Since the early 1990s, the music industry has witnessed the emergence of a new genre of heavy metal called “nu-metal.” Korn—with their unique blend of heavy metal, hip-hop, and alternative rock—was one of the pioneers.
Korn’s success paved the way for other nu-metal bands to gain popularity, like Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, and System of a Down, and the genre exploded in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
This blog post delves into the world of alternative and heavy metal music, exploring 13 bands like Korn that have not only been influenced by them but have created their own unique impact on the industry. Let’s get started.
First on our list is none other than Slipknot. Hailing from Des Moines, Iowa, the band burst onto the nu-metal scene in 1999 with their self-titled debut album. Their sound and distinctive image, featuring nine members donning matching jumpsuits and unsettling masks, set them apart from other bands in the genre.
As part of the wave of nu-metal acts influenced by Korn’s groundbreaking work, Slipknot worked with acclaimed producer Ross Robinson (known for his collaborations with Korn themselves).
Slipknot’s self-titled debut album was a critical and commercial success, selling over two million copies worldwide. The album’s lead single, “Wait and Bleed,” received widespread radio play and helped to establish Slipknot as a force to be reckoned with in the music world.
Our next band, Deftones, emerged as one of the pioneering nu-metal bands alongside Korn in the mid-1990s, carving their own unique niche within the alternative metal scene.
Fronted by Chino Moreno, this Sacramento-based band has consistently pushed boundaries throughout their career. Like Korn, they skillfully explore themes of aggression and vulnerability in their lyrics while delivering hard-hitting rock anthems.
Their 2000 album White Pony serves as a key example of how they’ve evolved over time—shifting from pure nu-metal aggression to incorporating more atmospheric musical textures inspired by gothic metal and alternative rock.
3. System Of A Down
A band that stands out as one of the most unique and innovative bands that emerged during the nu-metal era is System of a Down, sharing some similarities with Korn but also venturing into uncharted territory.
Formed in 1994, this alternative metal band incorporates elements from heavy metal, progressive metal, and even thrash metal into their eclectic sound. Their use of unconventional time signatures, complex song structures, and politically charged lyrics set them apart from other nu-metal acts.
Notable albums like the 2001 Toxicity and 2005 Mesmerize garnered them critical acclaim for their intricate musicianship and powerful vocals by frontman Serj Tankian.
Fans of Korn will appreciate System’saggressive rock style and penchant for experimentation within the genre. Ross Robinson, who has worked with Korn, produced System of a Down’s first studio album, which further solidified their connection to the early days of nu-metal.
Formed in 1994, our next band is the Chicago-based heavy metal band Disturbed. Their music, like Korn, combines elements of hard rock, alternative metal, and nu-metal with powerful lyrics and intense vocals.
Disturbed’s debut album, The Sickness, was released in 2000, featuring hit tracks like “Stupify” and “Down with the Sickness.” Since then, they’ve released six more studio albums, including Indestructible, which featured “Inside the Fire,” the song that earned them their first Grammy nomination.
Other standout tracks from Disturbed include “Stricken” and their cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s classic song “The Sound of Silence,” which earned them another Grammy nomination.
5. Limp Bizkit
Though nu-metal band Limp Bizkit emerged in the late ’90s, it became one of the most popular acts in the genre. They incorporate elements of rap, metal, punk, and rock music into their sound, thus, they are often compared to Korn, but with some rap and hip-hop influences.
Their debut album, Three Dollar Bill Y’all, was released in 1997, but the band had their breakthrough in the second album, Significant Other. It contained some of their early hits, like “Nookie” and “Re-Arranged,” and earned Limp Bizkit their first Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album.
Like Korn, Limp Bizkit has been criticized for being too aggressive or violent, with lyrics revolving around anger and frustration towards society. However, they have also influenced many other bands who followed in their footsteps in creating an amalgamation of different genres, such as rap-metal or nu-metal.
Another band that came into the nu-metal scene in the late 1990s is Mudvayne. They are known for their aggressive sound that blends elements of heavy metal, alternative rock, and progressive metal.
Mudvayne has been compared to Korn due to their shared roots in nu-metal, but they also have a distinct sound. Mudvayne’s use of complex rhythms and time signatures, as well as their intricate guitar work and drumming, set them apart from Korn.
The band’s experimental approach to music has earned them critical acclaim, particularly the songs “Dig” and “Determined.” The former won Mudvayne an MTV2 Award, while the latter gained them a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance.
