What is good grunge music

7 grunge bands you have to know

Kurt Cobain committed suicide twenty years ago. Not only did the band Nirvana end with him, but an entire genre imploded: grunge. The style disappeared as quickly as it was snatched from Seattle, but it had a lasting impact on rock music. A review.

Kurt Cobain committed suicide twenty years ago. Not only did the band Nirvana end with him, but an entire genre imploded: grunge. The style disappeared as quickly as it was snatched from Seattle, but it had a lasting impact on rock music. A look back at 7 grunge bands that you have to know.

1. Nirvana

With their second album “Nevermind”, the trio around Kurt Cobain defined a new genre of alternative rock - and at the same time brought it to an end: grunge. Nirvana not only determined the sound - calm verses that met brute refrains and thus combined the musical psychogram into vulnerable introversion and angry outburst, but also the aesthetics and image of grunge. Mentally a continuation of punk, Nirvana took on the gesture of refusal, put on lumberjack shirts and worn Converse sneakers as a counterpoint to the rock of the eighties and the emerging new youth culture of hip hop. What the alternative rock brand Nirvana lacked was a social vision; the wounded, estranged individual stood at the spiritual center of the Nirvana sound: “I hate myself and want to die” was originally the title for the last Nirvana work “In Utero »Thought. For Kurt Cobain, the rapid rise from the indie scene to rock star size was presumably too fast, and he imploded at the same pace with which the music industry defined, hijacked and successfully commercialized grunge as a new trend. April 5th, 1994, Kurt Cobain's suicide day, not only marked the end of nirvana, but also marked the end of the three jubilee years of grunge. Bassist Krist Novoselic withdrew from the public, Cobain's widow Courtney Love tried for a while on her own music plans with Hole, which stylistically still relied on grunge, and went to Hollywood. And Dave Grohl, the drummer, founded the Foo Fighters and moved through the main gate onto the really big rock stages.

2. Pearl Jam

The guys around Eddie Vedder are the survivors of grunge - also because they have relatively consistently refused to join the music industry and have retained control over their work. Pearl Jam was number two in the grunge years, her debut album "Ten" benefited enormously from Nirvana's success, the successor "Vs." was such a colossal success that the band almost broke up on it. For six years she did not publish any music videos with her participation, hardly had any photos published, gave practically no more interviews and tried to organize her concert tours past the big promoter and sales agencies in order to keep the promotion in her hands. Pearl Jam had become so successful so quickly that they tried to dismantle it in stages. From then on, their records became harder, darker, more bulky for the years that followed. Pearl Jam have established themselves as one of the most credible rock bands in the USA, not only because of their clear politicization, they survived the grunge implosion without any problems and allowed themselves a wide variety of musical freedoms, such as the extremely experimental (and expectedly unsuccessful) record “No Code” or that clearly album "Riot Act", influenced by bulky blues, showed. It is also worth highlighting “Mirror Ball”, whereupon Pearl Jam provided the backing band for Neil Young - the ancestor of grunge, whom Kurt Cobain quoted in the suicide note in the suicide note and thus used the line as a slogan for grunge: “It's better to burn out than to fade away. "

3. Soundgarden

With Soundgarden it was clear how little the bands that are generally united in the grunge genre have in common musically. Soundgarden around singer Chris Cornell and drummer Matt Cameron, who now also drums at Pearl Jam, was much more interested in rhythm and tempo than dynamic staggering drives, and the recognizable influences are different from Nirvana: not Beatles or Neil Young, but Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin - and the hardcore and punk of the late seventies and eighties. Significantly, however, it was Soundgarden who delivered one of the most successful rock songs of the grunge years with “Black Hole Sun” and showed that they are also able to handle pop elements. Soundgarden broke up in 1997, Chris Cornell founded the band Audioslave with the rump of Rage Against The Machine, wrote a James Bond song in between to finally reunite Soundgarden. In November 2012 "King Animal" was released, which clearly showed heaviness and followed where the band left off in 1997.

4. Mudhoney

Nirvana did not arise in empty space. In front of them were the Melvins, who formed in 1983 in the same state and of whom Kurt Cobain was such an avowed fan that he wanted to hire them as a guitarist - and failed at foreplay because he was too nervous. The Melvins' music was too broad to be called the founding cell of the grunge sound. Mudhoney did that a few years later. They too come from Seattle, were at home with the influential underground label SubPop and with their debut EP “Superfuzz Bigmuff” they defined Grunge 1989 onomatopoetically: Superfuzz - the totally overdriven distortion of the guitars. Mudhoney, too, later switched to a large record company, but without even approaching the sales figures of Nirvana or Pearl Jam - probably also because they continued to rely on their style-forming feature, the massive distortions. Mudhoney remained something like the shadow fathers of the scene, but demonstrated considerable consistency despite occasional breaks: the first line-up change came after twelve years, they, now family fathers and rather hobby musicians, regularly go on tour and release new records. The last one, “Vanishing Point”, was released in 2013 for the band's 25th anniversary. No matter how dead grunge may be, Mudhoney's distortions still shoot straight at ten.

