13 Incredible Bands Similar To Soundgarden

Written by Dan Farrant

Soundgarden, a pioneering force in the ’90s alternative rock and grunge music scene, left their mark on music history with songs like “Spoonman” and “Black Hole Sun.”

Emerging from Seattle alongside bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Soundgarden’s fusion of heavy metal, hard rock, and darkly poetic lyrics captured the hearts of fans around the world and spawned new bands echoing their style.

So if you’re a fan or simply curious, stick around as we check out 13 incredible bands similar to Soundgarden. Let’s dive in!

Soundgarden by David Lee (CC BY 2.0)

1. Pearl Jam

Riding the wave of the grunge movement in the 1990s, a band emerged from the Seattle music scene, their sound echoing the same alternative rock vibe as Soundgarden. This was the formidable Pearl Jam.

Their lineup was nothing short of stellar. Eddie Vedder’s vocal prowess, Jeff Ament’s masterful bass guitar, Stone Gossard’s rhythm guitar harmonizing with Mike McCready’s lead, and Matt Cameron’s drums—this combination quickly catapulted them to fame.

Their debut album, Ten, in 1991, was their breakthrough in the industry. Taking the #2 spot on Billboard 200, it placed them in the grunge pantheon alongside Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots, and is now Diamond certified.

As of now, Pearl Jam has released 11 studio albums, with their latest, Gigaton, released in 2020. Their sustained success and influence on the rock genre led to their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

2. Alice In Chains

From the Seattle music scene of the late 1980s, we have next Alice in Chains. Even though they weren’t as big of a gun as the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden, they were actually the first to bring this cool mix of grunge and heavy metal to the mainstream audience.

The original band members were Layne Staley (vocals), Jerry Cantrell (guitar), Mike Starr (bass), and Sean Kinney (drums). They’ve had some challenging times, with Staley passing away from a drug overdose in 2002 and Starr also passing in 2011. However, the music didn’t stop. New members joined and kept the Alice in Chains legacy alive!

Fans of Soundgarden thinking of checking out Alice in Chains’ music won’t be disappointed. From their early album Facelift to the more recent Rainier Fog, you’ll find they’ve nailed the genre. Their music is a sound that’s stood the test of time and is just as awesome today as it was at the height of the grunge era.

3. Stone Temple Pilots

Often known as STP, Stone Temple Pilots emerged from the San Diego, California, music scene in 1989. Their sound—a compelling mix of hard rock, alternative, and grunge reminiscent of Soundgarden’s style—struck a chord with listeners and helped establish them within the rock music landscape of the time.

Their first album, Core, released in 1992, catapulted them into the limelight. This album, which went 8x Platinum, features the hits “Plush” and “Creep.” Their second album, Purple, sustained this success with memorable tracks like “Interstate Love Song” and “Vasoline.”

However, STP’s journey was marked by turbulence. Lead singer Scott Weiland’s battles with drug addiction led to several breaks and changes in the band’s lineup. Despite these obstacles, the band’s impact on the rock genre remained significant.

The death of Weiland in 2015 was a huge loss, but the band decided to continue, bringing in Jeff Gutt as their new lead vocalist in 2017.

4. Nirvana

Perhaps the most famous grunge band and one of the biggest alternative rock bands in history is Nirvana. The band was formed in Aberdeen, Washington, by Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic. Dave Grohl, who would become one of the most influential musicians of his generation, joined as the drummer in 1990.

The band’s second album, Nevermind (1991), marked their breakthrough, with the iconic track “Smells Like Teen Spirit” quickly becoming an anthem for fans. Other notable tracks from the album include “Come As You Are,” “Lithium,” and “In Bloom.”

Unfortunately, Nirvana’s journey was cut short by Cobain’s passing in 1994. His death marked the end of Nirvana, but the band’s influence continues to be felt today.

As part of the Seattle music scene, Nirvana came up alongside other popular grunge bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Music aside, they were known for their distinctive fashion sense, which often included thrift store clothes and ripped jeans—a look that became synonymous with grunge style more broadly.

5. Screaming Trees

Hailing from Ellensburg, Washington, Screaming Trees made their debut in 1984. The band’s music was a blend of ’60s psychedelia and punk rock, but they were also associated with the grunge movement due to their Pacific Northwest roots.

While Screaming Trees didn’t achieve the same level of success as Soundgarden and other peers on this list, they had a dedicated following and were highly respected within the music community.

Their most successful single was “Nearly Lost You” from the album Sweet Oblivion, which was released in 1992. The song gained popularity around the same time as the release of the movie Singles, which was set in the Seattle music scene and featured the track on its soundtrack.

Sadly, the band was plagued by internal conflicts and struggled with the pressure of their newfound fame. Despite making some great music, they eventually disbanded in 2000. Bassist Van Conner passed away in 2021, marking a melancholic note in the band’s history.

6. Mother Love Bone

Another prominent Seattle-based grunge band like Soundgarden is Mother Love Bone. Formed in 1988, the band comprised of Andrew Wood (lead vocals), Bruce Fairweather and Stone Gossard (guitars), Jeff Ament (bass), and Greg Gilmore (drums).

Despite their promising start, Mother Love Bone’s journey was tragically short-lived. Just days before the release of their debut album, Apple, Wood passed away from a drug overdose in 1990.

The album, which included tracks like “Stardog Champion” and “Crown of Thorns,” showcased the band’s potential and is still celebrated today.

After Wood’s untimely death, the remaining members were devastated but decided to continue making music separately. Gossard and Ament went on to form the iconic grunge band Pearl Jam, carrying forward the spirit of Mother Love Bone.

