13 Amazing Bands Similar To Alice In Chains

Written by Dan Farrant

The American rock band, Alice In Chains, came together in 1987 in Seattle, Washington. They became popular for their distinctive style, blending grunge, heavy metal, and alternative metal.

The late ’80s and the early ’90s witnessed the band’s rise to fame. Between their formation and as of this writing, the band has released six studio albums. Some of the most notable include Facelift, Dirt, and Black Gives Way to Blue. These contributed to the band’s reputation as a powerhouse of rock and alternative metal.

If you’re a fan of Alice In Chains and want to check out other similar bands, then you’re in the right place. Today, we have compiled a list of 13 amazing bands similar to Alice In Chains that possess the same magnetic energy and musical prowess. Let’s jump in.

Alice In Chains by aliina s. (CC BY 2.0)

1. Soundgarden

Like Alice In Chains, Soundgarden was formed in the 1980s in Seattle, Washington, and categorized under the umbrella of grunge. This categorization is likely due to their shared origin, as Seattle is the birthplace of grunge. Both bands rose to prominence during the grunge movement.

With a slew of successful albums under their belt, such as Superunknown and Louder Than Love, Soundgarden solidified themselves as true icons within the genre. Their sound featured Matt Cameron’s powerful drumming combined with Kim Thayil’s innovative guitar riffs, creating an unmistakable style that Soundgarden would become known for.

The band experienced a few lineup changes over time. But the introduction of new talents further shaped their musical legacy, which continues to influence bands today – including those who admire Alice In Chains.

2. Stone Temple Pilots

Another notable rock band in the grunge genre is Stone Temple Pilots (STP), which hailed from San Diego, California.

STP’s rise to fame began in the early 1990s when they released their commercially successful debut album, Core. Since then, they sold more than 18 million albums in the US and 40 million worldwide.

Consisting of lead singer Scott Weiland and brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo, STP is often compared to other influential grunge bands such as Alice In Chains.

No question there, as both bands had an instrumental role in defining the grunge movement. Their music is characterized by a combination of heavy metal, punk, and alternative rock. In addition, their lyrics feature dark themes that reflect their angst.

Both bands have left their mark on the music industry. STP, in particular, is still influential to contemporary rock bands, and their music still resonates with fans worldwide.

3. Pearl Jam

Considered “the most popular American rock and roll band of the ’90s,” Pearl Jam emerged as one of the most influential bands during the grunge era. Along with Alice In Chains, both bands originated and thrived in Seattle’s music scene.

While sharing similar roots with Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam established a unique musical identity that leaned more toward alternative rock rather than metal. Their debut album Ten, immediately resonated with fans due to its raw sound and emotional lyrics about life struggles.

Pearl Jam would eventually become of the most influential and best-selling bands ever. As of 2018, they sold more than 85 million albums worldwide. They were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

4. Nirvana

Without a doubt, Nirvana is one of the most iconic names in rock music history, especially when it comes to grunge. Their unique sound and style set them apart from other bands during their time, and they influenced countless artists after them.

Led by frontman Kurt Cobain, the band’s influence can be heard in many modern acts that followed. It’s no surprise then to see Nirvana included as part of the “big four” grunge bands alongside Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam.

In comparison to Alice In Chains, both bands were influential in the grunge movement of the ’80s and ’90s. Their music is notable for heavy guitar riffs and raw vocals. Thematically, their lyrics often deal with dark themes such as disillusionment and personal struggles.

5. Screaming Trees

Formed in Ellensburg, Washington, the rock band Screaming Trees was prominent in the 1990s grunge scene. The band had a similar sound to Alice In Chains, characterized by heavy guitar riffs and angst-filled lyrics.

Although Sweet Oblivion and Dust albums were commercial successes, Screaming Trees never reached the same level of success as some of their contemporaries did. Nevertheless, they were still recognized for being an essential piece to Seattle’s grunge scene.

Some of the band’s most notable singles include “Bed of Roses” and “Nearly Lost You.” Screaming Trees officially disbanded in 2000. But they will always be known for their music, which incorporated hard rock and psychedelic elements.

6. Mad Season

The supergroup Mad Season was formed by members of some of the biggest bands in Seattle’s grunge music scene. Along with Alice In Chains guitarist Layne Staley, and Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, the band included drummer Barrett Martin from Screaming Trees and bassist John Baker Saunders.

Mad Season’s music is often compared to that of Alice In Chains because both bands feature dark and haunting vocals. That’s owing to the fact that both bands have been fronted by lead vocalist Layne Staley. His vocal style and lyrical approach manifested in both bands.

Another similarity between the bands is their exploration of heavy topics such as addiction and depression. Mad Season’s debut album, Above, features lyrics about addiction and depression set against hard-driving guitar riffs.

