Formed in Los Angeles in 1991, Rage Against the Machine has resonated with listeners. The lasting influence of this band can be heard in a number of contemporary bands that have adopted similar styles or themes.
These bands echo the distinctive sound and revolutionary spirit that Rage Against the Machine is celebrated for — hard-hitting metal — continuing the band’s legacy in the modern music scene.
In this article, we will be exploring 13 incredible bands similar to Rage Against the Machine, so join us as we delve into these compelling musical acts. Ready? Let’s get started!
In 2001, Audioslave emerged as a powerful rock supergroup, created by the merger of Soundgarden’s lead singer, Chris Cornell, and three members from Rage Against the Machine — Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk.
Produced by renowned music producer Rick Rubin, Audioslave’s self-titled debut album successfully captured the attention of fans who craved more after Zack de la Rocha’s departure from Rage Against the Machine.
With strong similarities between both groups: politically charged lyrics, heavy riffs, and high energy, it comes as no surprise that Audioslave is often recommended to those looking for something similar to Rage Against the Machine.
In their relatively short time together as a band — they disbanded in 2007 — Audioslave managed to carve out a distinctive place within the history of rock while still paying homage to their roots.
2. Prophets Of Rage
Formed as a response to the contemporary political climate and social injustice, Prophets of Rage is an American rock band consisting of three members from Rage Against the Machine — Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, and Tim Commerford.
Despite their recent announcement that they will split following Rage Against the Machine’s return, Prophets of Rage proved themselves as a force to be reckoned with during their brief stint together.
With albums like The Atlas Underground (2018), these musicians proved to audiences that they were still capable of creating powerful and anthemic sonic rebellion years after the dissolution of their former bands.
Their short-lived but impactful existence not only kept the spirit of political activism alive within today’s rock scene but also served as proof that when it comes to spreading awareness about important issues through music, few musicians have done it better than those initially involved in Rage.
Hailing from the heyday of grunge, Soundgarden emerged as a powerhouse in the genre with their distinctive fusion of alternative rock and metal. Formed in Seattle in 1984, they helped define the sound of the 1990s alongside fellow bands Nirvana and Alice in Chains.
Though not directly connected to Rage Against the Machine, guitarist Tom Morello did find himself working with former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell when founding Audioslave.
As one of the most influential bands during an era dominated by alternative rock culture, any fan looking for a grungier sound should certainly give this legendary act a listen. We recommend starting with their Grammy-winning song “Black Hole Sun.”
4. Limp Bizkit
Another band that shares similarities with Rage Against the Machine is Limp Bizkit — the American rap rock band, established in 1994 in Jacksonville, Florida, also infuses aggressive nu-metal instrumentation with hip-hop cadence.
Limp Bizkit debuted in 1997 with Three Dollar Bill, Y’all. It was well-received, but their second album, Significant Other, was an even better hit. It topped the Billboard 200 chart and has reached 7x Platinum status.
The success of Limp Bizkit over the years is undeniable: they have released six studio albums to date, each showcasing continued evolution and growth within various genres like nu-metal and alternative rock.
5. Beastie Boys
A trio from New York City, the Beastie Boys were more than just a band – they were a cultural force that reshaped the landscape of hip-hop. Starting as a hardcore punk band in 1981, members Michael Diamond, Adam Yauch, and Adam Horovitz soon found their calling in hip-hop, a genre then still in its infancy.
Their journey was marked by a rebellious image and a sound that defied categorization. They broke onto the scene with their debut album, Licensed to Ill, in 1986, becoming the first rap LP to hit #1 on the Billboard chart.
Tracks like “Fight For Your Right” became anthems for a generation, but the Beastie Boys were far from a one-trick pony. As they matured, so did their music. They experimented with different styles and themes, evolving their sound without losing their distinctive edge.
6. System Of A Down
The American rock band System of a Down, sometimes known as SOAD, is known for their heavy sound, quick-witted lyrics, and political underpinning, much like RATM. Their music can be described as a fusion of heavy metal, punk, and Armenian folk music, creating a style that is distinctly their own.
Their self-titled debut album, released in 1998, was a success, but it was their sophomore effort, Toxicity, that catapulted SOAD to international fame. Topping the Billboard 200 chart, the album featured the hits “Chop Suey!” and the title track.
After releasing two more albums, Mezmerize and Hypnotize, in 2005, the band went on a hiatus. They returned to live performances in 2010 and continue to tour, although they have not released new studio music since Hypnotize.
7. Public Enemy
The influential hip-hop group Public Enemy emerged in the late 1980s and soon became known for their politically charged lyrics as well as their groundbreaking music.
Their music has been described as “protest music” because it addressed hot-button societal issues like racism and poverty. Some of their most notable songs include “Fight the Power,” “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos,” and “Bring the Noise.”