7. The Smashing Pumpkins

Established in 1988 in Chicago, Illinois, The Smashing Pumpkins is a band that, unlike many others mentioned earlier, does not fall under the grunge category but an alt-rock group. Given that Soundgarden’s music also falls into the same genre, it’s fitting to include The Smashing Pumpkins in this list.

The band debuted in 1991 with the album Gish. Though it ranked in the 100s on Billboard 200, it laid the foundation for their breakthrough release, Siamese Dream, in 1993.

Smashing Pumpkins’ journey wasn’t without its challenges. Drug addiction, lineup changes, and creative differences led to their initial breakup in 2000. The band has since reunited in various forms, with guitarist Billy Corgan being the only constant member.

Despite the trials they’ve faced, The Smashing Pumpkins’ music continues to be loved around the world, maintaining their status as one of the most influential bands in alternative rock.

8. Temple Of The Dog

In 1990, American rock supergroup Temple of the Dog was created in Seattle, Washington. The band was a collaboration between members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. It included Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament of Mother Love Bone, Mike McCready, and Matt Cameron.

The band was formed as a tribute to Andrew Wood, the lead singer of Mother Love Bone, who tragically passed away that year. Their music carried elements of grunge and hard rock, but it was their emotional depth, particularly in response to Wood’s death, that set them apart.

Their self-titled album was their only release. It didn’t gain much attention initially but found success after the rise of Pearl Jam and the popularity of the single “Hunger Strike,” which features a duet between Cornell and Eddie Vedder.

While Temple of the Dog was short-lived and primarily a one-time project, their music had a lasting impact. The band’s formation represents a significant moment in the history of grunge, and their album remains a powerful testament to friendship and loss.

9. Audioslave

What happens when you mix Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine? You get Audioslave. Coming together in Glendale, California, in 2001, the band was a powerful combination of Chris Cornell, frontman of Soundgarden, and Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk from Rage Against the Machine.

They debuted with a self-titled album in 2002, which was a commercial success and contained hits like “Cochise” and “Like a Stone.” Following this, they released two more successful albums: “Out of Exile” (2005) and “Revelations” (2006).

Though successful, Audioslave disbanded in 2007 due to internal conflicts and the members’ desire to work on other projects. The band briefly reunited for a performance in 2017, but following Cornell’s tragic death later that year, a full reunion became impossible.

Even though their time together was relatively short, Audioslave made a significant impact on the rock music scene. They are remembered for their passionate performances, distinctive sound, and the powerful vocals of Chris Cornell.

10. Mudhoney

Next up, Mudhoney is a Seattle-based alternative rock band that emerged in 1988 after the breakup of Green River, another grunge band. Mudhoney was part of the grunge movement and is often credited as one of its pioneers.

The band’s discography is extensive, with 11 studio albums and 20 singles. Their debut EP, Superfuzz Bigmuff, is something to check out, as it’s often considered a seminal release in the grunge genre.

Though not quite on the same level as the bands we have already discussed, Mudhoney boasts a long-lasting (over 30 years!) career. They continue to record and perform, maintaining their authentic sound and uncompromising approach to music.

11. Bush

British rock band Bush rose to fame during the mid-1990s grunge boom, becoming one of the most successful rock acts of the decade. Formed in London in 1992, they found their initial success in the US before gaining recognition in their home country.

Bush had their breakthrough with the album Sixteen Stone in 1994. Featuring hit singles such as “Comedown,” “Glycerine,” and “Machinehead,” the album propelled them to international fame.

Sixteen Stone was followed by their highest-charing album, Razorblade Suitcase. This one took the #1 spot on Billboard Hot 100 and landed at #4 on the UK chart.

Though Bush went on hiatus in 2002, the band regrouped in 2010 and has been active since then, releasing new music and touring regularly. Their website keeps fans updated on their latest news and tour dates.

12. Silverchair

The US and UK were not the only countries to spawn great grunge and alternative rock music. Australian rock band Silverchair quickly made a name for themselves after coming together in 1992 and releasing their debut album, Frogstomp, in 1995.

Featuring two of their greatest hits, “Tomorrow” and “Pure Massacre,” Frogstomp became the #1 album in Australia, #2 in New Zealand, and #9 in the US.

In a career that lasted almost two decades, Silverchair released five studio albums, all of which topped the Australian chart. Sadly, despite this success, Silverchair announced an indefinite hiatus in 2011, citing a desire to pursue other musical endeavors.

13. Melvins

Ending this list is sludge metal band Melvins. Formed in 1983 in Montesano, Washington, the band is often credited as a precursor to the grunge movement that would come to define the Pacific Northwest’s music scene in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

The Melvins’ first album, Gluey Porch Treatments, released in 1987, was met with critical acclaim for its innovative fusion of punk and metal. But it was their 1993 album, Houdini, that would catapult them to a wider audience. It featured a mix of heavy tracks like “Honey Bucket” and more experimental pieces like “Sky Pup.”

Despite their growing popularity, Melvins never achieved the same success as some of the bands they influenced, such as Nirvana and Soundgarden. Nevertheless, they remain one of the most respected bands in the alternative rock scene.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like Soundgarden

Wrapping up, it’s clear to see Soundgarden’s powerful sound is alive and kicking in these awesome bands. From Pearl Jam to the Melvins, each band adds their own unique twist to the genre that Soundgarden so brilliantly shaped.

We really hope you’ve enjoyed this musical journey and maybe even stumbled upon your next favorite band. If there are bands we’ve missed, let us know. We’ll add them here for you!

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.