13 Incredible Bands Similar To Rush

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Are you a fan of Rush, the iconic Canadian rock band that has sold over 40 million albums worldwide? With the musicianship from legends Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart and their progressive rock sound, it’s no wonder they’ve had such a massive impact on the music world.

But what if you’re craving more bands echoing Rush’s catchy sound? Look no further than this post!

Here, we have compiled a list of 13 incredible bands like Rush for your musical exploration, some directly influenced by them or admired by Geddy Lee himself. Ready? Let’s dive in!

1. Dream Theater

One of the most prominent bands like Rush is Dream Theater, a well-renowned progressive metal band formed in 1985 in Boston, Massachusetts, by three college students—John Petrucci, John Myung, and Mike Portnoy.

In the initial years, their music was heavily influenced by bands like Rush, Pink Floyd, and Iron Maiden. Dream Theater’s style is characterized by progressive and heavy elements with a blend of different musical genres. Over time, they’ve developed a distinctive sound that sets them apart.

Dream Theater saw a rise in popularity with the release of their second studio album, Images and Words, in 1992. The album included the hit single “Pull Me Under,” landing at #10 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart — their highest charting single to date.

Over the years, Dream Theater has continually evolved, influencing many other artists in the progressive rock and metal genre. Together with Fates Warning and Queensrÿche, they are considered one of the big three of the genre.

2. Yes

Formed in London, Yes is a renowned British progressive rock band that shares numerous similarities with Rush. For one, both bands were formed in 1968; and together, they were considered the forerunners of prog rock.

The early years of Yes were marked by a constantly evolving lineup. Despite this, they managed to produce some of the most influential albums in progressive rock, like the fourth album, Fragile, in 1971 — their first highest-charting work at #4 on Billboard 200.

One of their most acclaimed works is the 1983 album 90125. Though not a chart-topper, it is their bestselling and contains “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” which took the top spot on both Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream charts.

Over the decades, Yes has received several accolades for their contributions to music. They won a Grammy Award in 1985 for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for the track “Cinema,” and in 2017, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

3. Genesis

As one of the pioneering progressive rock bands, Genesis is essential to mention when discussing bands like Rush. Formed in 1967, the band originally began as a quintet, with members Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Anthony Phillips, and Chris Stewart.

The band’s popularity skyrocketed in the mid-’70s with albums like Selling England by the Pound and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, which are considered classics in the progressive rock genre.

With the departure of Gabriel in 1975, who was replaced by then-drummer for the band Phil Collins, Genesis moved towards a more pop-oriented sound in the ’80s, achieving massive commercial success with hits like “Invisible Touch” and “I Can’t Dance.”

Genesis has received numerous accolades throughout their career. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, marking a significant recognition of their impact on the music industry.

Despite various lineup changes and shifts in musical direction, Genesis remains one of the most influential bands in the history of progressive rock, shaping the genre with their unique sound and innovative approach to music.

4. King Crimson

Imagine being at the forefront of a musical revolution. That’s exactly where King Crimson found themselves when they burst onto the London music scene in 1968. The brainchild of Robert Fripp and Michael Giles, this band has seen a revolving cast of talented musicians, with Fripp as the sole constant member.

Their debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King, released in 1969, shook the world of progressive rock to its core. This wasn’t just music; it was a complex tapestry of sound that blended elements of jazz, classical, and avant-garde styles. It was groundbreaking, and it set the stage for everything that King Crimson would do.

Over the years, they’ve released other influential works like Discipline and Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, each one further cementing their status as progressive rock titans. And while they might not have a long list of chart-topping hits or mainstream awards, their influence on the music world is undeniable.

5. Tool

Dive into the world of progressive metal, and you’ll inevitably stumble upon the powerhouse that is Tool. This American band, formed in 1990, features Maynard James Keenan (vocals), Adam Jones (guitar), Danny Carey (drums), and Justin Chancellor (bass).

Their debut studio album, Undertow, released in 1993, gave us a glimpse of their potential, but it was the 1996 album Ænima that really put Tool on the map. This album, featuring hits like “Stinkfist” and “Ænema,” won the band a Grammy and established them as a force to be reckoned with in the progressive metal scene.

Tool’s journey continued with the critically acclaimed albums Lateralus in 2001 and 10,000 Days in 2006 and received multiple Grammy Awards, including Best Metal Performance for “Ænema” and “Schism,” and Best Recording Package for 10,000 Days.

Despite taking a 13-year hiatus between 10,000 Days and their latest album, Fear Inoculum, released in 2019, Tool’s impact on the world of progressive metal remains unrivaled.

6. Porcupine Tree

Picture this: it’s 1987, and musician Steven Wilson is on a mission to blend psychedelic and progressive music into something extraordinary. That’s how Porcupine Tree was born.

Initially a one-man band, it eventually grew to include talented artists like Richard Barbieri, Colin Edwin, and Chris Maitland, who was later replaced by Gavin Harrison.

Porcupine Tree started off with a space rock vibe in albums like On the Sunday of Life… and Up the Downstair. But as they evolved, they began weaving in elements of progressive rock and heavy metal, something that echoes Rush’s style.

The album that really turned heads was Fear of a Blank Planet in 2007. They kept the momentum going with The Incident in 2009 and the chart-topping Closure/Continuation in 2022.

While they might not have a trophy cabinet full of awards, Porcupine Tree has earned something arguably more valuable — respect and admiration within the progressive rock community. Their music has influenced countless other bands and continues to captivate fans worldwide.

7. Marillion

British rock band Marillion first made waves in the music scene in 1979, but their journey to fame began with their debut album, Script for a Jester’s Tear, in 1983.