5. Alice In Chains

Alice In Chains are also among the survivors of grunge who have found their way into the present - despite breaks and deaths. Also formed in Seattle, the founding members originally found their way out of the last breath of hair and glam metal to the gloom of heavy rock, which was influenced by Black Sabbath as well as dark metal. The sound worlds in which they originally moved could be read from the line-up of their first major tour: they opened for the pillars of speed metal: Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, and later, curiously, a second tour was added in the opening act of the long dust-infested Van Halen . Alice In Chance came to the grunge cosmos through a soundtrack contribution to the comedy "Singles", which showed the love problems of the early twenties in flannel shirts and with long hair in Seattle. The band made a second Hollywood contribution with a song to the intro to the Schwarzenegger film “Last Action Hero”, and by then it was clear at the latest that the underground term from which grunge was based had already been stretched badly. Alice In Chains reached the top of the US charts with the following records, but increasingly withdrew from the public. A resolution was never announced - until singer Layne Staley died of a heroin overdose in 2002. Alice In Chains also reformed themselves afterwards and recorded two more albums with a new singer with notable success, without screwing up their style: a distinctive two-part lead vocals over huge layers of guitar.

6. Screaming Trees

Better known than the band, which was founded in Ellensburg near Seattle in 1985 and dissolved in 2000, is their singer: Mark Lanegan. He is known today as a broken dark voice from the darkest forests of Americana and as a friend of the Queens Of The Stone Age. With the Screaming Trees he never got beyond the status of an insider tip in the grunge hustle and bustle like Mudhoney. The roots of the Screaming Trees, in addition to the rawness of punk, reached back to psychedelic and progressive rock, plus folk elements. However, the Screaming Trees also had a dull and pessimistic view of the world and life, something that grunge listeners can relate to. During a break from the band, Mark Lanegan recorded his solo debut “The Winding Sheet” with the help of Dave Grohl and Kurt Cobain, and Chris Cornell from Soundgarden produced one of the band's best works, “Uncle Anesthesia”. Alone, despite great critical acclaim, Nirvana and Co. cleared the record sales - a fate that was not spared the follow-up records either. Their last album "Dust" was released in 1996, four years before the breakup, and proved once again that the most talented and versatile Seattle band was at work here.

7. Post grunge

The short summer of grunge ended with Kurt Cobain's death, which was soon followed by a long autumn. Cobain himself had repeatedly removed his genre anthem “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from the program on the last Nirvana tour because he was of the opinion that the song's massive mainstream success only confirmed its poor quality, and he won it with “Rape Me »myself clearly parodied: the rock star fame as the rapist of the fragile underground artist who had to carry the realignment of rock music on his shoulders. "I'm not the only one," Cobain sang in it. And he was proven right: after Nirvana's demise, almost every band that played a few raw, distorted chords and wore faded skateboard clothes got a record deal. This resulted in post-grunge - hardly more a genre than a bracket around all the two things that now branched out further. Ugly Kid Joe or Puddle of Mudd stood for the festive and dull variant, which was more about canned beer than overdose, Alanis Morissette and the 4 Non Blondes served the ballad-like feminine sector, Nickelback was somewhere in between. The emotional, self-torn traits of grunge that Cobain introduced and which at some point found a new home in emo rock were picked up by the Smashing Pumpkins or the early Radiohead.

These are the outliers in mainstream rock, including Dave Grohl's Foo Fighters. Apart from that, grunge developed further in the following years, as evidenced by the eruptions of stoner rock or retro rock of the noughties - and which finally found fertile ground in the Laufental. Rock has changed since Cobain shot himself in the head with a rifle twenty years ago, but its tracks can no longer be erased. There is no return to the glam rock of the eighties. To the chagrin of the heroes of the time, who did not recover from the grunge shock. «There were no more light shows, no cool clothes, no effects. The musicians dressed like bums, ”said Gene Simmons from Kiss in an interview with“ Metal Hammer ”in 2011.“ That's why hip hop got so big. At least the artists talked about cash and brides again, and not about how crappy life is. "