Wednesday Question: Best Grunge Bands?

Dave Grohl says grunge never went away. If that's the case, which are the best grunge bands ever, in your opinion?

Ultimate Guitar

This week, Dave Grohl insisted that grunge music "never went away." And when a dude from Nirvana says that, you can probably take his word for it.

But that got us thinking: if it never went away, then maybe it's just a little off-radar and we're not picking up on it.

It's times like this that we turn to UG readers to get some pro advice for our weekly question, which is:

What are the best grunge bands ever?

Hopefully some great underground bands will get a name check on this one.

To guide the discussion, let's stick to Grohl's fairly loose definition of grunge: "loud a-s guitars, loud a-s drums, and screaming a-s vocals." Basically, any acts with a punk spirit and underground vibe who know how to mix high-energy with a good dose of songwriting.

No metal, please - it might technically fit Grohl's "loud" definition, but you can probably guess that it's a little off-topic this time.

The usual rules apply: one nomination per comment, and upvote posts that you agree with. YouTube videos are welcome. We'll post the results in a raucous top 10 list this Friday.

417 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I feel like after their most recent album, they deserve a lot more recognition. They continued to make great music 15 years after breaking up and seem interested in making another album. It is really hard for me to vote in this poll though, because I really like all of the big four and grew up with them. There are other great bands like Blind Melon, Mudhoney, and The Screaming Trees, but the big four were the best to me. I probably like Soundgarden more than the other three, so I guess as long as they're higher ranked than fourth, I'm happy.
    Easily my favourite grunge band, Slaves and Bulldozers would have to be my favourite grunge song.
    Mother Love Bone Without them we wouldn't even have Temple Of The Dog, Pearl Jam, Green River, or quite a few other bands that we have now.
    I hate to be one of 'those' guys but Mother Love Bone actually came about after the breakup of Green River.
    Okay I'll give you that haha. But it's true about the rest of that stuff though. It actually said "Temple Of The Dog, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, or quite a few other bands that we have now." but I changed it to Green River for some reason.... I know I should have kept it but whatever.
    neil young, the godfather of grunge. certainly not the best, but without mr young many grunge acts wouldnt be around
    ALICE IN CHAINS!!!!....although Ian Scott calls em a heavy band
    There are some awesome bands to choose from (Temple of the Dog, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden to name a few), but Alice In Chains all the way. Their music and lyrics are incredible. They put everything into their records, to the point where you can hear the pain in Layne Staley's voice. An excellent band, and I'm so happy to get the chance to see them this summer. Even though Layne is no longer with us they still write great records.
    black gives way to blue was an excellent addition to an already awesome catalog from AIC
    I guess I'm the odd one out, but I could just never bring myself to like AIC. They're definitely heavier than most grunge bands, but I don't know... Their songs never really appealed to me. And I don't get why everyone likes Staley so much, his voice grates on my ears.
    I'm with you on that one. I liked some of their singles and a portion their unplugged album but most of their stuff was too sludgy and too low tempo or something.
    Too sludgy. That's the term I'm looking for. They have very little sense of melody.
    ...coming from a guy who praises Tool on every other thread, that statement bears no weight. I'm not sure Tool has even written as many nearly-monotone melodies as they have albums (i.e., their music lacks melody, and all their songs sound more than vaguely similar).
    "Praises Tool on every other thread" That's just completely untrue. Are you just saying that because of my username? And if you think Tool has no sense of melody, especially for a metal band, please tell me what drug you are on so I can avoid it.
    I get that. Alice in Chains was just a little too on the "experimental time signature" side for me to really get. I totally respect them as musicians, but I just can't get into them.
    no MELVINS
    Melvins for sure!