Their next album, Fugazi, continued to build their reputation; however, it was their third studio album, Misplaced Childhood, released in 1985, that really thrust them into the limelight. The hit single “Kayleigh” from this album became a global sensation.

Influenced by progressive rock titans such as Genesis, Pink Floyd, and Rush, Marillion has always maintained a unique sound. They, in turn, have influenced a new wave of neo-progressive rock bands, leaving their own mark on the genre.

Today, Marillion stands tall in the progressive rock scene with a career that spans over 40 years. They continue to be admired for their innovative music and relentless dedication to their craft.

8. Jethro Tull

Across the pond in Blackpool, England, in 1967, the seeds of the band Jethro Tull were sown. The group is best known for fusing prog rock, folk, and jazz and adding the flute by lead vocalist Ian Anderson for a unique twist.

In 1969, Jethro Tull released their second album, Stand Up, which topped the UK chart and helped push them into the limelight. However, it was their fourth album, Aqualung, in 1971 that cemented their place in music history.

With tracks like “Locomotive Breath” and the title track “Aqualung,” the album became an international success and is often regarded as one of the definitive albums of the progressive rock genre.

With a career spanning over five decades, Jethro Tull has been honored with several awards and accolades. The pinnacle of these came in 1989 when they won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, beating out favorites Metallica, in one of the most controversial decisions in the awards’ history.

9. Kansas

Another prog rock band that gained popularity during the 1970s, like Rush, is Kansas. What makes their sound especially distinct is the inclusion of the violin, an instrument not commonly associated with rock music.

Kansas started making waves in the music industry with their self-titled debut album in 1974. However, it was their fifth studio album, Point of Know Return (1977), that pushed them into the limelight. This album features the hit single “Dust in the Wind,” a touching acoustic ballad that captured the attention of audiences globally.

Throughout their musical journey, Kansas has received several accolades. In 2005, they were honored with an induction into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. A decade later, in 2015, the band was also welcomed into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, a testament to their enduring impact on the music scene.

10. Queensrÿche

In the burgeoning Seattle music scene of the 1980s, Queensrÿche was formed by Geoff Tate, Chris DeGarmo, Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, and Scott Rockenfield. Like Rush, they were renowned for their heavy metal, progressive rock sound.

The band made a significant impact with their self-titled EP in 1983, particularly with the track “Queen of the Reich.” However, their critical breakthrough came with their third studio album, Operation: Mindcrime, in 1988.

This concept album is a seminal work in the progressive metal genre, weaving a complex narrative through its tracks. Their subsequent album, Empire (1990), features the hit single “Silent Lucidity,” which garnered mainstream attention and a Grammy nomination.

Today, after a career spanning more than four decades, Queensrÿche continues to contribute to the vibrant tapestry of progressive metal. Their enduring legacy serves as a testament to their skill.

11. Symphony X

Let’s take a musical trip to Middletown, New Jersey. Here we find the birthplace of Symphony X, a band formed by the trio of Michael Romeo, Rod Tyler, and Thomas Miller in 1994.

Like Rush, Symphony X is well-known for their progressive rock sound; unlike Rush, they’ve incorporated neoclassical influences to make their own distinct sound.

The band debuted in the music scene with their self-titled debut album in 1994. However, their true rise to prominence came with their third album, The Divine Wings of Tragedy, in 1997. This album showcased the band’s signature sound and style, earning them a dedicated fanbase in the process.

Even though Symphony X hasn’t won any mainstream awards, they’ve made quite an impact in the progressive metal world. They’ve been praised for their amazing technical skills and songwriting abilities, and their albums always get great reviews from critics.

12. Coheed And Cambria

Prog-rock band Coheed and Cambria has often been compared to Rush due to their shared science-fiction themes in music.

Hailing from Nyack, New York, Claudio Sanchez, Travis Stever, Nate Kelley, and Michael Todd came together in 1995 to create something truly unique. Later on, Josh Eppard and Zach Cooper replaced Kelley and Todd.

They’re known for their progressive rock sound, complex song structures, and science fiction storyline that runs through all their albums. This storyline, called The Amory Wars, was created by lead singer Claudio Sanchez and has even been turned into a series of comic books!

Though they debuted in 2002 with The Second Stage Turbine Blade, their sophomore album, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, really put them on the map. This album took fans deeper into The Amory Wars saga and showcased the band’s musical growth.

13. Transatlantic

Concluding this list is the youngest band on this list. Formed in 1999, prog-rock band Transatlantic is made up of four talented musicians from different bands who came together to form a supergroup.

The band consists of Neal Morse, previously of Spock’s Beard, Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings, Pete Trewavas of Marillion, and Mike Portnoy, an ex-Dream Theater. They’re famous for their epic compositions, some of which can last over 30 minutes!

Great examples of their lengthy works are found in their fourth album, Kaleidoscope, released in 2014. Tracks like “Into the Blue” and “Kaleidoscope” are certain to be enjoyable.

Despite the members’ commitments to their primary bands, Transatlantic has managed to release highly-praised albums consistently. Their latest work, The Absolute Universe (2021), is an ambitious double album that once again showcases amazing talent.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like Rush

In this musical odyssey, we’ve journeyed through the soundscapes of a few bands that share a kinship with the legendary Rush. From progressive rock to complex metal, these bands offer a rich array of sounds for your auditory pleasure.

We hope this guide has opened doorways to new musical worlds for you and that your playlist is now buzzing with fresh discoveries.

Did we leave out a favorite band of yours that echoes the Rush vibe? Please, don’t hesitate to share! We’ll add them here for you!

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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.