10 Bands Like Nirvana

Nirvana was a popular band in the 1990s, and it had a massive influence on the music scene. They were formed in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1987 and are considered one of the most influential bands of the grunge era; their sound has been compared to many bands.

Here are ten bands that sound similar to Nirvana:

1. Soundgarden

Soundgarden was an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984. Their music blended elements of punk, grunge, and alternative rock, and they achieved mainstream success with their fourth studio album, Superunknown (1994), which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and included the singles “Spoonman” and “Black Hole Sun.” Together with Nirvana, they pioneered the grunge movement of the early 1990s.

2. Pearl Jam

Pearl jam was vital in the grunge movement and rose to prominence in the early 1990s with their debut album, Ten (1991). The album featured the singles “Alive,” “Even Flow,” and “Jeremy.”

Their music had elements of alternative rock, hard rock, and grunge, and their sound was less heavy compared to other grunge bands. Pearl Jam has sold over 85 million records worldwide and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

3. Foo Fighters

Former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl formed the Foo Fighters in 1994. The band’s name was taken from the World War II term “foo fighter,” used to describe unidentified flying objects.

The band consists of Dave Grohl (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, drums), Nate Mendel (bass guitar), Chris Shiflett (guitar), and Taylor Hawkins (drums, percussion). Their music has been described as alternative rock, grunge, and hard rock. The Foo Fighters won several awards, including four Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album.

4. Stone Temple Pilots

Stone Temple Pilots were an American rock band from San Diego, California, formed in 1989. Their early sound was often compared to Nirvana due to its grunge elements, but their later music took on a more psychedelic and alternative rock sound.

The band’s first album, Core (1992), featuring the singles “Sex Type Thing” and “Plush,” was a massive success, and they went on to release four more studio albums.

5.  Mudhoney

Mudhoney was formed in Seattle in 1988. The band’s sound was a blend of punk and grunge; they are considered one of the pioneers of grunge music though they didn’t have the same level of commercial success as some of their contemporaries.

6. Green River

Green River was a short-lived band that was influential in the grunge scene. The band was formed in Seattle in 1984 and was similar to Nirvana.

They were made up of Mark Arm (vocals), Steve Turner (guitar), Guy Maddison (bass), and Dan Peters (drums). Though they didn’t achieve much commercial success, they are considered one of the pioneers of grunge music. Their sound was a mix of punk and hard rock riffs.

7.  Alice In Chains

Alice in Chains was another band that was influential in the grunge scene and achieved success with their second album, Dirt (1992) which featured the singles “Would?”, “Down in a Hole” and “Rooster”. Along with bands like Nirvana, they rose to fame in the 90s with the rise of the grunge movement.

Their sound incorporates heavy metal elements, and they were mainly associated with grunge and alternative rock. They were noted for their use of guitars to create a dark and depressing sound. Alice in Chains’s vocal style was unique, with Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell harmonizing their voices.

8. Meat Puppets

The Meat Puppets were an American rock band formed in 1980 in Pheonix, Arizona. They featured in Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York performance in 1993, playing three songs with Kurt Cobain, which boosted their profile and popularity.

The Meat Puppets’ sound is eclectic, incorporating punk, country, psychedelia, and rock elements. The Meat Puppets were considered pioneers of the alternative country and punk rock genres. Their sound was a mix of country, punk, and psychedelic rock.

9. Silverchair

Silverchair was an Australian rock band formed in 1992. The band rose to fame in 1992 after winning a national contest with their demo “Tomorrow”.

Their sound was like that of Nirvana, and they were one of the pioneers of Australia’s grunge movement. The band consisted of three members: Ben Gillies (drums), Chris Joannou (bass), and Daniel Johns (vocals, guitar).

Silverchair is one of the most successful Australian bands of all time, having sold more than 8 million albums. Their debut album, “Frogstomp”, featured the singles “Tomorrow” and “Pure Massacre.” Silverchair’s sound has been described as alternative rock, grunge, and post-grunge.

10. Mad Season

Mad Season was formed in 1994; the band had members from other successful bands: Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan, and Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley. Though they didn’t last long, their influence on the grunge scene was notable.

The band’s sound was a mix of hard rock and alternative rock, with Staley’s vocals being a standout. They released one album, Above, in 1995.


Given the popularity of Nirvana and the grunge scene in the early 1990s, it’s not surprising that several bands emerged that sounded similar. In this list, we’ve highlighted ten bands with a sound that was either influenced by Nirvana or compared to them. These bands include both well-known and lesser-known groups, but all are worth checking out if you’re a fan of Nirvana or grunge music in general.

Featured Image by: Tobby Holzinger / Agentur Spirit, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Soundgarden Image by: Peter Alfred Hess, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Pearl Jam Image by: Lugnuts, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Foo Fighters Image by: Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Stone Temple Pilots Image by: Jeck M., CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Mudhoney Image by: Rm w a vu at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Green River Image by: Michael Leach – Original publication: last.fmImmediate: http://www.last.fm/music/Green+River/+images, Fair use, Link
Alice In Chains Image by: Photograph by Paul Hernandez, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Meat Puppets Image by: Vladimir, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Silverchair Image by: Jökull Auðunsson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Mad Season Image by: Link