7. Smashing Pumpkins

With 30 million albums sold worldwide, the Smashing Pumpkins has cemented its spot as one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the ’90s. Particularly, they were known for their significant role in popularizing alternative rock.

While Alice In Chains leans more toward grunge, the Smashing Pumpkins’ sound blends elements of alternative metal, heavy metal, and psychedelic rock. Nevertheless, their sounds feature atmospheric soundscapes. This is attributed to the bands’ use of layering techniques, which added depth to their sound.

Their approach to songwriting is also another point of similarity. Aside from their shared exploration of dark themes such as personal struggles, the Smashing Pumpkins also touch on themes such as love and loss.

8. Temple Of The Dog

Another supergroup to grace our list is Temple of the Dog, formed in 1990 by Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. The band was a tribute to Andrew Wood, the lead singer of Mother Love Bone, who died of a heroin overdose that same year.

The band consisted of members from both Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder sometimes provided lead and backing vocals.

Like Alice In Chains, Temple of the Dog contributed to the grunge movement of the ’90s, both moved away from glam toward a rawer sound. The bands also blended elements of heavy metal and punk, backed by heavy guitar riffs and powerful vocals.

9. Mother Love Bone

Another band that shares similarities with Alice In Chains is Mother Love Bone. Originating from the Seattle grunge and alternative metal music scene, this band was formed in 1988 and had a short-lived career.

The late Andrew Wood served as the lead singer of Mother Love Bone. He was known for his dynamic vocal range and charismatic stage presence. He was also roommates with Chris Cornell, who founded Temple of the Dog, which featured members of both Mother Love Bone and Pearl Jam.

Alice In Chains and Mother Love Bone are similar in their music, which features a combination of raw energy, heavy guitar riffs, and melancholic lyrics. Speaking of lyrics, both bands explored darker and more serious themes such as depression, loss, and death.

10. Bush

The English band Bush rose to prominence in the early ’90s as part of the grunge music movement. Like Alice In Chains, their sound is characterized by heavy guitar riffs and introspective lyrics.

Bush’s debut album, Sixteen Stone, was a commercial success. RIAA certified it six times multi-platinum.

The band eventually became one of the most successful bands of the ’90s, along with Alice In Chains. They sold 10 million records in the US alone and 20 million worldwide. Their 1996 album, Razorblade Suitcase, debuted at #1 on the US Billboard 200. Throughout their career, they have released nine albums.

11. Candlebox

The Seattle-based rock band Candlebox came together in 1990 and found success with the release of their self-titled debut album. The band was heavily influenced by the likes of Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden.

Although they did not have the same level of success as some other bands from their era, Candlebox was still one of the most notable bands of their time. Like Alice In Chains, Candlebox was categorized as grunge, though their sound still differed.

Some of Candlebox’s most successful songs include “You,” “Far Behind,” and “Change.” All of these came from Candlebox, which was certified quadruple platinum. Their 1995 album, Lucy, was equally successful, certified gold by RIAA. Though they disbanded in 2000, they reunited in 2006 and released more albums.

12. Mudhoney

Yet another legendary grunge rock band that formed in Seattle in the 1980s is Mudhoney. They are often hailed as one of the pioneers of this genre, along with fellow Seattle bands.

As Mudhoney and Alice In Chains emerged during the grunge movement, they have many similarities. Their music is characterized by heavy guitar riffs, a raw vocal delivery, and a gritty aesthetic.

In addition, both bands combined elements of punk and metal into their music. Although Alice In Chains focused more on the heavy metal side, Mudhoney was known for embodying punk ethos.

Similarly, the bands explored heavy themes in their songwriting. Mudhoney, particularly, focused on disillusionment with the use of a sarcastic tone.

13. Tool

The early 1990s witnessed the formation of the American rock band Tool. Based in Los Angeles, the band has been associated with Alice In Chains due to their similar sound and style.

Throughout their career, Tool has released five studio albums. During the band’s early days, they displayed a heavy metal sound. Later on, they became prominent in the alternative metal movement.

Though Alice In Chains was prominent in the grunge scene, both bands shared similarities in exploring dark topics, songwriting, and sound.

In 1993, Alice In Chains’ Layne Staley joined Tool in singing the latter’s song, “Opiate,” during the Lollapalooza tour. The collaboration added another layer of connection between the two bands and highlighted their mutual appreciation for each other’s music.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like Alice In Chains

And that concludes our list today of bands that can be compared to Alice In Chains. As you’ve seen, most of the bands are categorized as grunge and left a lasting influence not only in the genre but in music history in general.

We hope you liked our compilation and that you’ve found new bands and their songs to add to your grunge playlist. Did we miss something? Let us know so we can add it!

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.