    Love the Melvins...but did anyone else think the two albums they did with Jello Biafra were arguably their best work? I know I liked those 2 albums more than I liked the Dead Kennedys or the other Jello Biafra bands (which I'm also a huge fan of). Regardless, the melvins need to be on this list in one way shape or form
    Melvins are definately top 5 1. Nirvana 2. PJ 3. AIC 4. Soundgarden 5. Melvins 6. Temple of the Dog 7. Mudhoney 8. Mother Love Bone 9. Green River 10. Mad Season ... 11. Gruntruck
    Although this list is an abomination to this thread's rules... This list would definitely be something I would show someone who asked what grunge was.
    Do Re Mi
    I was looking through videos to post for this but there are far too many that exemplify what "grunge" was, even if they didn't classify themselves as such. The thing that strikes me the most about Nirvana is the fact that they NEVER sold out. They went on to play bigger shows, but they were always punks: the kind of band that would completely f**k with an interviewer, play different songs then previously agreed upon, and completely joke about their own music (i.e. Kurt singing baritone over the recording of SLTS live). I've never seen a band so in the public eye(one of the world's biggest bands!) act like they did. As far as music is concerned, just look up videos of them playing smaller venues. Bleach was just a grungy record: dirty, sloppy, loud. Nevermind was obviously their big one, but still had such attitude and presence. In Utero is by far one of my favorite records. #nirvanafanboy #hashtag
    As far as newer bands....The Kills would have to be the best/closest thing to grunge nowadays.
    fairly new band but it's definatly from the same universe as Grunge if not coming out of it.
    I know that Alice in Chains are considered metal in some circles, but, come on, they have a lot of grunge music. And, you can't deny the raw talent every member of that band had. AIC = #1 for me.
    Neil Young. wassup?
    Who was it that referred to Neil Young as the "Godfather of grunge?" Regardless, if he counts as grunge, he gets my vote for sure.
    In the end the top 4 are gonna be Pearl Jam Nirvana Alice in Chains Soundgarden voting over. Present the results.
    I dunno if they count, but Stone Temple Pilots always do it for me. If not, then Nirvana for sure.
    Dinosaur jr. - just listen to their first three albums. Also Neil Young, Crazy Horse, Screaming Trees and Nirvana of course
    It's pretty hard to choose since there is not a lot to choose from, like in metal i.e, you have a hell lot of bands you can pick. Since Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden has been mentioned a hell lot of times, I'll go with Mother Love Bone
    Yes, temple of the dog def. should get a mention, probably the band I most associate with Seattle
    haters gon' hate.
    absolutely! better than most of the grunge bands and they were only 14. Plus they just got better and better
    Vicryl 2.0
    they went better and better and then they went lousy with their last record... who wants a happy silverchair anyways...
    Bush! For like one album..
    Sixteen Stone is great. Their other albums are kind of forgettable though, unfortunately.
    Bush is the worst "grunge" rip-off band ever. Totally worthless.
    I must say I agree with Biff. They were pretty high on the post-grunge ripoffers list.
    I really like Razorblade Suitcase. Some of the songs on that album I listen to a lot. Songs like "Cold Contagious" or "Swallowed"
    Alice in chanes
    'A Pale Horse named death'.. not really grunge though. but has a Alice in Chains sound..
    Flying Afros
    hmmmm, not associated with the original grunge scene (Norhtwest USA), but an awesome band. Type O Negative rules BTW (original drummer for them plays guitar/sings in A Pale Horse Named Death).
    My vote is also with Alice In Chains. I'm curious though, what do you guys think of CKY?
    I used to love CKY, they don't ever get any recognition on here for some reason. I was big into the alliance back in the day. They were the band that introduced me to the underground world of music. Idk if you can really classify them as grunge though. I've heard them referred to as "post-grunge" before but i still dont think that fits them well either. I think post-grunge as those shitty bands like seether, shinedown, puddle of mud, and staind.
    i think the first couple of hole albums are great, they'll get a bunch of hate because courtney love is the singer thats why i didnt even bother posting them. not the GREATEST grunge band but definitely worthy of some recognition.