years (along with Chevelle, the most Tool influenced of the lot)
  • Adelitas Way
  • Alter Bridge (made of Creed minus Scott Stapp. Possibly the only post-grunge band in existence who overlaps with progressive rock and speed metal).
  • Audioslave (Which is Chris Cornell with Rage Against the Machine backing him.)
  • Breaking Benjamin
  • Burn Halo
  • 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 )
  • Drowning Pool (third album onward)
  • The Exies
  • Filter (crosses over with Industrial Metal)
  • Flyleaf (a rare female-fronted example of such).
  • Godsmack (most obvious example of the Alice in Chains influence within Alt-metal/post-grunge)
  • Halestorm (like Flyleaf, they have a female lead singer).
  • Onesidezero (another Tool influenced band)
  • 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)
  • SOiL (not coincidentally, their original singer Ryan McCombs went on to join Drowning Pool and play on their third album)
  • 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 (as of War of Change, earlier work is Nu Metal)
  • Three Days Grace (later work showcases their post-grunge/alternative side more)
  • Trapt (as mentioned above about modern rock groups being labeled post-grunge, Trapt is probably one of the many victims of this)


Here's a way to pass the time: count how many of these bands:


GrungeAlternative RockGarage Rock
Alternative RockChristian MetalSkillet
Evil Versus EvilTurn of the MillenniumReality TV
MudvayneNu MetalPapa Roach

alternative title(s): Post-Grunge
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