Public Enemy has also collaborated with many musicians over the years, including Anthrax, Sonic Youth, and Ice Cube — a huge contrast. The willingness to work with artists across various genres, as long as they support the same causes and ethos, puts them squarely in line with the spirit of RATM.
A pioneering nu-metal band, Korn has been churning out genre-defying music since their formation in 1993. Hailing from Bakersfield, California, the band’s sound borrows heavily from hip-hop and features a number of other left-field influences.
As one of the progenitors of nu metal, it’s no surprise that Korn has influenced other bands in the scene, such as Slipknot, Coal Chamber, and Limp Bizkit.
If you’re a fan of RATM and music that blends stylistic flourishes of rock and hip-hop, then Korn is definitely worth checking out. Their older material, specifically the Self-Titled album, shares many similarities with RATM, including an unapologetic approach to creating something entirely new and exciting.
To this day, Korn is a band that never shies away from speaking on uncomfortable topics or channeling cultural turmoil, and that makes them worth a mention.
9. Linkin Park
Next up is perhaps the most famous nu-metal band to ever exist. Linkin Park gained immense popularity with their debut album, Hybrid Theory (2000). The band’s unique sound blended elements of rap and rock, feeding into the then-burgeoning rise of alt-metal as it took the world by storm.
Linkin Park’s discography is a reflection of their musical journey. From the raw energy of Hybrid Theory to the introspective lyrics of Minutes to Midnight, each album offers a glimpse into their evolution as artists. Their music resonates with fans worldwide, earning them two Grammy awards and selling over 100 million albums worldwide.
The band’s collaborations with other artists have led to a lot of commercial success. However, after the tragic loss of their founding member, Chester Bennington, Linkin Park went through a difficult period, and the band has been vocal about never touring again.
Next up is Deftones. Hailing from Sacramento, California, the band has been compared to Rage Against the Machine in terms of their stylistic fusion of metal subgenres with alternative rock, hip-hop, and trip-hop elements.
Nu-metal fans would know this band — as Deftones stood the test of time as one of the most iconic and memorable within the subgenre.
The band’s third album, White Pony, truly cemented their status as musical pioneers. It saw Deftones moving away from their earlier sound and experimenting with elements of trip-hop, shoegaze, and ambient music. The result was a multi-layered sonic experience that resonated with fans and critics alike.
11. Body Count
Formed in Los Angeles in 1990, the band Body Count is fronted by Ice-T, who first established himself as a rapper before venturing into the realm of heavy metal.
Ice-T had been influenced by heavy rock and punk bands during his youth and saw Body Count as an opportunity to fuse these genres with the narrative style of his rap lyrics. This unique blend of rap and metal became the band’s signature sound.
The band’s self-titled debut album, released in 1992, immediately caused a stir due to its controversial content, particularly the track “Cop Killer.” Despite the controversy, or perhaps because of it, the album helped to establish Body Count as a band unafraid to tackle contentious social issues head-on.
12. At The Drive-In
Since their formation in El Paso, Texas, in 1994, At the Drive-In has released a total of four albums, yet they have made their mark as one of the most influential post-hardcore bands of all time.
Their debut album, Acrobatic Tenement (1996), captured the raw energy of their live performances. However, it was their third album, Relationship of Command, that brought them mainstream recognition. Released in 2000, it was hailed by critics as a masterpiece of post-hardcore music, featuring intense tracks like “One Armed Scissor” and “Invalid Litter Dept.”
Overall, if you’re a fan of Rage Against the Machine’s intense energy and political lyrics, you’ll definitely enjoy At the Drive-In. Both bands share a passion for creating challenging and dynamic music that traverses both soft and heavy soundscapes.
13. One Day As A Lion
Ending this list is One Day as a Lion, a side project that features none other than Zack de la Rocha, ex-Rage Against the Machine, and Jon Theodore, ex-The Mars Volta (now of Queens of the Stone Age).
The band released only one EP, a self-titled release in 2008. It consisted of five tracks and was well-received by fans and critics alike.
Despite their limited discography, One Day as a Lion has left a considerable mark on the music scene with their fusion of rock, punk, and hip-hop and lyrics often touching on issues of social justice and inequality.
Summing Up Our List Of Bands Similar To Rage Against The Machine
And that’s a wrap! As you’ve read, there are many bands that share awesome similarities to Rage Against the Machine.
Whether it’s the face-melting guitar riffs, the cool fusion of rock and rap, or their passionate, politically charged lyrics, we hope you’ve found some new jams to add to your playlist.
If you think we’ve missed any bands that deserve a shout-out, we’d love to hear from you! We’ll add them here for more bands to enjoy! Happy listening!