American rock band Godsmack was formed in 1995 and has gained popularity for their heavy metal sound and intense live performances. Their music incorporates elements of alternative metal, hard rock, and grunge, making them a fitting addition to this list of bands like Korn.
Godsmack’s self-titled debut album, released in 1998, features hit songs such as “Whatever,” “Voodoo,” and “Keep Away,” all of which showcase the band’s aggressive style and lead singer Sully Erna’s powerful vocals.
Throughout their career, Godsmack has received several accolades, including 16 Boston Music Awards and a Billboard Rock Artist of the Year in 2001.
A band that has often been compared to Korn, particularly for their use of heavy riffs and emotional lyrics, is Staind. They formed in Massachusetts in the mid-1990s and gained popularity with hits like “It’s Been Awhile” and “Outside.”
Staind’s music often features dark, introspective lyrics that deal with topics like depression, addiction, and personal struggles. Frontman Aaron Lewis’s raw and emotional vocals are a defining characteristic of the band’s sound, adding depth and intensity to their music.
Though Staind may not be as well-known today as they were in the early 2000s, their influence on nu-metal cannot be denied. Their album Break the Cycle debuted at #1 on the Billboard and UK charts and went multi-Platinum, cementing their place in alternative rock history.
9. Papa Roach
With their combination of heavy guitar riffs, rap-like vocals, and catchy choruses, Papa Roach has often been compared to Korn. They started out playing a raw and aggressive style of nu-metal, but gradually expanded their sound to include more melodic and experimental elements.
They have written some of the most memorable and catchy rock songs of the past two decades, including “Last Resort,” “Scars,” “Getting Away with Murder,” and “Lifeline.”
Papa Roach’s longevity in the music industry is a testament to their staying power. In fact, in 2022, they released their 11th studio album and are still going strong.
The five-piece group Sevendust was formed in 1994 in Atlanta, Georgia. They have since released 14 studio albums that blend elements of heavy metal, alternative rock, and grunge music.
Just like Korn, Sevendust’s success stems from their raw sound and introspective lyrics that touch on themes of personal struggle and resistance. Tracks like “Black” and “Bitch” showcase the band’s ability to transition between melodic choruses and aggressive riffs seamlessly.
If you are a fan of Korn’s style but want something with more depth or edge, try listening to Sevendust—they will not disappoint!
11. Breaking Benjamin
Another recommended band like Korn is Breaking Benjamin, consisting of vocalist Benjamin Burnley, guitarist Aaron Fink, bassist Mark Klepaski, and drummer Chad Szeliga. This American rock band is known for their hard-hitting sound and emotionally charged lyrics.
With roots in post-grunge and alternative metal, Breaking Benjamin has been compared to Korn for their use of heavy guitars and atmospheric soundscapes.
Their debut album, Saturate, released in 2002, featured hit songs like “Polyamorous” and “Skin.” The band’s follow-up albums, including Phobia and Dear Agony, continued to resonate with fans thanks to powerful tracks like “Breath,” “The Diary of Jane,” and “I Will Not Bow.”
In this list, we cannot leave out the South African rock band Seether. Formed in 1999, they became known for their post-grunge sound and emotional lyrics, which often deal with themes like heartbreak and personal struggles.
Their music shares similarities with Korn’s nu-metal style, as well as other bands on this list, like Disturbed and Staind. Seether also collaborated with Amy Lee of Evanescence on the hit song “Broken,” which won them two awards—from BMI and Metals Edge.
This was not their only accolade, however. Over the years, Seether won 21 awards from various awarding organizations, including three Billboard awards in 2011.
13. Linkin Park
And finally, emerging in the nu metal scene in 1996, Linkin Park has been likened to Korn and has even also enjoyed great commercial success. The group was formed in California and released their debut album, Hybrid Theory, in 2000, which became a massive hit around the world.
Some of Linkin Park’s most famous songs include “In The End,” “Numb,” and “Crawling.” Like Korn, they have been praised for their ability to blend heavy guitars with catchy hooks and meaningful lyrics.
Sadly, lead singer Chester Bennington passed away in 2017. The band has since disbanded, but their legacy lives on through their timeless music.
Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like Korn
As a fan of Korn, you should know that their work has left a lasting impact on the alternative and nu metal scene with their unique sound and approach to music.
And with similar music styles to Korn, the bands mentioned here have also carved out their own distinct style while influencing and inspiring countless other artists in the process.
From Slipknot and Deftones to Mudvayne and Seether, they have shown that heavy music can be both aggressive and emotional and have connected with fans all over the world with their relatable lyrics and energetic live performances.